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Policy 8120 - Testing: State and Local Responsibilities and Protocols

This policy establishes provisions for how state-mandated, district-selected, and district-designed assessments are approved, secured, administered, and reported in the Howard County Public School System (HCPSS).

Policy Document

I. Policy Statement

The Board of Education of Howard County recognizes the importance of administering state-mandated, district-selected, and district-designed assessments to the educational process. Assessment results combined with other data sources are used to measure the progress that students and schools are making toward achieving system-wide goals and objectives. In addition, assessment results combined with other data are used to guide classroom instruction, curricular programs, and delivery of services, while also providing students, parents and the community with nationally and internationally benchmarked indicators of academic achievement.

The Board also recognizes its responsibility to maintain an assessment and accountability program in compliance with state laws and regulations, and to provide for the security of mandated assessment materials, the ethical administration of assessments, and the accurate and ethical reporting of assessment data.

II. Purpose

This policy establishes provisions for how state-mandated, district-selected, and district-designed assessments are approved, secured, administered, and reported in the Howard County Public School System (HCPSS).

III. Definitions

Within the context of this policy, the following definitions apply:

  1. Accommodation – Prescribed assessment practices and procedures that provide students with documented disabilities equitable access during assessments.

  2. Anonymity – Assurance that an individual not be identified by name, the individual’s identity is protected, and the individual is unknown.

  3. Approved Assessments – State-mandated assessments, as well as district-selected and district-designed assessments, that are evaluated and selected according to the guidelines outlined in this policy.

  4. Assessment Materials – Any of the documents or supplemental supplies and equipment used for testing.

  5. Designated School – The school assigned by virtue of a student’s attendance area.

  6. Diagnostic Tool – Assessments administered to determine eligibility for special programs or to measure progress within such programs.

  7. District-Designed Assessments – HCPSS generated K-12 assessments aligned with the school system’s essential curriculum by grade and course, which may be mandated to be administered to specified populations of students.

  8. District-Selected Assessments – Assessments evaluated and selected by the HCPSS which are placed on the approved assessments list and may be mandated by the school system to be administered to specified populations of students.

  9. Local Accountability Coordinator (LAC) – A staff member appointed by the Superintendent, who is responsible for overseeing the HCPSS assessment program and who serves as the liaison between the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) and the HCPSS.

  10. Mandated Assessments – State-mandated assessments, as well as district-selected and district-designed assessments, that must be administered to specified populations of students.

  11. Proctor – An HCPSS employee or pre-service teacher candidate who is trained to work under the direction of the test examiner for a specific assessment and has school-based administrator approval to assist with assessment administration.

  12. School Test Coordinator (STC) – An administrator appointed by the principal to oversee the school’s assessment program.

  13. State-Mandated Assessments – Assessments required by the MSDE to be administered system wide for purposes of system evaluation, school improvement, and evaluation of individual performance standards.

  14. Test Examiner –An HCPSS employee who is identified to administer a specific assessment and who meets the specified criteria of that individual test.

  15. Testing Violation (by Staff) – Conduct or action taken by a staff member that does not comply with the information, rules, guidelines, and procedures in this policy, or in examiner’s manuals, assessment administration and coordinator manuals, handbooks, memos, and related documents from the MSDE or the HCPSS.

  16. Testing Violation (by Students) – Conduct or action taken by a student, including cheating and academic dishonesty, that is inappropriate based on information, rules, guidelines, and procedures in this policy, or in examiner’s manuals, assessment administration and coordinator manuals, handbooks, memos, and related documents from the MSDE or the HCPSS.

IV. Standards

  1. Approval of Assessments

    1. Assessments administered to students in the system will be on the approved assessment list. Assessments are placed on the approved list according to the following guidelines:

      1. State-mandated assessments are automatically placed on the approved assessment list.

      2. District-selected and district-designed assessments will align with current HCPSS goals and objectives.

    2. Assessments that are not governed by this policy include:

      1. Teacher-made assessments designed to assess achievement in individual classrooms.

      2. Assessments provided with approved HCPSS instructional materials or curricula.

      3. Diagnostic tools administered by Special Education and Student Services.

  2. Administration of Approved Assessments

    Guidelines for ethically and properly administering and securing approved assessments will be followed for all assessment administration.

    1. Staff members and students will adhere to the guidelines for the administration and security of approved assessments, maintain the security of assessment materials, demonstrate proper behavior related to testing, and cooperate in the reporting and investigation of any violations related to testing.

    2. All staff members will follow security procedures promulgated by the MSDE, the HCPSS, and/or published in assessment administration manuals and other documents for mandated assessments.

    3. Any failure to comply with assessment administration procedures by either a student or staff member will be reported to the appropriate administrator or supervisor and investigated according to state regulations and/or HCPSS processes.

  3. Violations of Assessment Administration

    1. HCPSS will investigate any allegations of violations regarding state-mandated assessments, as well as district-selected and district-designed assessments, and will cooperate in MSDE investigations regarding allegations of testing violations for state-mandated assessments.

    2. Testing violations by staff members may result in disciplinary action.

    3. Testing violations by students may result in disciplinary action under the guidelines of Policy 9200 - Student Discipline and the HCPSS Student Code of Conduct.

  4. Results and Reporting of Approved Assessments

    1. Violations of data collection and reporting protocols for an individual or a school are identified in COMAR 13A.03.04.

    2. The HCPSS will use assessment data combined with other data to make decisions about classroom instruction, curricular programs, and delivery of services.

    3. The HCPSS will provide assessment results to appropriate stakeholders and through measures that protect the anonymity, when applicable, of individual students, groups of students, and/or schools.

    4. The Superintendent/Designee will assist staff members and the public with interpretations of assessment results.

  5. Electronic Devices

    1. No student is permitted to have cell phones, tablets, cameras, handheld devices, or any electronic devices that enable the taking of photographic images or the transmission of text, voice messages, or photo images during assessments.

    2. Only devices required for the administration of the assessment and/or to make appropriate accommodations for an individual student are permitted during testing.

    3. No test examiner, proctor, or accommodator is permitted to have cell phones, tablets, cameras, handheld devices, or any electronic devices that enable the taking of photographic images or the transmission of text, voice messages or photo images during assessments, except for those devices approved by the principal.

V. Responsibilities

  1. The LAC will ensure the HCPSS adheres to protocols established by MSDE and the HCPSS for state-mandated, district-selected, and district-designed assessments.

  2. The STC will follow all procedures established by MSDE and the HCPSS for the assessment program.

  3. All staff members whose duties involve either assessment administration or data collection and reporting will be held accountable for compliance with all requirements of the MSDE, the HCPSS, and this policy.

VI. Delegation of Authority

The Superintendent is authorized to develop appropriate procedures for the implementation of this policy.

VII. References

  • The Annotated Code of Maryland, Education Article, Title 7, Public Schools, Subtitle 2. Evaluation and Graduation of Students

  • COMAR 13A.03.02.06 Maryland High School Assessments

  • COMAR 13A.03.04 Test Administration and Data-Reporting Policies and Procedures

  • COMAR 13A.12.05 Suspensions and Revocations

C. Relevant Data Sources

D. Other

VIII. History

ADOPTED: November 12, 1992

REVIEWED:

MODIFIED:

REVISED: May 23, 2002, September 7, 2006, May 7, 2015

EFFECTIVE: July 1, 2015