Study Guide

Assessment-Taking Strategies

The Ohio Assessments for Educators, developed and administered by the Evaluation Systems group of Pearson, are aligned with Ohio Academic Content Standards and Common Core State Standards. When you are preparing to take the assessment, the best strategy is to study systematically and effectively. Remember that you are not only preparing for an assessment but you are also reviewing content that will be an important part of your responsibilities as an educator.

The information in this document is designed to help candidates taking the assessments:

For information regarding who must take the Ohio Assessments for Educators and which assessments must be taken, visit "What Assessments Do I Need to Take" on the program website.

Understanding the Structure and Content of the Assessments

The skills and knowledge assessed by the assessments are described in the assessment frameworks, available on the Ohio Assessments for Educators website. To view or print the assessment frameworks, click on "Prepare" and select "Assessment Frameworks."

Assessment Frameworks

The assessment frameworks describe the content that is eligible to be measured for each assessment. The assessment frameworks are based on the relevant Ohio Academic Content Standards and Common Core State Standards for that field. For testing and score reporting purposes, the frameworks are organized into content domains, competencies, and descriptive statements of knowledge. These components are described below.

sample assessment item

Ohio Assessments for Educators
Assessment: Field 030: Middle Grades Mathematics
Domain: Domain II—Algebra and Functions
Competency: 0004 Understand algebraic techniques and applications

Assessment Item: A student has purchased 2 pairs of jeans for 30 dollars. If the second pair of jeans cost 5 dollars more than the first pair of jeans, which of the following equations can be solved to find the price in dollars, p, of the first pair of jeans?

Plan a Course of Study

Step 1: Read the assessment framework for the assessment you are preparing to take.
Reading the assessment framework will help you familiarize yourself with the structure and content of the assessment, and help you determine your degree of preparedness to take the assessment.

The assessment framework is the only source that specifies the knowledge and skills measured by the Ohio Assessments for Educators. Read each competency and its corresponding descriptive statements carefully for a more specific idea of the knowledge and skills you will be required to demonstrate on the assessment.

Step 2: Read the sample question for each competency, attempt to answer it, and review the rationale provided.
This will introduce you to the types of questions you will see on the actual assessment, help you understand how the questions are aligned to the competencies, and show you how the correct response was derived.

Once you are familiar with the assessment competencies, try to answer the sample questions for the assessment you are required to take. The sample questions were developed in conjunction with the questions that appear on actual assessments and are the best example of the types of questions that you will encounter. After reading a question, you may want to reread the competency to see how the question is aligned to the competency. This may help you understand what questions associated with particular competencies might look like.

After answering a sample question, look at the correct response and read the rationale provided. If you answered the question incorrectly, you may need to do some additional studying of the content covered by that competency.

Step 3: Develop a study plan to focus your studies.

You may wish to consult with faculty at your educator preparation program to determine the best time for you to take the assessment. In your coursework to date, you should already have mastered most or all of the content that you will see on the assessment. At this point, the best preparation is to identify: 1) your areas of strength and weakness, particularly the sample questions you answered incorrectly; 2) any content with which you have had difficulty in the past; and 3) any other content you have not yet mastered. You should then study areas you have not yet mastered systematically and effectively.

While concentrating your studies on your areas of weakness, you should also be sure to do some additional preparation addressing the content covered in the other competencies. Remember, your score on the assessment is based on the total number of questions that you answer correctly; therefore, improvement on any competency will increase your total score on the assessment. Finally, you may also want to do some additional studying in the content domains which contain the greatest percentage of assessment questions, as they will contribute the most to your total assessment score.

Suggested Study Method

One study method that many students have found to be effective is "PQ4R," or "Preview, Question, Read, Reflect, Recite, Review." After reviewing the assessment framework for your assessment, locate appropriate study materials such as textbooks; then apply the six steps of the PQ4R method as described below.

  1. Preview: Scan the section headings and subheadings of the chapter or article you wish to study. Read the introduction or overview section as well as the summary section. This initial step can provide a good foundation on which to build your knowledge of a topic or skill.
  2. Question: Based upon the appropriate assessment framework and educator standards and your preview of the study materials, think of specific questions to which you would like to find answers as you study. Write these questions down and use them as a guide as you read.
  3. Read: Read through the chapter you have selected. Adjust your reading speed as needed; some sections may take less time to read than others. Also, study any figures, tables, or graphics when you come across references to them in the text. This helps to keep each piece in context.
  4. Reflect: As you read, think about the examples and descriptions provided in the text. You may also think of examples from your own experience that are related to what you are reading. Reflective reading is active reading; by interacting with what you read, you may better understand and remember the content.
  5. Recite: When you complete each section of the text, check your understanding of what you have read. Can you answer the questions about this section that you wrote down before you started? Do you need to reread the section or some parts of it? Monitoring your progress by asking yourself these types of questions may help you identify areas you understand well and areas that you will want to study further.
  6. Review: After you have finished reading the text, you may want to check your understanding of the content by reviewing your questions for the whole chapter. Can you answer your questions without referring to the text? Reviewing your questions for a chapter immediately after you finish reading it, as well as later in your study plan schedule, can help you retain and apply what you have learned.

Whether you use PQ4R or some other study technique, the key to success is to become familiar with the material you are studying. Predict what the content will be, ask yourself questions about it, paraphrase information aloud, relate the information to other things you know, review and summarize what you have learned—become involved in your studying.

Strategies for Success on the Day of the Assessment

Review the following strategies to help you do your best when taking the Ohio Assessments for Educators.

After the Assessment

With the help of these assessment-taking strategies, you should be able to use the time before and during the assessment wisely. There are also a few things you can do after you take the assessment that may be helpful to you, whether or not you have passed the assessment.

First, it may be useful to review the list of competencies you used during your studying. Look over that list and mark the competencies that represented the most difficult content for you on the assessment. Whether or not you pass the assessment, you may wish to enhance your own knowledge with further study in those areas.

Also, when you receive your score report, you will learn which content domains were more or less difficult for you. Devote further study to the content of the domains in which your performance was the weakest.