AzMERIT Countdown- Two Days…

Our SUSD Techs have been making an outstanding effort to make sure that all student devices are set-up and ready for AzMERIT Online testing next week and things are looking very good.  However, site test coordinators should make sure to check on the following details before the end of the week to insure there are no last minute surprises…

  • Broken/Missing Devices:  Make sure that you have confirmed with your site I.T. tech your plan for managing students who show up on the first day of testing with a broken or missing device.  Remember that it is NOT necessary to check out a new device to the student at that time as long as you have a designated location (e.g. LRC, Lab…etc) with a certified test administrator to get these students into the test.  All sites should, as a precaution, make sure that you have enough extra devices (e.g. about 5% of your testing population on any given day) to support students who may run into issues with their devices.  If you feel that you require additional hardware to support student testing, please address this with your site tech ASAP.
  • IT Staffing Support:  In order to insure that all sites have adequate I.T. Technical support in place to cover all sites for AzMERIT testing, please be aware that your site tech may NOT be available on site for all of your testing and make up days.  Please refer to this link for a complete schedule of all I.T. Tech support based on the testing schedule you have provided for us.
  • Headphones:  As a reminder, all students will need a set of earbuds/headphones to complete various portions of the AzMERIT test.  Students are expected to bring their own earbuds for testing.  All sites who were provided with earbuds at the start of the year may order additional supplies of earbuds (up to 10% of your testing student enrollment per semester) by submitting a request via http://helpdesk.susd12.org   This inventory should be used ONLY to provide earbuds to support district testing for students who have not brought their own.

AzMERIT Technology Incident Documentation

As you begin your AzMERIT testing sessions next week, please remember to print out 1-2 paper copies of the Testing  Tech Incident Documentation Form (linked here) to provide for each of your test administrators.

If any student experiences any technology issues which delays their ability to access the test for any more than 5 minutes,  the test administrator should complete the information on the page (e.g. test session ID, time, date…etc).   

Although it is NOT necessary for sites to turn these pages in to us at the close of testing, please make sure that you have the information within these forms available when you communicate any tech related issues to us during testing (either via email, help desk, or phone).

If it becomes necessary for us to escalate any tech related issues to the AIR/ADE helpdesk, this information will be critical in allowing them to respond and address our issues in a timely manor.

AzMERIT Materials Delivery

Sites will be receiving the initial order of AzMERIT Test Coordinator and Test Administrator Manuals today (3/29/16). Because the manuals are technically not secure materials, they will be delivered to the front office as Attn: Test Coordinator or Principal with no signature required; however, any student test booklets/answer documents will need the signature of the school’s AzMERIT Testing Coordinator, Principal, or Assistant Principal. Additional manuals ordered for the high schools, print versions, and print versions of the tests should arrive in the district today and will be forwarded to sites as soon as possible.

Once you have received your materials, please send a confirmation email to Hans Schot (hanss@susd12.org) letting him know if the actual count matches your packing list.

AzMERIT Sample Tests vs. Live Tests

Please be aware that AzMERIT Tests for Spring 2016 are now active within the AzMERIT Testing Portal.   All test administrators should be extremely careful to NOT schedule the live versions of AzMERIT tests prior to your initial testing date.

On the AzMERIT Testing Portal, there are TWO different links available to roster testing, one for the SAMPLE test and one to Administer the LIVE test (see below).   Prior to your school testing window, administrators should ONLY be using the sample test link.

If students access the live version of the AzMERIT test prior to the start of your testing date, their testing scores WILL be invalidated and we will need to petition the state in order to allow them to re-access.

Remember, if you experience any testing violations related to student access to test, please contact Hans Schot (hans@susd12.org) immediately.  

Bright Bytes Data Survey- Spring 2016

Starting on Tuesday, March 29th we will be opening the window for Spring 2016 Data Collection for the BrightBytes Educational Technology Survey.  This survey window will remain open from Monday until Friday, May 13th.  The survey should only take students about 10-15 minutes to complete and it tends fit well as a transitional activity for students once the class has completed their online assessments.

For those of you who are not familiar with BrightBytes from previous years, this survey provides us with the opportunity to collect valuable data from our students, teachers, and parents to greatly improve instructional planning and our ongoing investment in instructional technology within our district.

Later this morning your Site Instructional Technology Coach will receive an email with three individual links (one for students, one for parents, and one for teachers).   The URL links are the same ones which were used for previous collections so if you have retained your link from last year, you should feel free to use it again.  These surveys are NOT instructional assessments and should be fairly easy for participants to complete.

Information collected from the BrightBytes survey provides our district with a wealth of crucial data which helps us to both maintain our current instructional program as well as make informed decisions in the future.  We thank-you in advance for your attention to this project and please let me know if you have any questions or concerns.

AzMERIT Accommodation Clarifications

If a student is ELL or has an accommodation listed on the IEP, s/he automatically gets accommodations, right?

Not necessarily. ADE is explicit when they say, “no accommodation may be put in place for an AzMERIT test that is not already used regularly in the classroom.” For example, if the student doesn’t have math items read to her/him during instruction or class tests, s/he shouldn’t have text-to-speech enabled for AzMERIT math even if it’s on the IEP. Because of this, there may be a significant reduction in the number of students actually receiving testing accommodations.

Who marks the accommodations in TIDE?

Unfortunately, the AzMERIT system does not allow us to import the accommodations so changes must be made individually for each student. Each site is responsible for entering the accommodations for students who will be using them during testing. School level personnel must have the role of School Test Coordinator (STC) in order to make any changes to student information in TIDE. School leaders such as Principals, Asst. Principals, and AzMERIT Test Coordinators should already have this role assigned to them, and additional staff that are approved by the Principal may be added with the STC role by requesting it through the HelpDesk.

What is marked for accommodations?

There are three sections to note for students that are SPED or ELL.

  1. Status (regardless of accommodation)
  2.  Accommodations (if any) that the Test Administrator or Proctor will provide
  3. Accommodations (if any) that the system will provide…

As per AzMERIT directions…

“Providing unacceptable accommodations to students who may receive accommodations, providing accommodations to students who may not receive them, or failing to indicate that accommodations were provided are test administration errors. Test Administrators must know which students testing are eligible to receive accommodations and which accommodations are appropriate for each eligible student. Test Administrators must provide appropriate accommodations for eligible students.”

“Students who require specific test settings or testing accommodations must have those set before the test session. Those with a TIDE user role of School Test Coordinator are able to change all test settings and accommodations in TIDE any time prior to testing. Those with a Test Administrator or School Teacher user role will be able to change test settings and accommodations (except for ASL and Closed Captioning) in the Test Administrator (TA) Interface prior to approving the student for a CBT session. Information on how to add and update accommodations can be found in both the TIDE and Test Administrator (TA) User Guides.”

Click here to access the AzMERIT Test Conditions, Tools, and Accommodations Guidance

AzMERIT Sample Test Deadline

Please be aware that AzMERIT Sample Tests should NOT be administered after the end of this week (Friday, March 11th).

Teachers attempting to schedule SAMPLE tests AFTER students return on  Tuesday, March 29th run the risk of potentially scheduling the LIVE versions of both the Math and ELA tests (which will be active within the TIDE dashboard starting on Monday, March 28th).

If a teacher was to accidentally schedule any of the live AzMERIT test rather than the Sample test during this week, it would not only constitute a major testing violation with the state, but it would also completely lock the student out of the test thereby invalidating their score.

For this reason, please communicate to your teachers that they should NOT attempt to roster any of the AzMERIT Sample Tests through the TIDE dashboard after this week.

Thanks.

Illuminate- Q3 Rostering Update

In an effort to clean-up existing class rosters with the Illuminate system, old rosters and student enrollments from Semester 1 were purged during the update process yesterday (Tuesday, March 8th).  While this will better allow teachers to review Interim Assessment results following the Q3 exams, it has also had the following, unintended consequence.

Teachers who had created Q3 assessment rosters in Illuminate this week using OLD sections (e.g. those from S1), will now see those sections listed as Unknown with zero students assigned to the test (see below).

Please note that the missing section does NOT mean that any student data from the test (either for students who have completed the test or for students who were in progress) is missing.   ALL STUDENT TEST DATA FROM PRIOR TO THE REMOVAL OF THE OLDER SECTIONS IS STILL SAVED WITHIN ILLUMINATE.

Students Who Have Already Complete the Test:  Teachers can view these results by clicking on the assessment in Illuminate (e.g. 15-16 ELA Interim Q3 Grade 9).  

Students Who Have Already Started the Test (but not yet submitted):  When the student logs in to their Illuminate dashboard, the test will be waiting for them under the In Progress box.

Students Who Have Not Yet Started the Test:  If the student was originally rostered to a section which is no longer valid, a teacher will need to re-roster the test to a student by either setting up a NEW testing roster OR by editing an existing roster to re-add the student to the test (see below).

NOTE:  If a student has already completed OR has already started the Q3 assessment, teachers should NOT re-roster the test to the student again.  If a student enters a test which has been re-rostered, Illuminate will treat this as a completely NEW attempt and WILL erase any previous data collected for that student within the test.

We apologize for any inconvenience this update may have caused and as always, encourage you to contact us if you have any questions or concerns.

AzMERIT Dashboard- Connection Errors

Several of our district staff reported problems today when they attempted to connect to the AzMERIT/ TIDE Testing Dashboard.

These errors appear to be related to problems which we were experiencing with our Internet Service Provider (ISP) today, and do NOT appear to be with the ADE website.  We are continuing to communicate with our Cox to insure more reliable service as we lead up to AzMERIT testing in April.

If you experience connection problems with this (or any other website) in the future, it’s helpful to go to a service monitoring site such as http://www.isitdownrightnow.com/     By entering the URL address of the site, you can ascertain whether the problem is with the ADE servers or with our network.

This will allow us to respond quicker and more effectively when attempting to restore service.

Thanks!

AzMERIT- Printing Test Tickets

When preparing students to take the AzMERIT test, it is essential that the Test Administrator or Test Coordinator print out Test Tickets (aka Log-In Cards) to provide for students.

Since students will NOT be using their normal student ID to access AzMERIT, but rather their Az State ID (SAIS Number), they will need to have this number provided for them whenever they log in to the test.

The TIDE Dashboard on the AzMERIT page will allow users print Test Tickets for students, however these tickets can only be printed out by either GRADE LEVEL or End of Course (EOC) Test Area.  Therefore, it will likely be easier for Coordinators to print out test tickets from PowerSchool following the directions below.

  1. From the PowerSchool Dashboard select the name of the teacher for whom you would like to print test tickets by clicking Teacher Schedules and selecting the teacher name along the left side of the page.
  2. Find the Section Number you would like to print for the teacher and then click on the Enrollment link to list the students within that class.
  3. Click the blue Make Current Student Selection button along the bottom of the page.  You can also COMBINE multiple sections into a single print run by clicking on the Add to Current Student Selection button.
  4. Scroll down to Printing and click on Print Mailing Labels 
  5. From the Print Mailing Labels Page select AzMERIT Test Tickets from the drop-down menu and then click submit (see below).

6.  From the Report Queue you can click on View to print out the labels (NOTE: for larger print jobs, you may need to click the Refresh button to update the print job from Runnynig to View).

Printing out AzMERIT test tickets through PowerSchool will save you time in sorting as you can print tickets for just a single class or teacher section rather than an entire grade level or test.