Your monthly update on all things MS-CPAS!
December 2018 Issue
Reliable Weather or Scores?
For us in Mississippi, the weather in December brings varying degrees of difficulty when it comes to deciding what to wear. By no means have I ever attested to have Mississippi winter weather patterns figured out after living most of my life in the state. This variability, at least for me, always introduces some skepticism when viewing long-range weather forecasts. Even last month, I wore everything, including shorts and short-sleeve shirts to clothes lined with base-layer gear.

Variability and an absence of reliability are not what we are looking for as educators, whether the focal point is classroom or statewide assessments of student mastery. Decreasing such variance, though, means combating historical procedural norms. Thomas Guskey, a professor emeritus at the University of Kentucky College of Education, said despite the popularity of using percentage grading systems, they are as difficult to defend as Starch and Elliott found them in 1912! Inconsistency across judges -- teachers -- tended to be the biggest culprit. Training relative to assessment literacy and a migration to more reliable, narrower scales can promote more accurate and valid evaluations about the quality of students' performances.

With that said, I wanted to notify everyone of a slight change in the annual spring test coordinator training. We will have two training days at Mississippi State University's Hunter Henry Center (Feb. 18-19) and a one-day training day at the DoubleTree Inn in Hattiesburg (Feb. 21). These dates and locations are a change from previous years. Space is limited each day, so please only register essential staff for these events.

For our educational technology tip this month, I wanted to discuss the use of creating "routines" or "schedules" with your mobile devices. With the release of iOS 12, Apple users can now use a feature called Siri Shortcuts. With Siri, users can pair their daily routines with other applications. Siri will learn the routines you have (scary). Apple offers the example of Siri suggesting a time for you to order coffee if you typically do that on a daily basis. Google Assistant, available on Android phones, also has a routines feature. The possibilities of integration are impressive. Say, for instance, you tell your phone, "Let's go home." Google can take that as a cue to text your spouse, turn up or down your WiFi-enabled thermostat, begin a Spotify playlist, and open Google Maps with directions to your home.

For us in CTE, these routines can be applied to what we use in our pathways as the years progress. Programmatic routines can be an unsettling concept, but they are likely here to stay. Do your  Siri and  Google Assistant research to make sure you stay abreast of the current trends.

We look forward to seeing each of you in the new year. Make sure to bundle up for the cold and enjoy your winter break!

Sean Owen, PhD
Assessment Manager
Important Dates
Spring Roster Submission Period.............................Jan. 28-March 22 
Test Coordinator Training..........................................Feb. 18, 19, or 21
MS-CPAS Updates
Registration is now open for spring training sessions for secondary test coordinators. The dates and locations are:  
  • Feb. 18, Hunter Henry Center at Mississippi State University, 8 a.m.-3 p.m.
  • Feb. 19, Hunter Henry Center at Mississippi State University, 8 a.m.-3 p.m.
  • Feb. 21, DoubleTree Conference Center in Hattiesburg, 8 a.m.-3 p.m.
To register, navigate to the RCU's Go Sign Me Up page and log in if you already have an account, or create an account if you do not have one. Enter "Test Coordinator Training" in the search box, and select the session on the date of your choice. Registration closes Feb. 4, but we encourage you to register as early as possible.
Spring test coordinator training is a great time to connect with other coordinators, learn about this year's testing updates, and receive hands-on help with uploading and verifying students. We look forward to seeing you in person in Starkville or Hattiesburg!    
National Certifications Updates
The RCU is currently in the final stages of acquiring the inventory for IT Fundamentals and Microsoft Technology Associate (MTA): Networking Fundamentals end-of-the-year testing. We are continuing our relationship with CompTIA and Certiport for the delivery of these assessments. You will be alerted as soon as any supplemental resources (e.g., GMetrix practice exams) become available. Click here to find information on the IT Pathway assessments as well as other national certifications.
If you have not yet responded to the survey regarding ProStart, please click here   to let us know of your intentions for offering this assessment to your students in the spring. Tell us the name of your school district, indicate "Yes" or "No" as to whether your students will take the ProStart, and tell us what version of the online assessment you will need (first or second edition). Remember, the ProStart is an optional assessment, and students must qualify to take it by making the appropriate score on their MS-CPAS exam.  
Performance-Based Assessment
Performance-based assessment materials are now available on the RCU website for School Year 2018-2019 participating programs (i.e., architecture and drafting, digital media technology, polymer science, and simulation and animation design). Instructors, directors, and test coordinators are encouraged to download the materials and review them, then send any questions to our Help Desk.
As a reminder, the only program that should be working on PBA at this time is polymer science, which has four tasks embedded throughout the year. Architecture and drafting, digital media technology, and simulation and animation design tasks should be completed between Feb.1 and March 22.
Webinar Wednesdays
On the second Wednesday of each month, the RCU communications team will host webinars to help teachers and administrators better promote their CTE programs. The third in this series will be held 11 a.m. Dec. 12 and will spotlight the CTE Promotional Toolkit, a collection of materials that support CTE teachers and administrators in sharing their stories with the public . Topics will include:
  • The contents of the CTE toolkit
  • How best to use those materials
  • Best practices for sharing your program's successes
See below for the dates and topics of future discussions. If you have any questions, please contact either Amanda Gronewold or Carl Smith
Staff Spotlight: Brian Dorsey

As a project manger, Brian Dorsey oversees nation certification efforts and instruction and design meeting processes. In addition to possessing a dedication to education, Dorsey is also an ordained elder who plays drums, sings, and writes his own music. He says he finds fulfillment through faith, family, and music, and he weaves together the three on Sundays at Starkville's Peter's Rock Temple Church of God in Christ.
Key Contacts
Assessment Manager ..............................
IAD Meetings and Training Events...........
National Certification ...............................
PBA .........................................................
Research and Standard Setting................

Have assessment needs not addressed in this issue?
Create a Help Desk ticket, and we'll get right on it! 

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