Your monthly update on all things MS-CPAS
December  2019
The Unreliability of Weather and Scores
For us in Mississippi, the weather in December brings varying degrees of difficulty when it comes to predicting what to wear outside. By no means have I ever attested to have Mississippi winter weather patterns figured out, even 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 anything from shorts and a short sleeve shirt to clothes lined with base-layer gear.

Variability and an absence of reliability is not what we are looking for as educators, whether the focal point is classroom assessments or statewide assessments of student mastery. The issue with trying to decrease such variance is we are combating historical procedural norms.Thomas Guskey, Professor Emeritus in the College of Education at the University of Kentucky, succinctly stated that despite the popularity of using percentage grading systems, they are difficult to defend. He references Starch and Elliott, who explained this difficulty in 1912 ( Inconsistency across judges (teachers) tended to be the biggest culprit for the problem.

Training relative to assessment literacy and a migration to more reliable, narrower scales can promote more accurate and valid decisions about the quality of students' performance. With that said, I wanted to notify everyone of the dates for the annual spring Test Coordinator training. We will have one training day at the Hunter Henry Center at Mississippi State (Feb.18) and one training day at the Lake Terrace Convention Center in Hattiesburg (Feb. 20). Like last year, these dates and locations are a change from earlier years. Spaces are limited on each day, so please only register essential staff for these events.

For our educational technology tip this month, I wanted to discuss 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 daily routines with other applications. Siri will learn routines you have. (Some find this scary!) One example is 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. You can create routine if you tell your phone, "Let's go home." Google can also text your spouse, turn up or down your WiFi thermostat, start your Spotify playlist, and start your Google Maps directions.

For us in CTE, these routines will be applied to more objects that we use in our pathways as the years progress. Programmatic routines can be an unsettling concept, but I think they are here to stay in some form or fashion. Do your Apple Siri or 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
Fall Secondary National Certification Testing Window
Ends Dec. 6  
Postsecondary and Secondary Spring Roster Submission Period 
Jan. 27-March 23
Secondary School Test Coordinator Training in Starkville 
Feb. 18
Secondary School Test Coordinator Training in Hattiesburg 
Feb. 20
Secondary Practice Testing Window 
Feb. 24-March 25

Register Now for Spring Training for Secondary School Test Coordinators
Register for one of these two trainings:


Feb. 18, 2020
Mississippi State University


Feb. 20, 2020


MS-CPAS Updates

Test coordinators can now access Fall 2019 score reports on our website. Three reports that can be helpful as districts evaluate scores are the MS-CPAS Class Report, the MS-CPAS State Overview Report, and the MS-CPAS State District Program Ranking Report.
  • The class report contains the class's average score for each unit and can be used to inform future instructional practices as instructors note student mastery levels for each unit.
  • The state overview report contains the average score per unit of students throughout the state and provides instructors with a broader perspective as they compare their students' unit scores with the state average for each unit.
  • The ranking report can be most effectively used as a networking tool as instructors connect with teachers in programs with demonstrated success.
It's important to remember that test coordinators are key in providing these instrumental reports to teachers.
Spring training for secondary school test coordinators is Feb. 18 in Starkville and Feb. 20 in Hattiesburg. The link to sign up is now open on the RCU Go Sign Me Up page . We are looking forward to seeing you there.
National Certifications Updates
The last day for fall national certification testing is Dec. 6. This includes makeup testing as well as retakes for students that qualify. Please keep waiting periods for retakes in mind and plan accordingly. If you need assistance with retakes please reach out to the RCU .
Districts participating in ServSafe pilot testing, please remember to record your students' scores on the ServSafe Import Template. You can find this template by going to our Assessment page > Reports > Testing Tools. Export the template as an Excel file, record your scores, save as an Excel file, and send the final product to the RCU in a helpdesk ticket.
Performance-Based Assessment
Polymer science materials are posted behind a district login on the PBA page. Polymer science teachers should have your testing coordinator log in to retrieve these materials for you so that you may begin guiding students through your tasks.
Digital media technology materials and simulation and animation design materials are being finalized now and will be available on the website soon. An email will go out to instructors when they are ready to view.
Architecture and drafting teachers will meet via Zoom before the end of the semester to discuss any revisions needed for your performance task. Look for an email from me in the coming days with more information about this meeting.
If any teacher or testing coordinator in any PBA pathway has contact information for a great evaluator, please send this contact information to me. We are now beginning the process of securing evaluators.
Key Contacts
Assessment Manager .........................
IAD Meetings and Training Events.......
National Certifications .........................
Data and Research..............................
Performance-Based Assessment.........
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