Your monthly update on all things MS-CPAS
February 2020
Spring Forward 
February marks the last month of winter for most across the country. In Mississippi, we still await our first cold snap mixed with spring-like days to add to the confusion of young students. This month typically energizes me not only in work, but also in personal life. Personally, I am ready for the start of baseball season; professionally, I begin to see annual departmental and personal goals become clearer. One application I have been using lately is Todoist. This app has worked well to help me ensure that I keep everything moving in all aspects of my life. A few other Todoist alternatives that you may find more useful are ClickUp, Microsoft ToDo, and Sophy.

In Assessment, we finalize our last phase of quality control processes for spring testing and prepare for spring Test Coordinator training. Most of you should have received notification from one of us on the team to provide your input regarding your training plans this month. We are extremely passionate about what we do, and we want to make sure that this experience is better for you each year.

For our educational tech tip this month, I wanted to introduce or re-introduce you to a portal called Experiments with Google. This website highlights projects, tools, and resources that model experimental things for your classroom or personal lives. It may even spark creative energies in your students to spin off an interesting Google project or to use one of the tools in a different way that applies to what you have taught in your career and technical education classroom. Here are just a few of the projects and tools that I like that may prove interesting to you as well.
  1. Digital Storytime - This project, inspired by military families, allows users to narrate using Google Assistant and play back anywhere else.
  2. Creatability - This page contains a group of experiments that demonstrate how accessibility tools are expanding drawing, music and creativity ideas to all students.
  3. Google Assistant - Although this stands alone from this website, it is still a Google tool. As educators, promoting artificial intelligence (AI) integration in our classroom influences students to use AI to expand their digital and information literacy. Students can ask anything from what does the Farmer's Almanac know about today, what is the conversion from liters to a gallon, how to calculate kinetic energy in physics, and more.
I hope that each of you keep pushing your students to higher levels as we enter the time of state competitions, ACT administrations, and work-based learning experiences!


Sean Owen, PhD
Assessment Manager

Important Dates
Postsecondary and Secondary Spring Roster Submission Period
Jan. 27-March 23
Registration Deadline for Test Coordinator Training
Feb. 4
Secondary School Test Coordinator Training in Starkville
Feb. 18
Secondary School Test Coordinator Training in Hattiesburg
Feb. 20
PBA Task Submission Window
Feb. 3-March 27
Secondary Practice Testing Window
Feb. 24-March 25
Postsecondary School MS-CPAS Testing Window
March 30 - April 2
National Certification Testing Window
April 1 - May 8
Secondary School MS-CPAS Testing Window (Congressional Districts 2 & 4)
April 8-20
Secondary School MS-CPAS Testing Window (Congressional Districts 1 & 3)
April 21-30
Secondary Makeup Testing
May 1

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
Please note that the last day to register for spring test coordinator training is Feb. 4. Through the RCU's Go Sign Me Up page, you can register for one of two trainings: Feb. 18 in Starkville or Feb. 20 in Hattiesburg. You will have the opportunity to upload and verify your students in our testing system on this day. For those who have registered, we look forward to your response to the email that you were sent about the lunch option.
In preparation for spring testing, we recommend that you check with district IT personnel to ensure browsers are updated on technology lab computers before testing begins. We also encourage you to check on your students' accommodation needs and to verify that the appropriate accommodation has been selected for each student on your roster upload spreadsheet and subsequently in our testing system. Another early task that can be completed is to print any supplementary materials that are available for some programs. These materials are included in the 2019-2020 Supplementary Materials Manual which is located behind the district login in the MS-CPAS Testing Resources section on the RCU website.
When students are uploaded and verified in our testing system, those students who are in programs for which online practice tests are available will have the opportunity to take two practice tests during the practice testing window of Feb. 24 - March 25. A list of available practice tests is found under the MS-CPAS Testing Resources section on the RCU website, and instructions for practice tests, as well as a script to use in administering practice tests, are available in the CTE Testing Manual.
Most importantly, practice test reports will be available for test coordinators to access and to share with teachers 24 hours after a class takes a practice test. Class practice test reports, located by navigating to Assessment and then Reports on the RCU website, provide both class unit averages and individual student unit averages and are helpful as teachers plan remediation and as students review before the MS-CPAS is taken in April.
National Certifications Updates
It is never to early to start preparing for end-of-the-year national certification testing. The spring roster submission period is Jan. 27-March 23. Remember, all students who will take any assessment (CPAS, national certification, PBA) must be uploaded and verified in the RCU portal. As always, please feel free to  reach out to the RCU  if you require assistance as you prepare for end-of-the-year testing.
The Microsoft Technology Associate: Networking Fundamentals (MTA) exam will be given through a new internet-based delivery tool called Compass. Now that we have begun the spring semester, it is a great idea to go ahead and start familiarizing yourself with how Compass works so you will have no surprises when testing time arrives. On the RCU Assessment page , under Certification Tools, you will find Compass Technical Requirements as well as the Compass User Guide. If you need any additional assistance, please call 888-999-9830 and choose Option 3.
There will be an NCCER proctor workshop Feb. 13 at MCEF in Pearl, MS from 1:00 PM to 4:00 PM. You can register for this workshop  here . Registration will close Feb. 7.  
If you have students that will be taking national certification exams at the end of the year that will require accommodations, be sure to apply for those accommodations as soon as possible. You may refer to the archived national certification tutorials found on the RCU Assessment page  for procedures on how to apply for these accommodations for each national certification exam.
Performance-Based Assessment
All PBA materials have been finalized and are now posted on the website. Testing coordinators will need to access these materials for your PBA teachers if you have not done so already. Materials are located behind a district login under the assessment tab. You should select Performance Based Assessment and then Materials and Tools to find the PBA materials.
The PBA window is Feb. 3-March 27. Teachers may use any time during this window to have students complete PBA tasks. Teachers will be given instructions on how to submit student work in late February. Submission of work will open in March and will need to be complete by March 27 at 5:00 PM.
Key Contacts
Assessment Manager .........................
IAD Meetings and Training Events.......
National Certifications .........................
Data and Research..............................
Performance-Based Assessment.........

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