Your monthly update on all things MS-CPAS!
January 2019  Issue
Turning Over a New Leaf
 
January is always one of my favorite times of the year. For me, it signals cooler temperatures and the promise of a looming spring. It also sparks a time of renewed energy and focus for most of us. After a much needed break, students and educators are ready for the start of the spring semester and, for those on block schedules, a new set of courses. I refrain from setting New Year's goals, but I do review the personal and professional goals and milestones I want to accomplish for the year. For me, that reflection seems to help me finish projects in the best way possible.

As a reminder, we will have two training days at Mississippi State University's Hunter Henry Center (Feb. 18-19) and one training day at the Hattiesburg DoubleTree Inn (Feb. 21). These dates and locations are a change from previous years. Space is limited on each day, so please only register essential staff for these events. At the training days, you will meet our newest addition to the assessment team, Cliff Thames. Cliff holds a master's degree in educational leadership and administration from the University of Southern Mississippi and a bachelor's degree in physical education with an emphasis in teaching and minor in biology from MSU. He taught biology for 12 years, served as a department chair of science at the high school level, and helped start the Medical Science Academy at Florence High School. He most recently served as an assistant principal at Columbus Middle School, where he helped with PBIS, Case 21, and data analysis for lower subgroups.

For our educational tech thought this month, I wanted to highlight a few of   Common Sense Education's selections for the Best Ed Tech Tools of 2018. Loom is a free screencast tool geared towards educators. It has a low learning curve and allows you to create screencasts of any length. Some use cases for educators are "flipped" faculty meetings, faculty and teacher training, providing feedback for students, and recapping lessons. Teachers or parents looking to help students learn how to code in a non-threatening, no-cost manner should look at   Grasshopper. This free app will help motivated individuals learn how to program with JavaScript in a scalable manner. Check out the other winners from this list and winners on other popular award lists from The Tech Advocate, EdTech Digest, and ComputEd Gazette.

I hope that each of you get some time for rest and reflection so we can be the best for our friends, families, and students.

Sincerely,

Sean Owen, PhD
Assessment Manager
Important Dates
 
Spring Roster Submission Period......................................................Jan. 28 - March 22
Registration Deadline for Test Coordinator Training.............................................Feb. 4
Secondary Practice Testing Window.................................................Feb. 14 - March 29
Secondary Test Coordinator Training, 8 a.m. - 3 p.m. (Starkville).................Feb.18 - 19
Secondary Test Coordinator Training, 8 a.m. - 3 p.m.  (Hattiesburg)..................Feb. 21

MS-CPAS Updates
  
The dates for test coordinator training (Feb.18-19 and 21) are fast approaching, and we would love to hear from you. Take a minute to submit the No. 1 question that you hope to have answered at the training by clicking on this link.
 
Thanks to secondary school test coordinators who have already registered for training. If you have not yet reserved your place for this one-day event, please do so today by visiting the RCU's Go Sign Me Up page, logging in, and entering "Test Coordinator Training" in the search box. If you do not already have a GSMU account, you will be given the opportunity to create one.  
 
Please note that the deadline to register is Feb. 4.
 
Our verification tools will open on Jan. 28 and will remain open through March 29. Section 3 of the 2018-2019 CTE Testing Manual provides step-by-step instructions for uploading your student rosters and for verifying your testing information in our testing system. We will also be assisting test coordinators with uploading rosters at the February training if you prefer to wait until training to complete the verification step.
 
Once test coordinators have completed the verification process, students in programs for which a practice test is offered will be automatically scheduled for two practice test attempts, which will be available during the practice testing window of Feb.14 - March 29. You can find a list of the programs with practice tests under MS-CPAS Resources on the MS-CPAS page of the RCU website.
 
We wish you a wonderful start to the spring semester, and we look forward to seeing test coordinators in Starkville or in Hattiesburg!  
National Certifications Updates
  
NCCER new proctor workshops will be held soon. If your district offers NCCER certifications, you must have a certified proctor to administer those assessments. If your district only has one certified proctor, it would be a good idea to add an additional one. Anyone needing to be certified must participate in NCCER proctor training at one of the following workshops:
 

Thursday, Jan. 31, 9:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.

MSU Research and Curriculum Unit

103 Russell Street

Starkville, MS 39759

 

Thursday, Feb. 7, 9:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.

Lowery A. Woodhall Advanced Technology Center

906 Sullivan Drive

Hattiesburg, MS 39401

  

Please register through Go Sign Me Up. The course name is NCCER Test Proctor Certification Regional Training. For questions concerning NCCER certification, please contact Dianna Zendejas with the Mississippi Construction Education Foundation.  
Performance-Based Assessment
  
Testing season is nearly upon us, and PBA is starting soon for second-year students in architecture and drafting, digital media technology, polymer science, and simulation and animation design. PBA materials are available for download on the RCU website here.
 
Please mark your calendars for these key PBA dates:
  • Feb. 1: First day that PBA tasks may be administered for students in architecture and drafting, digital media technology, and simulation and animation design.The polymer science PBA is already underway.
  • March 22: Last day of PBA task administration for all programs. 5 p.m. deadline for uploading student work.
  • April 1 - 26: Local scoring and interview window for all programs.
 
We plan to hold webinars for each program later this month, so teachers, be on the lookout for an email invite. If you have any questions, feel free to ask them via our Help Desk. .
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 fourth in this series will be held 11 a.m. Jan. 9 and will focus on media outreach and photography. Topics include:
  • Distributing press releases and pitching stories to local media outlets
  • Developing working relationships with reporters
  • Using your camera effectively to share your program's story
If you have any questions, please contact either  Amanda Gronewold  or  Carl Smith
Staff Spotlight: 
Romika Sudduth-Conley

Romika Sudduth-Conley's walk across the Humphrey Coliseum stage to receive her bachelor's degree marked the fulfillment of a promise she made to her mother: This fall, the RCU project coordinator became the first in her family to obtain a degree from an institution of higher learning.

  Read more about Sudduth-Conley here. 
Key Contacts
Assessment Manager ..............................
IAD Meetings and Training Events...........
National Certification ...............................
PBA .........................................................
Research and Standard Setting................

Have assessment needs not addressed in this issue?
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