Your monthly update on all things MS-CPAS
January 2020
A New Year, A New Mindset

The start of the new year in Mississippi always seems to lift my spirits. It truly is one of my favorite times of the year. For me, it finally brings cooler weather, but it also reminds me baseball season is right around the corner. For us educators, it also is the midway point of the year. This "fresh start" always seems to recharge my batteries, which helps me finish out current projects and embark on new ones. I have seen this increased focus in the schools over the years. I have always admired CTE teachers and administrators that are able to pivot in January in the right direction to help them meet their students' goals in the best way possible.

As a reminder, we will have a Spring Test Coordinator Training Day at Mississippi State's Hunter Henry Center and one training day in Hattiesburg. (Dates are listed below.) Space is limited on each training day, so please only register essential staff for these events. 

At the training days, you will get to meet our newest additions to the Assessment team, Riesa Blackwell and Ben Alexander.

Riesa has eight years of teaching experience at the high school level in the areas of Biology, Anatomy and Physiology, Botany, and Zoology. She also was a member of the Teacher Leadership Team, Cheer Coach, and Girls Powerlifting Coach. Riesa was also awarded Teacher of the Year at Starkville High School in 2019 and was chosen as an example of excellence by students in 2015, 2016, and 2019. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Secondary Education with a concentration in Biology Education and a Bachelor of Science in Biological Sciences from Mississippi State University.

Ben taught eight years at the high school level in the areas of history, economics, government, and psychology in online and traditional formats (secondary and postsecondary). He has spent the last five years serving either as a principal or as assistant principal at the middle school or high school levels in Mississippi public schools. He has a Master of Science in Educational Administration and Specialist in Educational Leadership from Mississippi State University. Both Riesa and Ben look forward to meeting you in person at one of the upcoming training days.

For the technology tip for the month, I wanted to encourage you in your January productivity goals. As with most things in education and life in general, there are repetitive patterns of activities that we do almost daily to achieve the same desired result. Here are a few productivity tips that may be to useful to your daily patterns:
  1. Canned Responses in Gmail - I know you find yourself sending the same thing repeatedly to students and parents in an email. Just by nature of teaching more than one student, the same issue comes up repeatedly. You need canned responses. Read how to accomplish this task here.
  2. Scan Docs on the Go - Ever need to scan a document but don't have access to a functional scanner? The iOS app DocScan lets you take a picture of the document, mark it up, and send as a PDF or JPG file. Find out more here.
  3. Get in Shape! - For some of us the day of physical sprints may have passed us by. But there is no reason why we can't do mental and creative sprints to segment our day outside of the traditional bell schedule. I have found the Forest app and Google Chrome extension can help you develop work patterns without distractions.
I hope that each of you had time for rest and reflection so we can be the best for our friends, families, and students.


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
March 2-March 27
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

Spring test coordinator training is almost here, and we invite secondary school test coordinators to register for one of the two following days: Feb. 18 in Starkville or Feb. 20 in Hattiesburg. Please note that the deadline to register for training is Feb. 4. At this one-day training, you will have the opportunity to hear important updates for Spring 2020 testing and to upload your student data into our testing system. We look forward to seeing you at one of the training locations and hope that your semester starts well.
In the meantime, as you have questions, you can always reach the assessment team by sending a HelpDesk ticket or by calling 662.325.2510.

National Certifications Updates

Happy New Year Everyone! We have made it to spring 2020, and of course, 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. The time is 1 to 4 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 are currently going through finalization. Publication of materials on the RCU website should take place the week of Jan. 20. As materials are posted, instructors will receive an email notification. Materials will be located behind a district login, so testing coordinators will need to download the materials for their instructors. Instructors will receive direction as to how to upload student work after student verification takes place at our February Test Coordinator Training, and submission will be open from March 2-March 27 at 5 PM.
Instructors will not need to secure evaluators. The RCU is now responsible for this process, and evaluation of student work will happen remotely via OSCAR.

Key Contacts
Assessment Manager .........................
IAD Meetings and Training Events.......
National Certifications .........................
Data and Research..............................
Performance-Based Assessment.........
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Have assessment needs not addressed in this issue?
Create a Help Desk ticket, and we'll get right on it! 

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