Your monthly update on all things MS-CPAS!
March 2019  Issue
Bell Ringers, Reminders, and Practice Runs
Periodic tasks and responsibilities tend to be things that cause difficulty, both for students and educators. In fact, it happens quite a bit for the assessment staff. Changes in job processes, such as some types of MS-CPAS deliverables, can cause minor snags. Recognizing that, we attempt to provide consistency, clarity, and communication for all career and technical education assessment matters. These are non-negotiable requirements that have guided processes since 2011. The MS-CPAS Minute is our version of a bell ringer. With this strategy in mind, here are a few reminders related to processes and events:
  1. Practice Test Information For 2019, students will take the practice tests in Questionmark, the online testing system for MS-CPAS. You must verify students/classes in the RCU submission and verification system to schedule a set of practice tests for students in eligible career pathways. We will NOT do roster changes, practice test schedule changes, or practice score modifications due to incorrect district roster submissions, technical glitches, or mistyped verifications. We are currently supporting normal practice test administration and preparing for regular MS-CPAS testing in April and May. Download the list of practice tests here. The CTE Testing Manual  contains instructions for administering practice tests and retrieving reports.
  2. Training Notes: We have posted archived video tutorials of each session from our February test coordinator training, which were held at the Hunter Henry Center on the MSU campus and in Hattiesburg, on the RCU's assessment page. There you'll also find other video tutorials and the CTE Testing Manual, which outlines EVERY preparation and administration process associated with MS-CPAS. 
  3. Important Dates: Download the exact dates for other testing-related events through the summer of 2019 in a single-page format here.
Thank you again for everything you do for the students and communities of Mississippi!


Sean Owen, PhD
Assessment Manager
Important Dates
Deadline for Spring Roster Submission...........................................March 22
Secondary Practice Testing Window Closes....................................March 29
Postsecondary Testing........................................................................April 1-4
Secondary PBA Scoring and Interview.............................................April 1-26
Secondary MS-CPAS (Congressional Districts 1 & 3).....................April 8-16
Secondary MS-CPAS (Congressional Districts 2 & 4)...................April 17-25
National Certification Testing....................................................April 1-May 10
MS-CPAS Updates

We had a great time at our spring test coordinator trainings in Starkville and Hattiesburg. If you were not able to join us, you can access informational tutorials that cover material presented at the trainings. These recordings are available on the RCU website's  MS-CPAS   page under the Presentations tab.
Practice testing is underway for many of our secondary CTE programs. Remember that students must be uploaded and verified in the RCU's testing system before they will have a practice test schedule. When classes are verified and have the green "Ready for Scheduling" status in Step 2, a practice test will be available within 24 hours for students in a pathway for which a practice test is offered. A list of available practice tests can be found on the MS-CPAS testing resource page.
As you prepare for MS-CPAS testing, you will find many helpful tools on the RCU website. On the MS-CPAS page, the Supplementary Materials Manual provides a collection of resources that need to be printed for students to use while testing in nine different programs. Be sure to check the Su pplementary Materials Manual's table of contents for a list of these programs. Also on the MS-CPAS page is the 2018-2019 Information for Test Administrators and Proctors. This document is a condensed version of the CTE Manual that can be printed for test administrators and proctors to use while testing.
Remember that testing tickets and a proctor report are available for the day of testing. You will find these aids by navigating to the reports section found under the assessment tab on the RCU website. Testing tickets provide students with the Questionmark online assessment web address, the student's login information, and the assessment name and number. The proctor report provides student login information and the test ID of the assigned MS-CPAS assessment for each student and can be used to help proctors record attendance.
We are here to help. If you have a question, please reach out to us by sending a Help Desk ticket or by calling 866.901.7433 or 662.325.2510.
National Certifications Updates
We have posted the new national certification testing tutorials as well as the national certification presentation that was given at this year's Test Coordinator Training on the RCU's assessment page. These tutorials provide important information and links to testing resources that you may find useful during the spring testing window, which runs from April 1 through May 10.
Remember to go ahead and apply for your national certification test accommodations as soon as possible. If you submitted test accommodations forms to the RCU for students taking NCCER exams before baseline testing began this fall, you do not have to submit another form for those same students.
Speaking of NCCER exams, don't forget to upload any new students that have joined your classes after baseline testing took place in the fall to your rosters in the NCCER test management system. Once you have uploaded your new students, send us a Help Desk ticket so that we can make sure the exams are available for those students.
If you have any questions or issues, please feel free reach out through our Help Desk, and we will be happy to assist you.
Performance-Based Assessment
March signals the end of performance-based assessment (PBA) task administrations, and instructors with second-year students in architecture and drafting, digital media technology, polymer science, and simulation and animation design should mark their calendars for the March 22 deadline to upload student work to the RCU. Student work includes résumés, job applications, and completed tasks. Directions for how to upload the work can be found on the PBA page of the RCU website under the Materials and Tools menu.
The RCU will load student work into our scoring tool, OSCAR, during the last week in March, and districts are free to begin local PBA scoring on April 1 through April 26.
For SP19 PBA, we will take a closer look at PBA scoring in order to address questions from assessment stakeholders and refine the scoring process. The RCU has heard from teachers who would like to know they are scoring consistently and from directors who want to know how scores in their district compare to scores in other districts. We have also seen that students typically score higher on PBA than they do on MS-CPAS or certification exams, and we want to take a closer look into why. We will address these inquiries two ways: 
  1. OSCAR, our online scoring and reporting tool for PBA, will have a training portion using student products from the previous test administration (for architecture and drafting and polymer science). When teachers and industry professionals log in to score during the April window, they will score a set of training responses and see an onscreen report of their accuracy prior to scoring any live work. This will allow each scorer to adjust according to the standard set by the training. All the work for this training has been scored and calibrated by a group of instructors from its pathway. For digital media technology and simulation and animation design, we will collect exemplary student products to be calibrated over the summer and used for training in SP20.
  2. We will conduct final scoring at the end of April into the beginning of May. All teachers from each pathway will be invited to participate as scorers in this process. The final scores will be used to approximate a true score for the students' final score reports and create a report for each teacher to see how his or her district-level scores compared to to the final scores. 
We anticipate that PBA reports will be available at the same time as MS-CPAS reports, which for this year is May 10 by 5 p.m.
Webinar Wednesdays

Join us Wednesday, March 13 for another Webinar Wednesday! This month, we're going to follow up last October's social media webinar with tips and tricks for the more advanced user. We'll cover stories, graphics, emojis, analytics, and more. You can find the October edition, along with every other webinar, archived at the RCU's webinar page.

C Spire Pilot

Twenty Mississippi high school districts and community colleges have agreed to participate in a new pilot program that will use customized curriculum developed from a successful private coding academy to fast track creation of hundreds of new academic and computer science career opportunities in the state. Read more about the innovative pilot program 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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