Your monthly update on all things MS-CPAS
March 2021
February Ice Storms Bring March _____?
Intermittent tasks, long pauses in scheduled processes and drastic changes in responsibilities tend to be things that cause difficulty for both students and educators, and all these things happen every year to the RCU assessment team.

In my 11 years managing statewide CTE assessments in Mississippi, each year has brought its own set of challenges. Each challenge provides us the opportunity to grow and create a better learning environment for the students of our state. With this understanding, we attempt to provide consistency, clarity and communication when it relates to CTE assessment.

These are non-negotiable requirements that have guided processes since 2011. The MS-CPAS Minute continues to be our version of a bell ringer. With this strategy, we also offer a few reminders related to processes and events, as with the items below.
  • Practice Test Information: For 2021, career pathways that use the MS-CPAS for their assessment type have practice tests available 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.

    As a reminder, we will not
     make roster changes, practice test schedule changes or practice score modifications to incorrect rosters originating from districts due to technical glitches or mistyped verifications. We are currently supporting normal practice test administration and preparing for regular MS-CPAS testing in April and May. The CTE Testing Manual contains instructions for administering practice tests and retrieving reports.  
  • Training Notes: On our assessment web page, we have posted archived video tutorials of each session from February's online test coordinator training. There you can also find more video tutorials and the CTE Testing Manual, which outlines every preparation and administration process associated with the MS-CPAS.
  • Other Important Dates: Download the exact dates for other testing-related events through the summer of 2021 in a single-page format through the RCU website.
  • The deadline for upload and verification of student rosters was Feb. 19. Due to the ice storm, we have accepted late submissions and will continue to accept late submissions until 5 p.m. March 2. After March 2, any districts that have not completed the upload and verification process will not receive national certification vouchers/exam codes purchased by the RCU.
For our educational technology tip for the month, I want to highlight a few of the ideas that came out of the 2021 Texas Computer Education Association (TCEA) conference. The TCEA, International Society for Technology in Education, Future of Education Technology Conference and Mississippi Educational Computing Association conferences are just a few of the great conferences that push the envelope when it comes to providing educators innovative instructional technology ideas for the CTE classroom.
  • Google Drawings Resources: One way of getting students to demonstrate an understanding of CTE topics is to require the creation of a graphic organizer or informal schematic. Using Google Drawings is a free way to complete this assignment.
  • Flipgrid: I cannot think of a better way for most career pathways' CTE students to explain what they are learning in their CTE classroom. Flipgrid is also a free tool that integrates with Canvas and other popular learning systems. Students can access the Flipgrid assignment within your Canvas course, record a video explaining a process or demonstrating a technique they are learning in your class and submit it for formative or summative grading. For non-graded activities, Flipgrid can just be a way for classmates to interact with one another online besides a discussion board. The possibilities for CTE are endless.
Thank you again for everything you do for the students and communities of Mississippi.

Sean Owen, PhD
Assessment Manager
Important Dates
The RCU will not purchase national certification exams for any district that does not complete upload and verification of student rosters to the RCU portal by 5 p.m. March 2. No exceptions will be made.

MS-CPAS Demo PeriodOpen year-round 
PBA Task Submission Window
Canceled for the 2020-2021 school year.
All PBA courses will take MS-CPAS this year. 
Practice TestingFeb. 22 to March 24
Spring Verification DeadlineFeb. 19
Spring 2021 TestingApril 8-19: Congressional Districts 1 and 3

April 20-29: Congressional Districts 2 and 4

April 30: Make-up testing (It is not necessary to wait until make-up day to provide make-up tests to students who need them.)

May 28: Final reports available
National Certification TestingAnytime between April 1 and May 12

The RCU will publish MDE certification results midsummer, contingent upon the release of results by the certification companies.

For the full calendar, visit the MS-CPAS resources page. Please note that you must be logged into the RCU website to access the MS-CPAS resources. 
MS-CPAS Testing
We enjoyed meeting with you during our spring test coordinator training. Though we missed the atmosphere and conversation of our in-person training, we hope the virtual format helped ease your mind and clarify questions as we prepare for spring testing. If you were not able to join us, you can access informational tutorials on our website that cover the material presented in the training. A tutorial for MS-CPAS practice testing can be found on the MS-CPAS page under the Presentations tab, and tutorials for each national certification can be found on the Student Certification page under 2020-2021 National Certification Tutorials.
Practice testing is underway for many of our secondary CTE programs. Remember students must be uploaded and verified in the RCU's testing system before they will have a practice test scheduled. 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.
You will find many helpful tools on the RCU website as you prepare for MS-CPAS testing. 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 Supplementary Materials Manual's table of contents for a list of these programs. Also on the MS-CPAS page is the 2020-2021 Information for Test Administrators and Proctors, a condensed version of the CTE manual that can be printed for test administrators and proctors to use while testing.
Remember testing tickets and proctor reports are available for the day of testing. You will find these aids by navigating to the Reports page found under the Assessment menu on the RCU website. Testing tickets provide students with the Questionmark online assessment Web address, the student's login information, the assessment name and its 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.
National Certifications
Purchasing of national certifications is complete. As of March 1, you may begin completing the steps required by each certification to register proctors and students.
As you begin preparing for national certifications, be sure to look at the survival guides on the RCU website, located behind your district login under Certification Tools on the Student Certification page. Each survival guide offers step-by-step instructions for registering your students for national certifications. Tutorial videos for each national certification are available under 2020-2021 National Certification Tutorials on the Student Certification page on the RCU website.

For districts that have NCCER pathways, once students have been uploaded to the NCCER testing system and you have your NCCER student ID numbers, log into the RCU website and go to Reports then Testing Tools to find the NCCER ID import template. Please use this template to record your students' NCCER student ID numbers and send them into the RCU via Help Desk.
Once a district has uploaded all its students in the NCCER course shells of the NCCER testing system, it needs to notify the RCU via Help Desk so NCCER tests can be assigned.
Spring 2020 NCCER Students: 
If you uploaded spring 2020 students that want to take the NCCER from last spring (which is optional), you need to submit those names to the RCU via Help Desk no later than March 5. No exceptions will be made. The Help Desk ticket should include the student's name, course, MSIS number and NCCER ID.
Performance Based Assessment
PBA is canceled for the 2020-2021 school year. All courses that participate in PBA (Architecture and Drafting Y2, Digital Media Technology Y2, Simulation and Animation Design Y2, and Polymer Science Y2) will complete the Y2 MS-CPAS in place of PBA. These courses have MS-CPAS practice tests available.
Key Contacts
Assessment Manager .........................
IAD Meetings and Training Events.......
National Certifications .........................
Data and Research..............................
Performance-Based Assessment.........

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