Our walk in the PARCC is over, and it is now time to “Aspire”. Spring testing will look different this year with all juniors taking the “real ACT” on March 1 and all 3rd-10th grade students taking the ACT Aspire (April 11-May 16). Both assessments will be administered online.
A few high level facts about Aspire:
In December our technology department started planning for online testing. We have our obvious testing goals - to ensure that our infrastructure and devices are test-ready (and in our district that equates to about 850 devices), to install and test caching servers, and to assist our counselors with data uploads and assessment logistics. In addition, Kristy and I have taken some time to focus on the instructional side of the assessment and have accumulated some resources about navigating the online platform and familiarizing ourselves with test content and design. You can find those resources at http://lightbulblearningblog.weebly.com. Click on Assessments and then Teacher Resources. You can also go directly to the ACT Aspire Teacher Resources page here - http://goo.gl/BQ3dwQ.
To feel prepared for an assessment, it is important to not only know the content but to also understand how that content will be tested (types of questions, number of questions, time limits, etc. ). Add the online component on top of that, and it is also important we minimize any uncertainty students have about navigating the assessment platform. The more we know about a test, the more comfortable we feel.
Two of the best resources for digging into the test design and the online platform are Testing in Arkansas and the Student Sandbox. Also, as part of the ACT Aspire assessment package, the state purchased periodic assessments which we have the opportunity to use - interim and classroom. Each school will decide how and when to use those.
Let our technology department know if you need help with anything….we aspire to help you in any way we can. (I couldn’t resist.)
Dana Lane is a Technology Coordinator, and Kristy Graham is an Instructional Technology Specialist - both at Rivercrest School District. They are passionate about technology and learning and enjoy sharing this passion with teachers and students.