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PreACT Secure FAQ


Accountability and Testing of Students in Various Situations:

 

Policy document regarding student in special/unique situations: OEA has created a policy document that explains in practical terms what the state statutory requirement to assess all enrolled pupils means. This document is intended to simplify the task of determining whether pupils in any of a number of special situations must be tested. For reference purposes, the FAQ questions asking if certain students must be tested will continue to be listed here with a link to the policy document and any information that concerns the logistics of how to assess the student.

Q. Do I need to test students who are migrant or homeless?

A. See the policy document regarding student in special/unique situations.

Q. Do I need to test a student who was expelled from school for the duration of the testing window?

A. See the policy document regarding student in special/unique situations.

Q. Do I count in my enrollment and assess students who are in my school district under the school open-enrollment program?

A. See the policy document regarding student in special/unique situations.

Q. Is my school accountable for testing a student housed in a juvenile facility (adjudicated student)?

A. See the policy document regarding student in special/unique situations. For ACT PreACT Secure, the student can be tested via a district owned laptop, in a secure setting by a trained proctor, with an internet connection. If the student is not tested, the student counts as a non-test participant for accountability purposes.

Q. Do I need to test a homebound or hospitalized student?

A. See the policy document regarding student in special/unique situations. Test security needs to be carefully considered when dealing with homebound or hospitalized students.

For PreACT Secure, the high school could send trained staff to the home or hospital and administer the assessment on a district owned laptop. Be sure that the person who is administering the test to the student is an employed district staff member who has been trained in test administration.

Homebound services differ from virtual learning provided during the pandemic in that homebound is a placement determined by an IEP team. A student with a disability who requires in-person specially designed instruction and related services in the home in order to make progress towards their IEP goals and in the general education curriculum, must receive in-person homebound services as part of a free and appropriate public education (FAPE).

Q. When does a student qualify as having a “significant medical emergency”?

A. A significant medical emergency is a health impairment that renders the student incapable of participating in any academic activities, including state assessments, for the entire PreACT Secure testing window. Districts should maintain documentation of the circumstance within their district. The student will be excluded from test participation and achievement-based accountability calculations. See additional guidance on medical exemptions in the Significant Medical Emergency Form. Test Coordinators must enter a not-tested code of "significant medical emergency" in the vendor portals.

Q. For students that will be completing the Dynamic Learning Maps test in place of the PreACT Secure, what do we do with them in the portals?

A. Students who are taught with alternate standards must participate in the DLM assessments. These students should be left in the portal and should not be placed in the PreACT Secure testing sessions. Enter the "alternate assessment" not-tested code in the appropriate portal to indicate that the student took the DLM.

Q. Who is responsible for students testing students who are placed in a corrections facility operated by the Wisconsin Department of Corrections?

A. See the policy document regarding student in special/unique situations.

Q. Who is responsible for testing students who are placed in either a state mental health facility operated by the Wisconsin Department of Health Services?

A. See the policy document regarding student in special/unique situations. The district of residence should work with the facility to complete testing; however, it is not the facility’s responsibility to test the student. If the student is not tested, the student counts as a non-test participant for accountability purposes.

Options available for PreACT Secure testing in a corrections facility or state mental health facility include:
  • High school will send trained staff to the corrections or mental health facility and administer the assessment on a district owned laptop.
  • High school and the corrections or mental health facility collaboratively agree that the facility will administer the PreACT Secure test at their facility using facility staff. The high school would be responsible for training facility staff in test administration. High school would set up a test session naming the facility staff as the Room Supervisor. All facility requirements, test administration procedures, and security requirements must be met.
  • Student returns to district of residence to test if applicable and appropriate.
Q. Who is responsible for testing a student with a disability who is placed in a Residential Care Center (RCC) when the RCC is a third party provider?

A. See the policy document regarding student in special/unique situations. The district of residence should work with the RCC to complete testing; however, it is not the RCC’s responsibility to test the student. If the student is not tested, the student counts as a non-test participant for accountability purposes.

Options available for PreACT Secure testing in a Residential Care Center (RCC) include:
  • High school will send trained staff to the RCC and administer the assessment on a district owned laptop.
  • High school and the RCC collaboratively agree that the RCC will administer the PreACT Secure test at the RCC using RCC staff. The high school would be responsible for training RCC staff in test administration. High school would set up a test session naming the RCC staff as the Room Supervisor. All facility requirements, test administration procedures, and security requirements must be met.
Q. Who is responsible for testing a student with a disability who is placed per IEP at Wisconsin Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired or the Wisconsin School for the Deaf, Lakeland School of Walworth County or Syble Hopp Elementary and Secondary School of Brown County?

A. See the policy document regarding student in special/unique situations.  The district of residence should work with the above schools to complete testing at the specialized school the student is attending. If the student is not tested, the student counts as a non-test participant for accountability purposes.

The Wisconsin Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired and the Wisconsin School for the Deaf have access to the PreACT Secure portal and will test students at their facilities using their own staff. When necessary, they will request students through the PreACT Secure transfer process from the district of residence.

Options available for PreACT Secure testing at Lakeland School or Syble Hopp include:
  • High school will send trained staff to Lakeland School or Syble Hopp and administer the assessment on a district owned laptop.
  • High school and Lakeland School or Syble Hopp collaboratively agree that Lakeland School or Syble Hopp will administer the PreACT Secure test at their site using Lakeland School or Syble Hopp staff. The high school would be responsible for training Lakeland School or Syble Hopp staff in test administration. High school would set up a test session naming the Lakeland School or Syble Hopp staff as the Room Supervisor.
  • Many students attending Lakeland School of Walworth County and Syble Hopp Elementary and Secondary School of Brown County are taught with alternate standards and will take the alternate assessment, Dynamic Learning Maps. These students will not be administered PreACT Secure. Students attending either of these facilities and who are taught with general education standards will be tested with PreACT Secure.
  • All facility requirements, test administration procedures, and security requirements must be met.
Q. Who is responsible for testing students who are attending a school outside of their school of residence but scores need to be reported back to the school of residence for accountability purposes? For instance: multi-district charter schools, local juvenile jails, CESA programs for behaviorally challenged students, etc.

A. See the policy document regarding student in special/unique situations.  The district of residence should work with the school/program/facility of attendance to complete testing; however, the best interest of the student must be considered and collaboration between the school/program of attendance and the district of residence is essential. If the student is not tested, the student counts as a non-test participant for accountability purposes.

Options available for PreACT Secure testing at a school/program/facility described above include:
  • High school will send trained staff to the school/program/facility and administer the assessment on a district owned laptop.
  • High school and the school/program/facility collaboratively agree that the school/program/facility will administer the PreACT Secure test at their site using school/program/facility staff. The high school would be responsible for training school/program/facility staff in test administration. High school would set up a test session naming the school/program/facility staff as the Room Supervisor. All facility requirements, test administration procedures, and security requirements must be met.
  • Student returns to district of residence to test if applicable and appropriate.
Q. Who is responsible for testing students attending a Virtual School?

A. For PreACT Secure, Virtual schools are responsible for testing all students enrolled in grades 9 or 10 with PreACT Secure. This may be done in the district that is responsible for the virtual school, or with district staff at other arranged sites. Other districts should not test students who live in their attendance area and attend a virtual school in another district. These students will be tested on a district owned laptop, by a trained proctor, in a secure setting, with an internet connection.

Q. Is our district responsible for testing private school students?

A. No. Your district may not test private school students. Private schools participating in the Choice Program are required to administer the State Assessments to students enrolled in the Choice Program.

Private schools have the opportunity to purchase the PreACT Secure directly from the vendor. For additional information regarding testing, go to Private School Testing.

Q. Is a public school or district responsible for testing a home-schooled student if the parent requests that?

A. No. Public schools do not have the authority to administer the PreACT Secure to home-schooled students, including those enrolled in their district for two or fewer classes per day.

Q. When is parent/guardian opt-out allowed?

A. When a parent or guardian requests that the student be excused from participating in the WSAS, this request must be honored at grades 4, 8, and 9-11, per Wis. Stats. 118.30(2)(b)3. This request may come at any time during the testing window. All students excused by parent opt-out are marked as “not tested” students in school and district reporting and accountability determinations. Enter the not-tested code "parent opt-out" in the portal.

Q. How does a parent/guardian request an opt-out for their student?

A. A parent must submit a written request for student opt-out to the principal or the school board. Per Wis. Stats. 118.30(2)(b)3., if the student is in grades 4, 8, and 9-11 the request must be granted. However, if the student is not in the above mentioned grade levels, the decision to grant the request is at the discretion of the school board.

Q. Do I need to test a foreign exchange student?

A. Yes. You must test all students enrolled using the assessment that is required for the grade level in which the student is placed. If the student is not a full academic year student, the student counts in accountability determination only as a test participant and is not calculated into ELA and Mathematics proficiency rates.

Q. Do I need to test a student who is out of state during the entire testing window?

A. No. The PreACT Secure cannot be administered out of state. If the student is still enrolled in the district/school, the student counts as a non-participant for reporting and accountability determinations.

Q. Do I need to test a student who is attending a school out of state but living in my district?

A. No. The student does not need to be included in the count of students enrolled in the district if the placement is out-of-state.

Q. What is DPI’s definition of “Full Academic Year” (FAY)?

A. An FAY student is one who has been continuously enrolled in a school or district from the 3rd Friday of September to the completion of testing, with no enrollment gaps of 30 days or more. For more information, contact Phil Cranley at DPI at (608) 266-9798.

Q. How is FAY applied to reporting and accountability?

A. FAY is applied for public reporting of assessment results and when using assessment results in accountability calculations including school and district report cards. A student's assessment results are only included in performance-based accountability calculations (i.e., priority area calculations in accountability report cards) for a school if he or she was enrolled in the school for the full academic year. District accountability report cards include students in achievement-based calculations who were enrolled in the district for the full academic year. Test participation calculations do not factor in FAY status because, while schools and districts are only held accountable for the performance of students enrolled for the full academic year, a student is expected to participate in the required statewide assessments regardless of how long they have been enrolled in the school or district.

Q. Should I test a student with a recent trauma?

A. Use your own judgment about whether it is appropriate to test a student who has suffered a recent trauma. If the student is not tested, be aware that the student will count as a non-test participant for accountability purposes.

Q. Who is responsible for testing students attending alternative schools or technical colleges?

A. See the policy document regarding student in special/unique situations.

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English Learners

 

Q. What content areas are English learners (ELs) required to take under federal regulations?

A. ESEA requires that all students participate in statewide assessment to be used for accountability. Federal regulations provide some flexibility related to the assessment and accountability for recently arrived EL students only (See 34 CFR § 200.6 (b) (4)).

Districts will need to first determine if the student has recently arrived in the United States before making assessment and accountability decisions. Recently arrived refers to a student that has attended a U.S. school for less than 12 months and has a language proficiency level of 1 or 2 as determined by ACCESS for ELLs®.

A recently arrived EL may be exempt from one required administration of the state’s English Language Arts (ELA) assessment. If the student does not participate in the ELA assessment, he or she must participate in ACCESS for ELLS. Recently arrived students must participate in all other content areas, with or without accommodations. Students in a school or district for less than a full academic year (FAY) are counted for test participation only; their assessment results are not factored into school or district report cards.

Q. How are recently arrived EL students included in accountability calculations if they take the ELA exemption?

A. If the student does not participate in the ELA assessment, he or she must participate in ACCESS for ELLs®. Recently arrived students must participate in all other content areas, with or without accommodations. Students in the district for less than a full academic year (FAY) are counted for test participation only; their assessment results are not factored into school or district report cards.

Q. What are the approved accommodations we can use for EL Students on the PreACT Secure assessments?

A. Please refer to the PreACT Secure Accommodations and Supports webpage.

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Grade Classification

 

Q. What do I need to do if a student is listed in one grade in the test portal, but our district records indicate the student is in a different grade (due, for example, to a mid-year advancement)?

A. In Wisconsin, local school boards determine policy about grade level placement. Therefore, check with your district for guidance about when a student should be advanced to a new grade level, and test all students who are, according to district policy, enrolled in a tested grade (3-11). Please remember to update the student’s record in your local student information system (SIS) and transmit the data to DPI through WISEdata.

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Miscellaneous

 

Q. Where can I find the most recent PreACT Secure manuals?

A. You can find the manuals on the PreACT Secure Wisconsin website.

Q. How can I sign up for DPI’s ACT biweekly email, and where are past updates archived?

A. The ACT Wisconsin biweekly email is an informational resource from the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction - Office of Educational Accountability. Information about PreACT Secure and the ACT with writing is included in the email as well as helpful resources, training opportunities, deadline reminders and quick links. The ACT Wisconsin biweekly email is sent to DACs, School Test Coordinators, and high school principals. For archived editions please visit the assessment correspondence webpage.

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Students With Disabilities

 

Q. Are districts expected to test all students with disabilities?

A. Yes. State and federal law requires districts and schools to test all students, including students with disabilities. Students with disabilities may take the PreACT Secure assessment with accommodations or may take the Alternate Assessment (Dynamic Learning Maps) if the student qualifies.

Q. Who makes the decision about the participation of students with disabilities in PreACT Secure or DLM?

A. Decisions regarding student participation in PreACT Secure or DLM are the responsibility of the student’s Individual Education Program (IEP) team. If a student is not tested, the student counts as a non-participant for reporting and accountability purposes.

Q. How does the IEP team determine if the student should participate in the DLM?

A. The decision to participate in the DLM is made using the DLM Participation Checklist. Use of the checklist requires a thorough review of student-specific data to assess the student’s current educational performance relative to the academic performance standards for all students. Visit the DPI DLM Assessment pages for more information.


Test Administration

 

Q: PreACT Secure is administered in one of three test windows. Do schools need to complete all testing within a single test window?

A: Standard timed PreACT Secure is administered in a single battery, meaning that once students start testing, they must complete testing in a single sitting and day.  Accommodated students who require multiple-day testing, must complete their testing by the end of the test window in which they started.  Make-up testing can be completed in the same window or in any of the remaining windows.

Q: Are schools required to begin testing PreACT Secure by a certain time during the day? 

A: Yes, schools are required to start testing PreACT Secure by 10:30 AM the day of testing.

Q: How long is the PreACT Secure assessment? 

A: The standard timed PreACT Secure is a 155-minute test. See PreACT Secure Standard Subject Test Times.

Q: Where are accommodations entered for the PreACT Secure?

A. Accommodations for the PreACT Secure will be entered directly into the PearsonAccessnext Portal and do not require prior ACT approval.

Q. Can 9th and 10th graders take PreACT Secure in the same room?

A. Although not recommended, ACT does not prohibit testing grades 9 and 10 in the same testing room. If testing together, grades 9 and 10 must be separated into different testing sessions.


WISEdata​ and WISEdash

 

Q. When is the absolute deadline for getting student demographics updated WISEdata?

A. WISEdata can and should be kept up-to-date throughout the school year. The Office of Educational Accountability will populate testing portals based on information submitted through WISEdata. Watch the DAC Digest for specific dates when OEA will pull data to populate the testing portals.

Q. Where can I access data for my district, school, and students?

A. WISEdash for Districts is a secure platform that provides dashboards for district-wide use of student data including specific detail inquiry, topic-specific current and trend data, and advanced analysis dashboards to compare data and demographics over time.

Q. How do I get a WISEdash for Districts login?

A. Log into WISEhome with a personal WAMS ID or an approved district email account and request to have your agency's administrator grant you access to an application through the WISEsecure system.

Q. How do I navigate WISEdash for Districts?

A. Several learning resources are available including: WISEdash for Districts guides, videos, and other resources.

Q. Where can I access data about Wisconsin schools and districts?

A. WISEdash Public is a data portal that uses dashboards, or visual collections of graphs and tables, to provide multi-year education data about Wisconsin schools. Data on the portal are redacted and available by school, district, or state. Users can disaggregate data by student subgroups and make district or school side-by-side comparisons.

Q. Where can I find support in analyzing student assessment data?

A. The WISExplore group builds capacity with educators to engage in data inquiry processes and culturally responsive continuous improvement practices utilizing WISEdash portals and many other data sources. The Using Assessment Dashboards presentation created by the WISExplore team in collaboration with the Office of Educational Accountability, is a guide to interacting with various dashboards and useful tools to analyze assessment data.