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The ACT High School Assessments FAQ

ACT/Aspire/WorkKeys Frequently Asked Questions

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Accountability and Testing of Students in Various Situations:

 

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

A. Yes. All students enrolled at the time of testing must be assessed.

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

A. Yes. The district/school is responsible for testing any expelled or suspended student who remains enrolled in the district during the testing window. They should be considered the same as any other student in your school.Q. 

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

A. Yes. These students and their parents/guardians chose to attend your school under provisions covered by state law. Therefore, it is your district’s responsibility to test these students.

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

A. Yes. All students enrolled at the time of testing must be assessed. For ACT ASPIRE, 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.

For ACT and WorkKeys, the test coordinator takes care of testing the student through the ACT offsite testing process.

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

A. Yes. Homebound students who remain enrolled in the district are the district’s responsibility for testing. Test security needs to be carefully considered when dealing with homebound or hospitalized students.

For ACT ASPIRE, 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.

For ACT and WorkKeys, the high school test coordinator takes care of this matter by seeking approval of the Accommodations request, and following offsite testing procedures. Each of these situations is unique.

Educators should use their own judgment on when it is appropriate to test a student. Keep in mind that children might wish to be included in everything their peers are doing. Non-tested students count as non-participants for accountability purposes

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 ACT ASPIRE testing window or the ACT/WorkKeys test dates. 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 ACT Aspire or ACT with writing, 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 ASPIRE 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. It is the responsibility of the Wisconsin Department of Corrections to administer state assessments to students that are placed in correctional facilities.

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. If the student is still enrolled in a district, it is the district of residence’s responsibility to test the student. 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.

NOTE: When a student is permanently placed under the care of one of the above systems and they are no longer enrolled in a district, these facilities are not required to administer the state assessment.

Options available for Aspire Early High School testing in a state mental health facility or a corrections facility include:
  • High school will send trained staff to the mental health or correctional facility and administer the assessment on a district owned laptop.
  • High school and the mental health or corrections facility collaboratively agree that the facility will administer the Aspire Early High School 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.
  • Refer to Aspire Portal Guidance for Students Who Attend School Outside Their School of Residence.

For ACT and WorkKeys, the test coordinator takes care of testing the student through offsite testing process. 

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. If the student is still enrolled in a district of residence and it manages the student’s IEP, it is the district of residence’s responsibility to test the student. 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 Aspire Early High School 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 Aspire Early High School 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.

For ACT and WorkKeys, the test coordinator takes care of testing the student through the offsite testing process.

NOTE: The district holding the IEP is usually the district of accountability, regardless of which district is responsible for providing educational services, for holding the WISEid, and for submitting data to WISEdata. There are many different scenarios in which a student is enrolled in an RCC. If you still need additional information, please contact OSA at (608) 267-1072.

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. If the student is still enrolled in a district of residence and they manage the student’s IEP, it is the district of residence’s responsibility to ensure the student has the opportunity to test but 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 reporting purposes.

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

Options available for Aspire Early High School testing at Lakeland School or Syble Hopp include:

High school and Lakeland School or Syble Hopp collaboratively agree that Lakeland School or Syble Hopp will administer the Aspire Early High School 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 ACT & WorkKeys/ Aspire Early High School. Students attending either of these facilities and who are taught with general education standards will be tested with ACT & WorkKeys / Aspire Early High School.

For ACT and WorkKeys, the test coordinator takes care of testing the student through the offsite testing process.

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. If the student is still enrolled in a district of residence, it is the district of residence’s responsibility to test the student. 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 reporting purposes.

For ACT and WorkKeys, the test coordinator takes care of testing the student through the offsite testing process.

Currently, ACT Aspire’s portal has no way to efficiently manage students who attend school in one district (school/district of attendance) but for accountability purposes need data reported back to the district of residence/accountability. Refer to Aspire Portal Guidance for Students Who Attend School Outside Their School of Residence.

Options available for Aspire Early High School 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 Aspire Early High School 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 ACT and WorkKeys Virtual Schools are responsible for testing all students in grade 11. This may be done by making arrangements to test virtual school students together on the statewide test dates or by arranging for the home district to test the students with their general grade 11 population.

For ACT ASPIRE, Virtual schools are responsible for testing all students enrolled in grades 9 or 10 with ACT Aspire. 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. Refer to Aspire Portal Guidance for Students Who Attend School Outside Their School of Residence.

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 ACT, WorkKeys, or ACT ASPIRE directly from the vendor. For additional information regarding testing go to Private School Testing.

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

A. No. You are neither required nor permitted to include home-schooled students in the ACT/WorkKeys/ACT Aspire, including those enrolled in your 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 ACT / Aspire / WorkKeys 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. Are we required to test new students who enroll during the testing dates / window?

A. In case of ACT ASPIRE, any student who enrolls in a school during the ACT Aspire testing window should be tested. School personnel should manually enter the student into the portal as a new student if transferring from a school that is not a Wisconsin Public School or request a transfer through the Aspire portal from a previously attended school if the student was enrolled in a Wisconsin Public School. If the student enters the school near the end of the testing window, the school should administer as many ACT Aspire tests as possible and practical.

In case of ACT and WorkKeys, the test coordinator should order test materials for the new students during the make-up ordering window and administer testing during the make-up testing dates.

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. We have an 11th grade student in our district who is in an HSED program. Are we required to test that student on ACT and WorkKeys?

A. Yes. Students remain enrolled in the local school district and the school district contracts for them to attend the technical college (or community based organization) to work on their HSED. The student should be participating in all relevant assessments.

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. The school district of enrollment is responsible for testing these students.

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English Language Learners

 

Q. What content areas are English language learners (ELLs) 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 ELL 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 ELL may be exempt from one required administration of the state’s English Language Arts 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.

Note: There is no exemption for WorkKeys and ACT Aspire they do not fall under federal regulations.

Q. How are recently arrived ELL 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 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 ELL Students on the ACT, WorkKeys, and ACT Aspire assessments?

A. Please refer to the English Learner Supports for the ACT High School Assessments 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 ACT & WorkKeys / ACT ASPIRE 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 ACT assessments or DLM?

A. Decisions regarding student participation in ACT assessments 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. More information about DLM.

Q. Can a paper-based test format of ACT ASPIRE be ordered for students with disabilities?

A. Only students with disabilities who require the accommodations of Braille, Large Print or American Sign Language can take the ACT Aspire test in paper format. All other students must test with computer-based testing (CBT). To order a paper-based test, the test coordinator must complete the student’s Personal Needs Profile (PNP) in the Aspire portal indicating Braille, Large Print of American Sign Language and then place that student in a paper-based test session by the calendar deadline. Until the student is put into the paper-based test session, the order is not complete and the school will not receive the required testing materials

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Grade Classification

 

Q. What do I need to do if a student is listed in one grade in 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. A child in my family will be taking the ACT during the spring statewide administration. Am I allowed to assume the role of test coordinator or proctor?

A. You should not serve in a test coordinator role if you have relatives who will be taking the statewide ACT at any school within the state that year. Test coordinators have access to secure test materials. Therefore, you should delegate the responsibility to another qualified colleague. You can serve as a room supervisor or proctor during testing, but you should not be in the same room as the student related to you. A DAC with a relative testing in the state would still be able to fulfill their duties, as long as: (1) the DAC does not assist a school test coordinator with handling secure test materials and (2) the DAC is not in the same room where their relative is testing

Q. Where can I find the most recent Aspire manuals?

A. You can find the manuals and checklists in the ACT ASPIRE AVOCET Wisconsin webpage

Q. Where can I find the ACT Wisconsin website?

A. The ACT Wisconsin State web page.

Q. How can I sign up for DPI’s ACT biweekly mail 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 Student Assessment. Information about ACT Aspire Early High School, the ACT with writing and ACT WorkKeys 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 web page.

Q. Can my school use the emergency ACT/ACT WorkKeys test date if a student misses the makeup test date?

A. The emergency test date is for specific circumstances where students were not able to test on the initial or makeup test dates due to weather emergency or spring break conflicts. Testing on the emergency date requires DPI approval.

Q. What is the ACT off-site testing request process?

A. For 2017 spring testing, there is not an off-site testing request process. Test Coordinators need to ensure that the off-site locations chosen for testing meets ACT’s facility requirements. Please refer to the ACT Test Administration Manual for the requirements details. In addition, test coordinators will complete a “Test Room Report” to indicate the off-site location of testing. This form is included with the other test administration forms that testing staff need to complete and return to ACT.

Q. Are students’ WorkKeys scores shared with employers?

A. No. An individual student’s WorkKeys results are provided to the student, the student’s school district, and the Department of Public Instruction. School districts and the DPI are bound by state and federal student privacy laws to keep all personally identifiable student information confidential. Results cannot be purchased by outside companies, and no other entities can have access to a student’s results without the student taking specific action to share the WorkKeys results

Q. How can a student share their WorkKeys results with potential employers

A. Students can log in to MyWorkKeys.com using the username and password provided by ACT and then share their certificate with others if they so choose. Here is a brochure that talks about how students who take the WorkKeys can make their score available to employers. Students can also include information about their WorkKeys National Career Readiness Certificate on their resume or job applications.

Q. Can 9th and 10th graders take ACT Aspire in the same room?

A. Yes. All students taking the Early High School Aspire can test in the same room as long as they are testing on the same subject. The Aspire Early High School test is the same test given to both 9th and 10th graders. The Aspire exam is used to assess growth from 9th to 10th grade. There are different norms for the two grades; a 10th grader would have to receive a higher score to receive the same scale score as a 9th grader for the same subject.

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WISEdata​

 

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 Student Assessment will populate testing portals based on information submitted through WISEdata. Watch the DAC Digest for specific dates when OSA will pull data to populate the testing portals.

Q. What is the difference between ACT graduates and ACT statewide data?

A. ACT produces profile reports for Wisconsin schools and districts for two different data sets. You can find results on both of these data sets in WISEdash for districts.

  • ACT Graduating Class data includes the most recent ACT score for each high school graduate. ACT released national results for 2017 graduates data in a press release on September 7, 2017. Schools and districts may share 2017 graduating class data with the public.
  • ACT Statewide Testing data includes only the test score for each student who took the test as a grade 11 student during the statewide administration in Feb/Mar 2017. These are the data that are used for accountability and to create report cards. 2017 statewide testing data is under embargo by DPI until September 27, 2017.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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For questions about this information, contact osamail@dpi.wi.gov