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Forward Exam FAQ

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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. I have completed all testing in my school/district and a new student moves in. Do I have to test this student?

A. Yes, you are required to test or complete the testing of any student who enrolls in your school/district during the testing window, provided the student has not already completed testing elsewhere.

Q. Do students in my district under the school open-enrollment program count in my enrollment and need to be assessed?

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. Do I need to test English language learners (ELLs) who are new to country?

A. Yes, all students enrolled at the time of testing must be assessed. English language learners (ELLs) with limited English proficiency (ACCESS level 1 or 2) who are new to country (less than 12 calendar months) are permitted a one-time exemption from the English language arts (ELA) portion of the Forward Exam. If the student does not participate in the ELA assessment, he or she must participate in ACCESS for ELLs®. If a student arrives after the ACCESS for ELLs® assessment window and does not have an opportunity to take that test, but is exempt from the ELA assessment, he or she will be removed from test participation calculations. Recently arrived students must also 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. Results for students who are FAY in the district but not a specific school are included in district report cards.

Students new to country who are exempt from the ELA assessment must have a not-tested code entered in eDIRECT for ELA. If a student who is exempt from the ELA assessment took part or all of the ELA test please contact DPI for further guidance.

Q. Am I 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. The student can be tested via a district owned laptop with the secure browser downloaded, in a secure setting with an internet connection by a trained proctor. If the student is not tested, the student counts as a non-test participant for accountability purposes and needs to have a not-tested code entered in eDIRECT.

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. The student can be tested via a district owned laptop with the secure browser downloaded, in a secure setting with an internet connection by a trained proctor. 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.

Each of these situations is unique. Educators should use their professional judgment about when it is appropriate to test a student. Keep in mind that children might wish to be included in everything their peers are doing. Not-tested students count as non-participants for accountability purposes and needs to have a not-tested code entered in eDIRECT.

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

A. A significant medical emergency is a significant health impairment that renders the student incapable of participating in any academic activities, including state assessments, for the entire testing window. Districts should maintain documentation of the circumstance within their district (please see Medical Exemption Guidance/Form). The student will be excluded from test participation and achievement-based accountability calculations. You must enter a not-tested code of "Significant medical emergency" for the student in eDIRECT.

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

A. Use your professional 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 and needs to have a not-tested code entered in eDIRECT.

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. The student can be tested via a district owned laptop with the secure browser downloaded, in a secure setting with an internet connection by a trained proctor. If the student is not tested, the student counts as a non-test participant for accountability purposes and needs to have a not-tested code entered in eDIRECT.

Q. How do I let eDIRECT know a student is taking the DLM assessment instead of the Forward Exam?

A. Enter the not-tested code of "Alternate Assessment" in eDIRECT, which will indicate that the student took DLM instead of the Forward Exam.

Q. Who is responsible for testing students attending a Virtual School?

A. Virtual schools are responsible for ensuring all students enrolled in their school in grades 3-8 and 10 take the Forward Exam. Virtual schools are responsible for setting up physical testing arrangements for their students. This may be done in the district that is responsible for the virtual school, or with district staff at other arranged sites, in a public/private building in a secure setting. Virtual school students should be tested on a district owned device with the secure browser downloaded, in a secure setting with an internet connection by a trained proctor. Districts are not responsible for testing virtual school students who live in their attendance area but attend a virtual school in another district.

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 (voucher) program are required to administer the same statewide assessments as public schools. Private schools not participating in the choice program have the opportunity to purchase the Forward Exam directly from DRC. For additional information see 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 Forward Exam, 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, 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 determinations. You must enter a non-participation code of "Parent opt-out" for the student in eDIRECT.

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. 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. Can a parent/guardian opt a student out of just one portion of the test?

A. No, a parent opt-out applies to the entire Forward exam. Even if a student has completed a portion of the exam or has completed testing, a parent opt-out will override that student’s score.

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

A. Yes. You must test all enrolled students in grades 3-8 and 10 with the Forward Exam. If the student is not a full academic year (FAY) student, the student counts in accountability determination only in test participation calculations and is not included in English language arts or mathematics proficiency rate calculations.

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

A. The Forward Exam cannot be administered out of state. If the student is still enrolled in the district/school, the student counts as a non-test-participant for accountability purposes. You must enter a not-tested code of "Absent for entire testing window" for the student in eDIRECT.

NOTE: A virtual school student living in another state but attending a Wisconsin Virtual School, must attend a location in Wisconsin arranged by the virtual school to take the Forward Exam.

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 your count of students enrolled in the district if the placement is out-of-state.

Q. Who is responsible for testing students who are placed in 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’s responsibility to test the student. The district should work with the facility to complete testing; however, it is not the facility’s responsibility to test the student. This student will be tested on a district-owned device with the secure browser downloaded, by a trained proctor, in a secure setting with an internet connection. If the student is not tested by the district, the student counts as a non-test participant for accountability.

Q. Who is responsible for 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 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 the district and the district manages the student’s IEP, it is the district’s responsibility to test the student. The district should work with the RCC to complete testing; however, it is not the facility’s responsibility to test the student. This student will be tested on a district owned device with the secure browser downloaded, in a secure setting with an internet connection by a trained proctor. If the student is not tested by the district, the student counts as a non-test participant for accountability purposes and needs to have a not-tested code entered in eDIRECT.

NOTE: The district holding the IEP is usually the district of accountability, regardless of which district is providing educational services and 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. How, specifically, is full academic year (FAY) calculated? A uniform and consistent definition is critical.

A. FAY is based on the following: For spring testing, 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.


Data:

 

Q. What do I do if a student is new to our school/district and does not have any information in eDIRECT?

A. You need to acquire a WISEid for the student, then the District/School Assessment Coordinator may "add the student" (enter the student information) into eDIRECT. Directions for adding a student to eDIRECT are available in the Managing Students and Testing in eDIRECT Guide.

Q. Can staff data be uploaded into the system all at once?

A. Yes, there is a multiple user upload option. Directions are available in the Managing Users in eDIRECT Guide.

Q. Is there a way districts can export student demographic data in the proper format for upload into eDIRECT?

A. DPI provides DRC with an initial student level data file extracted from WISEdata, approximately 8 weeks prior to the opening of the test window. DRC uploads this information to eDIRECT and provides district-level data files for districts to download and check for accuracy. This data file can be edited by districts, and then uploaded back into eDIRECT. Additionally, there will be a Multiple Student Upload (MSU) file layout and sample file that may be used by districts to enter their data into and perform an upload of students and student information into eDIRECT. Directions for using a MSU file to upload data to eDIRECT are available in the Managing Students and Testing in eDIRECT Guide.

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

A. WISEdata should be kept up-to-date throughout the school year via your Student information System (SIS). 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.

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Designated Supports and Accommodations (Accessibility Features):

 

Q. Where can I find a list of allowable accommodations for the Forward Exam?

A. Allowable accommodations and supports can be found in the Accessibility Guide Available on the Forward Exam Accommodations and Supports webpage.

Q. Can a student use personal amplification or hearing assistive technology?

A. Yes, students may use hearing assistive technology (HAT), or FM (frequency modulation) systems Additional information about this is available in the Accessibility Guide.

Q. When do student designated supports and accommodations need to be entered into eDIRECT?

A. Any designated support or accommodation can be entered any time before test tickets are printed.

Q. How do I enter student accessibility features (accommodations/supports) into eDIRECT?

A. Accommodations and supports are entered in to eDIRECT by selecting checkboxes. Accessibility features can be entered by individual student or in groups of students who have the same accessibility feature.

Q. What setting needs to be changed in eDIRECT for students who do not need any designated supports or accommodations?

A. If a student does not require any designated support or accommodations, nothing needs to be modified in eDIRECT.

Q. When is use of the scribe accommodation appropriate?

A. A scribe is an adult who enters into the computer what a student dictates via speech, American Sign Language, or an assistive communication device. The guiding principle in scribing is to ensure that the student has access to and is able to respond to test content.

Scribes are allowable on the Forward Exam as a documented accommodation for ELA writing, and as a designated support for mathematics, science, social studies, and ELA non-writing items. Scribing Guidelines are available in the Forward Exam Accommodations and Supports webpage.

Q. Is it permissible to give all students the text-to-speech (TTS) option?

A. No, text-to-speech (TTS) is not a universal tool and is not to be used by all students. TTS, as a designated support, is for students who are struggling readers who may need assistance accessing the assessment, or for students with reading-related disabilities. Students who are newly blind and do not yet have adequate braille skills may use the TTS accommodation.

Q. When is it appropriate to use the Text-to-Speech/Read Aloud Accommodation?

A. The TTS/read aloud accommodation allows the student to listen to ELA test information displayed on the screen, including test directions, questions, answer choices, and ELA reading passages. Beginning with the 2017-18 Administration this accommodation may only be provided to a student with visual impairments who is not proficient in contracted Braille, whose need is documented in an IEP or 504 plan, and has met all five criteria on the Guidelines for Administration of the TTS/Read Aloud Accommodation for the Forward Exam form. The Guidelines for Administration of the TTS/Read Aloud Accommodation for the Forward Exam form and more information is available in the 2017-18 Accessibility Guide, available on the Forward Exam Accommodations and Supports webpage.

Students who do not meet this criteria, but require TTS or read aloud, should use the TTS/Read Aloud Designated Support, including those with IEP or 504 plans. TTS/read aloud designated support allows the student to listen to test information displayed on the screen, including test directions, questions, and answer choices for all content areas (just not the ELA session 4 reading passages).

Q. What is the difference between the Text-to-Speech(TTS)/Read Aloud Designated Support and the Text-to-Speech(TTS)/Read Aloud Accommodation?

A. Both the TTS Read Aloud Designated Support and Accommodation allows the student to listen to test information displayed on the screen, including test directions, questions, and answer choices. The difference between the two is:

TTS/Read Aloud Designated Support
- available for all content areas
- will not read the reading passages in ELA session 4
- may be provided to any student with a documented need including those with and IEP or 504 plan.
TTS/Read Aloud Accommodation
- only available for ELA
- in addition to reading all directions, questions and answer choices, it will allow the reading of the reading passages in ELA session 4
- may only be provided to a student with visual impairments who is not proficient in contracted Braille, whose need is documented in an IEP or 504 plan, and has met all five criteria on the Guidelines for Administration of the TTS/Read Aloud Accommodation for the Forward Exam form

 

 
Q. Will test evaluation be different if designated supports are used?

A. Scoring will be the same for all students, including those using universal tools, designated supports, and/or accommodations outlined in the Accessibility Guide.

Q. How do I administer the Forward Exam if a student cannot access the exam online due to a medical condition?

A. In extremely rare circumstances, when a student has a medical condition that allows them no screen time at all (i.e. photosensitive epilepsy) and an IEP or 504 plan, the DAC may put in a request for a Print-on-Demand Version of the Forward Exam that will need to be approved by DPI.

Q. What is the Print-on-Demand process?

A. The Print-on-Demand (POD) feature is for extremely rare instances (e.g. photosensitive epilepsy) where a student’s condition prevents him or her from accessing material online. All other students should access the assessment in the online format. The decision to allow this accommodation must be based on each individual student’s need and documented in a student’s IEP or 504 plan.

A request for the POD accommodation must be completed and submitted to DPI. This request must be approved by DPI prior to use during the Forward Exam. DPI staff will review the request and if approved, activate the accommodation. See the Test Administration Manual for information about how to administer the POD accommodation.

Q. Are there any restrictions for the use of a multiplication table?

A. A paper-based single digit (1-9) multiplication table will be available for reference as a non-embedded accommodation for students in grades 4-8 with a documented and persistent calculation disability (i.e. dyscalculia) who have an IEP or 504 plan. It is not available for students in grade 3 as computation is strongly assessed at this grade level and therefore would affect test validity.

Q. How do I order the braille version of the Forward Exam?

A. “Braille” must be selected as an accommodation in eDIRECT for the student and a braille version of the test must be ordered via the “additional materials” tab in eDIRECT. The window to order braille materials begins December 20, 2017.

Q. How do I access a large print version of the Forward Exam?

A. There is no "large print" version of the Forward Exam. The test has a magnifier function that allows viewers to magnify the screen 1.5 or 2.0 times. Additionally, the test expands to fill a monitor, so using a larger monitor would result in a larger print.

Q. Where do I find the different Accommodation Request Forms?

A. Forms are available from the Forward Exam Accommodations and Supports webpage and the Assessment Forms webpage.

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DRC Portal/eDIRECT

 

Q. What is eDIRECT?

A. eDIRECT is the DRC portal that is the interface to the administrative functions of the online testing system for the Forward Exam. As the primary repository of student, site, and testing data associated with the Forward exam, users can manage student data, test sessions, print test tickets, assign accommodations and supports, and monitor testing progress. eDIRECT also provides access to crucial documentation, software downloads and the Central Office - Device Toolkit interface.

Q. How do I get access to the portal?

A. If you are a new DAC and need access to the eDIRECT portal contact the DRC HelpDesk or one of the DPI Forward contacts. If you are school or district staff, contact your District/School Assessment Coordinator about access.

Alison O'Hara
Forward Exam Program Manager
(608) 266-5182
Jennifer Teasdale
Education Program Specialist
(608) 266-5193
Duane Dorn
Choice Program Consultant
(608)-267-1069

 

Q. How many different roles are there in eDIRECT and who will need to be added as a user in eDIRECT?
A. There are eight preset user roles in eDIRECT:
- District Assessment Coordinators (DACs) - set up by DPI
- Assistant District Assessment Coordinators – set up by DAC
- District Technology Coordinators (DTC) – set up by DAC
- District Report User – set up by DAC
- School Assessment Coordinator (SAC) - set up by DAC
- School Technology Coordinators (STC) – set up by DAC or SAC

- Test Administrator/Proctors (TA) –set up by DAC or SAC (if district decides to give TAs access to eDIRECT. TAs do not need access to eDIRECT in order to administer the exam.

Q. Can you have more than one person serve in the same role at a school or district?

A. For security purposes, there may only be one DAC in a district. There is a role available for an Assistant District Assessment Coordinator to allow district-wide assessment related administrative tasks to be shared by more than one person. However, this role should be used sparingly for security reasons. For all other roles there can be more than one person assuming the same role. For example, schools will have multiple people in a TA role.

Q. Are there different codes in eDIRECT for different roles in eDIRECT?

A. No. You will choose the role from a drop-down menu to assign the permissions related to that role.

Q. Where can I find information about each role and the permission associated with it?

A. There is a User Roles and Permissions Matrix in the Managing Users in eDIRECT Guide and in the Managing Students and Testing in eDIRECT Guide available on the Forward Exam Resources webpage.

Q. How do I code a student in eDIRECT if a parent/guardian has opted-out that student out from participating in the Forward Exam?

A. The not-tested code of "parent opt-out" must be selected in eDIRECT for that student. The student will count as not tested for accountability purposes.

Q. How do I code a student in eDIRECT who is new to country and is not taking the ELA section of the Forward Exam?

A. Select the not-tested code of "Recently arrived ELL" for the student in eDIRECT. This will designate the student as a non-test-participant for the one-time exemption of the ELA section of the Forward Exam while still allowing them to participate in the required Mathematics, Science, and Social Studies sessions. If a student who is exempt from the ELA assessment took part or all of the ELA test please contact DPI for further guidance.

Q. If a new student moves into a district after the district has completed testing, can the student still be tested?

A. Yes. As long as the Forward Exam testing window is still open the district/school is responsible for testing the student.


English Learners (EL)

 

Q. What are the approved accommodations we can use for EL students on the Forward Exam?

A. See the Accessibility Guide.

Q. What supports are available to ELs on the Forward Exam?

A. See the Accessibility Guide.

Q. What read aloud options are available to ELs on the Forward Exam?

A. See the Accessibility Guide.

Q. What language translation options are available for ELs?

A. A Spanish stacked translation is available for students as an embedded designated support. For El students whose native language is not Spanish, a translator/Interpreter or small group translation are allowed as designated supports. See the Accessibility Guide for more information about the Spanish stacked translation.

Q. Are word-to-word bilingual dictionaries allowed for EL students?

A. Word-to-word bilingual dictionaries are allowed as a locally provided designated support to El students for the mathematics, science and social studies assessments. Word-to-word bilingual dictionaries are not allowed for the Forward ELA assessment. A list of DPI-approved word-to-word bilingual dictionaries is available as a link on the Forward Exam Accommodations and Supports webpage.

Q. What content areas within the Forward Exam are ELs required to take?

A. ELs are required to take all of the same content area assessments as all other students, dependent on grade level. They may be eligible for linguistic supports during the assessment with the exception of the ELA test.

Q. Do I need to test ELs who are new to country?

A. Yes, all students enrolled at the time of testing must be assessed. English language learners (ELLs) with limited English proficiency (ACCESS level 1 or 2) who are new to country (less than 12 calendar months) are permitted a one-time exemption from the English language arts (ELA) portion of the Forward Exam. If the student does not participate in the ELA assessment, he or she must participate in ACCESS for ELLs®. If a student arrives after the ACCESS for ELLs® assessment window and does not have an opportunity to take that test, but is exempt from the ELA assessment, he or she will be removed from test participation calculations. Recently arrived students must also 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. Results for students who are FAY in the district but not a specific school are included in district report cards.

Students new to country who are exempt from the ELA assessment must have a not-tested code entered in eDIRECT for ELA. If a student who is exempt from the ELA assessment took part or all of the ELA test please contact DPI for further guidance.

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Grade Classification:

 

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

A. If you have a student who is in the wrong grade in the eDIRECT portal, remove the student from all test sessions, switch the grade, and then place the student in a test session for the new grade. Please remember to ensure the student’s record is updated in your local student information system (SIS) so the correct information is transmitted to DPI through WISEdata.

Q. Must students be tested on grade level?

A. Students must be tested at the grade level at which they are enrolled.

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Hardware

 

Q. Are keyboards required for use with iPads and tablets?

A. Yes, an external keyboard is required. This is to ensure the test content has enough space to display correctly on the device screen.

Q. Is there a keyboarding requirement on the ELA portion of the Forward Exam that requires a student to type a response?

A. Yes. The Text Dependent Analysis is a long write item where students are asked to type a response of up to 5000 characters.

Q. Are earphones/headphones required?

A. Yes. The ELA portion of the Forward Exam includes a listening component which will require headphones for all students. Any student requiring the Text-to-Speech (TTS) support will also require headphones for other content areas and sessions.

Q. Is there a preference between USB or 3.5 millimeter stereo jack headphones?

A. No.

Q. Can schools use multiple options or combinations of devices for testing such as Chromebooks and traditional computers?

A. Yes, a school can use any combination of devices for testing as long as those devices are supported by the DRC INSIGHT system. Please refer to the Technology Requirements webpage for a link to the list of supported devices.

 

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Local Content Hosting (Central Office Services or TSM)

 

Q. What is Central Office Services?

A. Central Office Service device (COS) software is new content caching software that replaces the legacy Testing Site Manager (TSM). COS functions as local content hosting services that download all testing content to the local network and then serve up that test content to student testing devices configured to request test content from those devices. COS has some new functionality that make it easier to take advantage of new configuration, monitoring and management features of the Central Office Services – Device Toolkit. Content caching is required for all tests with TTS (Text to Speech) or VSL (Video presentation of American Sign Language content).

Q. What is a Testing Site Manager (TSM)?

A. The TSM functions as local content hosting services that download all testing content to the local network and then serve up that test content to student testing devices configured to request test content from those devices. TSM can also serve as an optional response caching server by providing backup storage for student responses in the event of a failure to send a response to DRC servers due to an internet outage or slow down. Content caching is required for all tests with TTS (Text to Speech) or VSL (Video presentation of American Sign Language content).

Q. How does Central Office Services (COS) relate to the Testing Site Manager (TSM)?

A. For Wisconsin Forward testing in spring 2018, users can choose to use COS, TSM, or both as local content caching solutions, depending on their local needs and resources. Both COS and TSM function as local content hosting services that download all testing content to the local network and then serve up that test content to student testing devices configured to request test content from those devices. COS has some new functionality that make it easier to take advantage of new configuration, monitoring and management features of the Central Office Services – Device Toolkit. Content caching (either COS or TSM) is required for all tests with TTS (Text to Speech) or VSL (Video presentation of American Sign Language content). It is strongly recommended that all devices are connected to a TSM. Response caching is optional for the Forward Exam.

Q. When it is recommended to use local content caching?

A. Any test that includes media such as TTS (Text to Speech) or VSL (Video presentation of American Sign Language) is required by the INSIGHT app to connect to a local content source (COS or TSM). While student tests without TTS or VSL are not required to do so, it is strongly recommended that all devices are configured to source their test content from a locally installed content host (either a COS device or TSM).

Q. When will the COS (Central Office Services) software be available for download?

A. January 17, 2018

Q. When will the TSM (Testing Site Manager) software be available for download?

A. January 17, 2018

Q. What is involved with COS setup?

A. For current hardware recommendations, see DRC INSIGHT System Requirements. For setup instructions see the Technology Users Guide. Both available on the Forward Exam Technology Requirements webpage.

Q. What is involved with the TSM setup?

A. For current hardware recommendations, see DRC INSIGHT System Requirements. For setup instructions see the Technology Users Guide. Both available on the Forward Exam Technology Requirements webpage.

Q. Does the local content hosting device (COS or TSM) need to be installed on every subnet or it could be installed centrally and distributed across the LAN?

A. As long as all student testing devices can communicate with the COS/TSM host machine, both options are possible with both COS and TSM software. In general, COS features make a centralized architecture simpler to set up and easier to maintain. The best setup depends on the individual networking conditions, technology staff resources and hardware management in place at the district and/or school. More detailed information is available in the Technology User Guide.

Q. Can the caching server be on a separate VLAN?

A. Yes, as long as the VLAN is configured so that the TSM Server address is accessible to all devices configured to connect to it.

Q. Do both COS and the TSM support virtualization and does it run as a service?

A. Yes, both COS and TSM work very well on virtual host machines. COS software runs as four separate Node.js services and the TSM runs as a single Apache Tomcat service.

Q. Can we put our local content hosting software on the same machine as the ACT Aspire caching machine?

A. Both COS and the TSM will work if installed on the same machine as another caching service. Beware, however, that the machine resources (CPU capacity and RAM) used up by one caching service will be additionally strained by adding another active caching service like the COS.

If using the TSM as your content hosting service, you CANNOT install a Forward TSM on the same machine that already has an ACCESS for ELLs TSM installed. This is not a matter of system resources but rather that the two TSMs need to use the same dedicated port (8080) for communications with the TSM webpage. You must install the Forward TSM on a separate machine (physical or virtual).

Q. Will schools need to uninstall the ACT Aspire Secure Browser?

A. No

Q. In the event of a catastrophic failure, a power outage, or Wi-Fi outage will responses be cached?

A. INSIGHT saves all responses with each navigation and on a 45-second heartbeat as long as the connection to the DRC system remains available. If the connection to DRC is lost (e.g. network outage) while the connection to a TSM configured for response caching is maintained, an active test session can continue and all response data is saved to the TSM for the remainder of that login session. If, however, a connection is lost between the testing computer and the TSM (e.g. a Wi-Fi outage), or if the testing device is not configured for response caching on a TSM, when the connection is lost, the student is forced by the system to exit the test until a connection to the DRC system can be re-established. All responses saved prior to the outage are restored when the student logs back into the test.

Q. How many testing sessions will the local content hosting software (COS or TSM) support concurrently (recommended device to server ratio)? Can it be used district wide?
A. The new Central Office Services – Device Toolkit now supports both district- and school-level configurations. Any client devices that have network access to the configured local content hosting device (COS or TSM) can be included in that configuration.
COS software can support up to 950 concurrent users per server.
The 32-bit TSM can support up to 150 concurrent client devices.

The 64-bit TSM can support up to 500 concurrent devices.

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Manuals and Guides:

 

Q. How can I access the Forward Exam manuals and guidance documents?

A. All Forward Exam test guides and manuals will be available online only. Schools and Districts only need to print what they need. The publications can be used as electronic documents, if that is the school/district decision.

Q. Where can I find the Test Administration Manual (TAM) for the Forward Exam?

A. The TAM is available on the Forward Exam Resources webpage.

Q. Where can I find the Accessibility Guide for the Forward Exam?

A. The Accessibility Guide is available on the Forward Exam Accommodations and Supports webpage.

Q. Where can I find information about adding users to the eDIRECT portal?

A. The Managing Users in eDIRECT Guide is available on the Forward Exam Resources webpage.

Q. Where can I find information about editing student demographics and accessibility features in the eDIRECT portal?

A. The Managing Students and Testing in eDIRECT Guide is available on the Forward Exam Resources webpage.

Q. Where can I find Not-Tested Code information?

A. The Managing Students and Testing in eDIRECT Guide is available on the Forward Exam Resources webpage. There is also information in the DAC Guide also available on the resources webpage.

Q. Where can I find information about how to use the Multiple Student Upload (MSU) File?

A. The Managing Students and Testing in eDIRECT Guide is available on the Forward Exam Resources webpage

 

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Practice Tests

 

Q. Are there any practice tests available for the Forward Exam?

A. The Item Samplers and the Online Tools Training are available for practice.

The Item Samplers are designed to familiarize students, teachers, administrators, and other interested parties with the kind of content that is tested on the Forward Exam. It includes examples of each item type and a representative sample of items aligned to the Wisconsin Academic Standards. Also available are Text Dependent Analysis Item Samplers.

Online Tools Training is designed to familiarize students with the tools, item types, embedded accessibility features, and other functionality of the testing system used for the Forward Exam.

Q. How much time should I spend preparing my students for the Forward Exam?

A. Test preparation is only useful to the extent that it is also teaching content area knowledge and skills. Therefore, the use of test preparation resources is of limited value to students due to the narrow opportunity for content learning. While it is important that students have an opportunity to become familiar with the format of the test and with the types of questions they will be required to answer, it is more important to ensure that teachers are teaching to the curriculum and not to the test, as teaching to the test narrows the focus of instruction to only that content covered by the test.

Q. What are the Item Samplers?
A. The Forward Exam Item Samplers contain samples of stimuli and test items similar to those on the Forward Exam. The items illustrate a sample of the content and types of items that students will encounter on the Forward Exam. A summary data table for each grade and content area identifies the alignment (standard measured), answer key, depth of knowledge, and annotations for each item. The Item Samplers are available at each grade level and content area in both PDF and online versions. The online version uses the same format and tools that students will see during the actual Forward Exam.
 
The Forward Exam Item Samplers are publicly available. The online versions can be accessed by anyone (e.g., student, parent, educator, community member) using a Chrome browser or using the INSIGHT app. The online versions may be accessed (taken/viewed) as many times as needed. The PDF versions are available to view or download from the Item Samplers link on the Forward Exam Practice Test Webpage.
 
The Item Samplers are not scored and the online versions do not save responses. Answer keys are available by clicking the “click to enlarge” button within each item of the online version or in an appendix of the PDF version.

Note: A student’s performance on the practice test cannot be converted to a scale score, used to predict performance on the Forward Exam, or used to make inferences about the student’s learning.

Q. How do I access the Item Samplers?
A. The Item Samplers are accessible in two ways:
- publicly accessible online via a Chrome browser or as pdfs on the Forward Exam Practice Test webpage

- via the INSIGHT app.

Q. Do students need to be uploaded into the testing portal before they can use the Item Samplers?

A. No. No student information needs to be uploaded in order for students to take the Item Samplers. There is a generic password available to everyone when logging in to use the Item Samplers.

Q. Do the Item Samplers reflect the actual length of the Forward Exam?

A. No, the Item Samplers are much shorter than the Forward Exam. The purpose of the Item Sampler is to illustrate a sample of the content and types of items that students will encounter on the Forward Exam.

Q. Do the Item Samplers yield scores?

A. No, the Item Samplers are not scored. The purpose of the Item Sampler is to illustrate a sample of the content and types of items that students will encounter on the Forward Exam.

Q. When will the Item Samplers be available and how long will they remain available?

A. The Item Samplers will be available in Mid-December 2017 and remain available through the end of the testing window.

Q. Can the Item Samplers be used with Internet Explorer?

A. No, Internet Explorer is not compatible with the Item Samplers. The Item Samplers should only be viewed in a Chrome browser or in the installed INSIGHT app (secure testing browser).

Q. What is the Text Dependent Analysis (TDA) Item Sampler?
A. The TDA Item Samplers are grade band documents that contain samples of TDA test questions, stimulus passages, and student responses. The TDA portion of the Forward Exam requires students to read the text (passage or passages) and then respond in writing to a prompt in one of several ways:
- identifying and explaining a theme or central idea, using textual evidence to support the claim about what that theme or central idea is,

- analyzing the development of an event, character, central ideas, or theme, using textual evidence to support the explanation and analysis.

Q. How do I access the TDA Item Samplers?

A. The TDA Item Samplers are publicly accessible on the Forward Exam Practice Test webpage.

Q. What is the Online Tools Training (OTT)?

A. The Online Tools Training (OTTs) provides students the opportunity to interact and become familiar with the testing system. Students practice using the tools available on the Forward Exam and familiarize themselves with the question types and how to maneuver in the system. All students should be given the opportunity to practice in the OTT prior to actual testing. Students may perform better and with less anxiety if they are familiar with the format of the test and with the types of questions they will be required to answer. The OTT is not scored and is not intended for content practice.

Q. How do I access the OTT?
A. The OTT is accessible in two ways:
- publicly accessible via a Chrome browser on the Forward Exam Practice Test webpage

- via the INSIGHT app.

Q. When will the OTT be available and how long will it remain available?

A. The OTT, which allow students to practice navigating the test and using the online tools, will be available starting February 12, 2018, and remain available through the end of the testing window.

Q. What is the difference between the OTT and the Student Tutorials?

A. The Student Tutorials are short videos intended for students to watch before taking the OTT, that instruct the students on how to navigate the testing system and use the tools provided, including logging in and submitting the test. The OTT is the training tool that allows students to practice what they have learned in the student tutorials.

Q. Does the OTT reflect the actual length of the Forward Exam?

A. No, the OTT is much shorter than the Forward Exam. The purpose of the OTT is to familiarize students with the test engine and available tools.

Q. Will Mac-based schools be able to use the OTT?

A. Yes. The OTT is available via a public link (available on the Forward Exam Practice Test/OTT webpage) through a Chrome browser, or the installed INSIGHT app (secure testing browser).

Q. Can Internet Explorer be used with the OTT?

A. No, Internet Explorer is not compatible with the OTT. The OTT should only be viewed in Chrome browser or in the installed INSIGHT app (secure testing browser).

Q. Can the OTT be used to help test the network and the content online, etc?

A. No. The OTT with TTS audio can be used to test TSM connections to student INSIGHT apps. There is also a Load Simulation Test that can be performed if TSM software is installed.

Q. Does the OTT yield scores?

A. No, the OTT is not scored. The purpose of the OTT is to allow students to practice navigating through the online test engine and use the various tools that will be available during testing.

Q. Do students need to be uploaded into the testing portal before they can use the OTT?

A. No. No student information needs to be uploaded in order for students to take the OTT. There is a generic password available to everyone when logging in to use the OTT.

Q. Are student users required to log in to take the Forward Exam OTT?

A. Yes, but logins are generic and available to everyone taking the OTT on the login screen.

Q. How long does the OTT take to complete?

A. It is recommended to allow at least one 45 – 60 minute session for the OTT. This will allow most students plenty of time to practice with the online tools and item types.

Q. Are the OTT and Forward Exam similar in bandwidth requirements?

A. With the exception of length (Forward Exam is longer than the OTT) both are very similar in terms of bandwidth requirements for concurrent test sessions. Note: adding media accommodations, such as Text to Speech, similarly increases bandwidth requirements for both the OTT and Forward Exams.

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Scoring and Reporting

 

Q. Will constructed responses be scored by hand or electronically?

A. Electronically

Q. Will schools/districts receive data disks after the test?

A. Student results will be available to schools and districts through eDIRECT approximately 7 weeks after the test window closes. School and district level data files can be downloaded in Excel or CSV format. Individual student reports (ISRs) are available in eDIRECT as pdf files. In addition, hard copies of the ISRs will be shipped to districts.

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Secure Browser (INSIGHT)

 

Q. When will the secure browser (INSIGHT) be available?

A. January 17, 2018

Q. Will the secure browser be available as an .msi extension to be able to push out via Microsoft SCCM for ease of deployment? What ways will it be able to remotely push to Windows clients?

A. Yes, the Windows secure browser (INSIGHT) is built with an .msi installer file extension. The Technology User Guide includes detailed instructions for installing the secure browser silently via the command line on both Windows and MacOS devices.

Q. Do Java and Flash versions have to be updated in order to work with the secure browser?

A. No, the secure browser (INSIGHT) has no external dependencies.

Q. Will schools need to uninstall the ACT Aspire Secure Browser?

A. No.

Q. Will the Chromebooks App be updated to work with newer versions of Chrome OS by the time of the test?
A. Yes, the INSIGHT Chromebook App will support the most current version of the ChromeOS stable channel.
 
Q. How do you “lock down” an iPad or tablet?

A. An iPad automatically allows the INSIGHT app to set the device into Single App Mode and to release the device when the student logs out of the test.

Q. What is the name of the Chromebook secure browser that's going to be in the Google Store?

A. The app is called DRC INSIGHT Online Assessments. This Chromebook application is distributed to all devices under management via the Google Admin console using an App ID provided in the eDIRECT portal and does not need to be procured directly from the Google App store.

Q. Are there step-by-step notes for using managed Chromebooks?

A. Yes, this information is covered in the Technology User Guide. Additionally related information is covered in the Forward Exam Technology Trainings. These training sessions were recorded and are available to those who were unable to attend in person and as a refresher to those in attendance. See the Forward Exam Technology Requirements webpage.

Q. Chromebooks automatic updates have caused issues with other assessments. Are Chromebook updates going to affect the Forward Exam?

A. ChromeOS updates are not optional since they are pushed automatically by Google to all managed devices according to their settings in the Google Admin Console. DRC mitigates the impact of these updates by running a sophisticated suite of automated tests against releases in the ChromeOS beta and development channels. This allows the entire INSIGHT system (including the Chromebook App) to make any needed adjustments to accommodate changes in Chrome and ChromeOS well before those are released on the stable channel.

Q. Does the Chromebook app need to be run in Kiosk mode?

A. The INSIGHT Chromebook app runs in single app kiosk mode only and is not part of a user-based Chromebook profile. While the INSIGHT app is active, no other Chromebook apps are accessible to the user. Once the user exits the app, they are able to sign in to the Chromebook to use other applications on the Chromebook.

 

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Student Transfers:

 

Q. How do I transfer a student to another school within my district?
A. There are two options DACs choose from to transfer students between districts:
1. Using the Multiple Student Upload (MSU) file beginning March 12, 2018
2. On a student-by-student basis beginning March 12, 2018

Directions for transferring student are available in the Managing Students and Testing in eDIRECT Guide.

Q. How do I transfer a student from my school to a school in a different district?

A. You may not transfer a student in eDIRECT to another district. The district receiving the student must request a transfer of the student via eDIRECT. If a student left your district, keep the student enrolled in test sessions and apply the not-tested-code (NTC) of "NLE" (No Longer Enrolled). You do not need to transfer a student out of your district. Directions for entering a NTC are available in the Managing Students and Testing in eDIRECT Guide.

Q. How do I request a transfer of a student to my district/school from a different district?
A. There are three options DACs may choose from to transfer a student into their district:
1. eDIRECT Student Transfer Request Form
2. The Transfer Request Spreadsheet
3. Contact the Help Desk for assistance with the transfer request/s

Directions for requesting a student transfer are available in the Managing Students and Testing in eDIRECT Guide.

Q. How do I add a student to my district that transfers into the Wisconsin Public School System from out-of-state or a private school?

A. The school district should update their local student information system (SIS) and transmit the data to DPI through WISEdata. The new student will be assigned a WISEid. The student may then be entered into the testing portal by the district. Students that are transferring from a private school that participate in the Choice program should already have a WISEid and be in the eDIRECT portal. Those students should be added to your district via the student transfer process available in the Managing Students and Testing in eDIRECT Guide.

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Technology:

 

Q. Is there a Technology Readiness Checklist for the Forward Exam available online?

A. The Technology Readiness Checklist is available on the technology requirements web page

Additional Technology FAQs

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Test Administration:

 

Q. Is the Forward Exam a timed test?

A. The Forward Exam is not a timed test. Information on test times is available at the Forward Exam resources web page.

Q. Where can I find the spring test administration timing?

A. Test administration timing can be found on the Forward Resources web page. The Forward Exam is an untimed test. The test times provided are average student testing times on the Forward Exam. As these are actual average test times it is important to remember that many students will take more time or less time to complete the test. These times are provided only as a guide to assist with scheduling.

Q. If a student does not finish a session within a content area, may they move on with their class to another session?

A. Yes. A student may exit without submitting their session and come back at a later time to complete that session (does not apply to ELA session 1 TDA which must be completed in one sitting). In the meantime that student may move forward with their class to another session within that same content area or to a session in a different content area.

Q. Who may proctor the Forward Exam?

A. A qualified test administrator/proctor (TA) for the Forward Exam is an employed district staff member (including administrators, teachers, and paraprofessionals) who has been trained in test administration, test security, and appropriate use of test accommodations. This may also include student teachers who normally have responsibility for supervising students. Parent volunteers should not be allowed to proctor the examination. School personnel who are parents or guardians should not be allowed to proctor their own children.

Q. Do the content areas and sessions need to be given in a specific order?

A. The content areas and the sessions within the content areas may be given in any order that works with the school's scheduling.

Q. Do all staff need to sign confidentiality agreements?

A. Yes. All staff involved in the testing process must sign hard copy DPI confidentiality forms. The DAC, SAC, DTC, STC, and TA, District and school staff confidentiality forms are available on the Forward Exam Test Security web page. Any district/school staff who have access to eDIRECT, to the test, or to reports (providing accommodations, setting up tests etc.) must complete and submit the form to their DAC/SAC. This also applies to the CESA staff who have access to any testing materials or data.

Q. Is it true a student must complete the TDA (ELA Session 1 Text Dependent Analysis) in one sitting?

Yes. The estimated time to respond to a TDA is 30 minutes. During an official test administration, students should be given as much additional time as necessary to complete the test question as the Forward Exam is an untimed test. The TDA should be administered first thing in the morning and must be completed in one sitting - for security purposes students are not permitted to go back into the TDA after a break of more than 20 minutes (lunch etc.) or return to it the next day. Students should not be writing the TDA for several hours. The scoring of the TDA allows for the draft and impromptu format of the writing.

Q. If a student does not do well, will they have the opportunity to retake the test?

A. No, there is no opportunity to retake the test.

Q. How do I know when I can allow my student to use calculators on the test?

A. An embedded calculator will be available for the items that allow calculator use.

Q. Will districts be assigned a portion of the testing window? Can districts assign a testing window?

A. There will be no assigned portion of the testing window. Testing may occur at the district’s discretion at any time within the window. There are many factors that influence administration schedules such as the number of devices available, grades to be tested, spring breaks, allowing for make-ups, etc. If it is possible within your district, you can break the window down into specific grade levels or specific schools testing during smaller windows within the eight weeks.

Q. Will TAs need to block the sight line from computer to computer?

A. Students should be seated in a way that does not allow them to view other students’ monitors or they should be provided with table partitions.

Q. How do I know how to schedule the Forward Exam if there are no natural breaking points/timed sessions built into the test?

A. Estimated testing times and sample testing schedules are available on the Forward Exam resources web page.

Q. What size graph paper should be used for the Forward Exam?

A. Graph paper is optional for the Forward Exam. There is no need for a consistent requirement in graph paper size. However, the recommendation is 1/4 inch graph paper. The graph paper should be plain graph paper and must also be free of axis lines, points, numbers, and/or letters. Graph paper is provided for students to create organized sketches of points, lines, and/or shapes to solve problems in grades 6-8.

Q. Can a student use blank scratch paper during the Forward Exam?

A. Yes. Scratch paper may be provided. Please shred the scratch paper immediately after testing each day.

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Test Design:

 

Q. How are reading passages selected and are they grade appropriate?

A. As part of the reading and listening passage development process, a passage’s text complexity is analyzed so that an appropriate grade‑level placement for each passage can be made. Data Recognition Corporation (DRC) uses a process that measures (1) the quantitative evaluation of the text and (2) the qualitative evaluation of the text, which is reported out on a passage placemat. Passages along with their respective placemats may be submitted to DPI during initial passage reviews. In addition, a third component, matching reader/listener to text and task, is also taken into consideration during passage evaluation and teacher committee reviews.

Q. How many questions are on the Forward Exam?
A. 
 
Approximate Number of Items Per Content Area
Grade Level
ELA
Mathematics
Science
Social Studies
3
45
50
NA
NA
4
47
54
50
46
5
49
54
NA
NA
6
45
54
NA
NA
7
47
54
NA
NA
8
48
54
50
48
10
NA
NA
NA
61
Q. What is the breakdown of the number of calculator and non-calculator questions in the mathematics assessment in grades 6-8?
A. 
Grade
Non- Calculator items
Calculator items
6
20
34
7
13
41
8
15
39
Q. Where can I find information about the Forward Exam test validity?

A. The Technical Manual is released and posted annually on the Forward Exam Resources webpage.

Q. Where can I find information about the Forward Exam Standard Setting?

A. Information about the Standard Setting is available on the Forward Exam Resources webpage.

Q. Is there blueprint information available for the Forward Exam?

A. Forward Exam Blueprints are available on the Forward Exam Resources webpage.

Q. Is there test design information available for the Forward Exam?

A. Forward Exam test design information is available on the Forward Exam Resources webpage.

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Test Security:

 

Q. Will all staff need to sign the confidentiality agreements?

A. Yes. All staff involved in the testing process must sign hard copy DPI confidentiality forms. The DAC, SAC, DTC, STC, TA, and District and school staff confidentiality forms are available on the Forward Exam Test Security web page. Any district/school staff who have access to eDIRECT, to the test/test materials/test tickets, or to reports (providing accommodations, setting up tests etc.) must complete and submit the form to their DAC/SAC. This also applies to the CESA staff who have access to any testing materials or data.

Q. Is it required that the Confidentiality Agreement be signed by all teachers who proctor the test?

A. Yes. Anyone who has access to the test should sign the confidentiality agreement. Any district/school staff who have access to the test or to reports (providing accommodations, setting up tests etc.) must sign a hard copy confidentiality form and submit the form to their DAC /SAC.

Q. Are students allowed to review previous years’ tests?

A. No. Students are not allowed to review previous years’ tests. Forward Item Samplers and Online Tools Training are provided for practice purposes.

Q. Who is allowed access to the test before and during testing?

A. No one is allowed to have access to the Forward Exam prior to administration. No one should be viewing the Forward Exam items unless working with a student who has a particular designated support or accommodation which requires it.

NOTE-No one may log into a testing session other than the student for whom it was created. To do so is a test security violation.

Q. Can we show test items to the school board or parents to let them know what type of test we use?

A. No. Any form of reproducing any part of the test is a security violation and is a violation of copyright laws. Districts and schools are not allowed to make copies of student writing prompts, or test items used in any test administration year. It is also not acceptable to modify a test item and use it for practice. There are Forward Item Samplers and Online Tools Training available on the department’s website for practice purposes. These may also be used for showing members of the public the format and types of items on the test.

Q. What should I do if I suspect a test security violation?

A. All test security violations must be immediately reported to the Department of Public Instruction. Violations may be reported by the school faculty, students, their parents or other family members, and persons in the community. For more information about test security violations refer to the Test security manual.

Q. Can I discuss an item I saw on the test with other staff members?

A. No. No one should be viewing the Forward Exam items unless working with a student who has a particular designated support or accommodation which requires it.

Q. Can I take a photo of an item on the test if there is a technical issue or problem with the item to send to the help desk?

A. No. Taking photos of items is a test security violation. Any form of reproducing any part of the test is a security violation and is a violation of copyright laws. Districts and schools are not allowed to make copies of student writing prompts, or test items used in any test administration year.

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Test Tickets:

 
Q. Will all test tickets be able to be printed ahead of time?

A. Test tickets must be printed ahead of time. The directions for printing test tickets are in the Managing Students and Testing in eDIRECT Guide.

Q. What is involved in printing the test tickets?

A. Students first need to be placed in test sessions and assigned any accommodations or designated supports. Once these two steps are completed, test tickets may be printed by school, session, or individual student. More details are available in the Managing Students and Testing in eDIRECT Guide.

Q. How long do schools need to keep printed test tickets before securely destroying them?

A. Districts do not have to retain tickets beyond the completion of the test window. Test tickets are considered secure test materials and should be treated as such.


Trainings:

 

Q. Is there a training schools and districts may utilize for training teachers/proctors/test administrators about Forward Exam Administration?

A. The Test Administration Training is a video targeted for educators/test administrators which will be available on the Forward Exam Trainings webpage by February 12, 2018.

Q. Is there a training about Forward Exam accommodations and designated supports I can use with my educators?

A. There is an Accessibility Training Video available on the Forward Exam Accommodations and Supports webpage.

Q. Is there Forward Exam training for DACs?

A. Yes. There are five face-to-face Forward Exam Pretest DAC trainings in January 2018. Watch the DAC Digest for locations and registration information. Information will also be posted on the Forward Exam Trainings webpage.

Q. Is there a training schools and districts may utilize for training teachers/proctors/test administrators about Forward Exam Test Security?

A. The Forward Exam Test Security Training is a video targeted for educators/test administrators which is available on the Forward Exam Trainings webpage.

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