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Welcome to the participation homepage for the NCSC Phase 1 Pilot Test


Registration is now open to schools with students eligible to participate in the National Center and State Collaborative (NCSC) Alternate Assessment of Alternate Achievement Standards (AA-AAS) Phase 1 Pilot Test.

The NCSC pilot test provides an opportunity for teachers and students to learn more about the NCSC AA-AAS. In addition, participation in the pilot test provides teacher test administrators with training, and practice with the test administration procedures for the various item types. Student participation in the NCSC Phase 1 Pilot Test is critical to the development of the NCSC operational AA-AAS and serves as an important component of your state’s transition to an alternate assessment aligned to the Common Core State Standards.

All schools that have students with significant cognitive disabilities who meet the criteria for eligibility for participation in the NCSC AA-AAS are eligible to participate in the NCSC Phase 1 Pilot Test (see the FAQ link below for more on the participation guidance).

Phase 1 Pilot registration for schools is now closed. We thank all school that have registered. Please contact NCSC_SampleAcquisition@ctb.com if you have any questions.

 
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State Contacts

If you have questions, please contact your NCSC State Coordinator or NCSC_SampleAcquisition@ctb.com.

State

Name

Email

Arizona

Audra Ahumada

Audra.ahumada@azed.gov 

Arkansas

Charlotte Marvel

Charlotte.Marvel@arkansas.gov

California

Kristen Brown

kbrown@cde.ca.gov

Connecticut

Janet Stuck

janet.stuck@ct.gov

District of Columbia

Michelle Blakey-Tuggle

michelle.blakey-tuggle@dc.gov

Florida

Randy LaRusso

LaRusso.Randy@Brevardschools.org

Georgia

Tony Eitel

aeitel@doe.k12.ga.us

Idaho

Toni Wheeler

tcwheeler@sde.idaho.gov

Indiana

Lori Weber

lweber@doe.in.gov

Lousiana

Susan Kahn

Susan.Kahn@la.gov

Maine

Sue Nay

Sue.Nay@maine.gov

Montana

Yvonne Field

YField@mt.gov

New Mexico

Joslyn Pretz

joslyn.pretz@state.nm.us

PAC 6

June DeLeon

june.deleon@guamcedders.org

Pennsylvania

Chris Bunce

cbunce@pa.gov

Rhode Island

Heather Heineke

heather.heineke@ride.ri.gov

South Carolina

Suzanne Swaffield

Sswaffie@ed.sc.gov

South Dakota

Linda Turner 

Linda.Turner@state.sd.us

Tennessee

Lori Nixon

lori.nixon@tn.gov

US Virgin Islands

Jill Singer

jsinger@doe.vi

US Virgin Islands

Alexandria Baltimore-Hookfin

abhookfin@doe.vi

 

Frequently Asked Questions for the NCSC Phase 1 Pilot

1. What is the National Center and State Collaborative?
The National Center and State Collaborative (NCSC) is a project funded by the United States Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs, and is led by five centers and 25 states to construct an alternate assessment based on alternate achievement standards (AA-AAS), aligned to the Common Core State Standards, for students with the most significant cognitive disabilities in Grades 3-8 and 11. The goal of the NCSC project is to ensure that students with the most significant cognitive disabilities achieve increasingly higher academic outcomes and leave high school ready for post-secondary options. More information is available at: http://www.ncscpartners.org/.

2. What is the NCSC Phase 1 Pilot Test?
The Phase 1 Pilot Test is being conducted to collect data about how students interact with the mathematics, reading, and writing items, to gather information about how the items function, to examine test administration conditions, and to review item scoring processes and procedures.

3. What schools and students are eligible to participate in the NCSC Phase 1 Pilot Test?
All schools that have students with significant cognitive disabilities who meet the criteria for eligibility for participation in the NCSC AA-AAS, provided in "Guidance for IEP Teams on Participation Decisions for the NCSC Alternate Assessment," are eligible to participate in the NCSC Phase 1 Pilot Test.

4. When may principals register their school to participate in the NCSC Phase 1 Pilot Test and when does the registration period end?
Beginning October 15, 2013, principals or their designees may register their school to participate in the NCSC Phase 1 Pilot test. School registration will close February 7, 2014.

5. What information do schools need to provide when registering for the pilot test?

  • Contact information for principal, test coordinator, technical support, and special education contact/test administrator
  • Number of students eligible for alternate assessment per grade
  • Notes on special considerations (e.g., sending/receiving school, special education school))

6. Where do principals register their school to participate in the NCSC Phase 1 Pilot?
Principals or their designee should register at CTB.com/NCSCPilot (which is this page). *Registration closed February 7, 2014.

7. Can a center-based or separate school participate in the Phase 1 Pilot?
Yes, if this school has students that meet the eligibility guidelines referenced in FAQ 3.

8. If a student receives special education services in a school that is not his/her home school, should the receiving or the sending school register the student?
The school that will administer the test should register and note the sending school in the Special Considerations text window.

9. How many students are expected to participate in the NCSC Phase 1 Pilot Test from each state?
For the NCSC Phase 1 Pilot Test, it is expected that each state will need to contribute approximately one-third of the population of students who meet the eligibility criteria to participate in the NCSC AA-AAS. The sample of students tested will be demographically representative of NCSC partner states and inclusive of the individual learner characteristics and personal learning needs of students.

10. What if not enough schools and students are registered for the NCSC Phase 1 Pilot?
CTB will be monitoring school and student registration on a weekly basis. If target sample sizes are not met, CTB and NCSC partners will initiate supplemental recruitment efforts.

11. What is the NCSC Phase 1 Pilot Test design?
Eligible students for alternate assessment in grades 3 through 8 and grade 11 will take pilot test forms in either English language arts (reading) or mathematics or both. In both ELA and mathematics, tests will be constructed with a mix of item tiers, or levels of item complexity.

  • ELA: The ELA pilot test consists of approximately 25 selected response items that assess reading literary and informational text aligned to the Core Content Connectors (CCCs). On each pilot test form, there will be four reading passages, two informational text and two in literary text genres. Additional foundational reading items will be included in Grades 3 and 4. Smaller-scale studies will be conducted to tryout writing constructed and selected response items.
  • Mathematics: The mathematics pilot test consists of approximately 25 selected response and constructed response items that assess five mathematics content standards aligned to the CCCs.

12. How will the pilot tests be administered?
The items will be presented online through the NCSC comprehensive assessment system. Test administrators will work one-on-one with students to administer the pilot tests based on individual student needs.

13. How much time will it take to administer a pilot test?
The pilot tests for each content area will take about 1.5 to 2 hours to administer. The pilot test is designed to be administered across three sessions. Test administrators will be able to pause and resume the pilot test based on student needs.

14. What are the pilot test administration windows?
Mathematics: April 14–May 9
English Language Arts: April 14–May 9

15. What are the training requirements for test administrators who will administer a NCSC pilot test, as well as test coordinators?
All test administrators who will administer a NCSC pilot test, as well as test coordinators, must complete a series of test administration training modules that will be available about one month prior to the assessment window. Test administrators and test coordinators may complete these test administration training modules by using the online self-directed course of study, or States may choose to use these test administration training materials with test administrators and test coordinators during face-to-face workshops. Every test administrator will participate in these test administration training modules and pass quizzes to ensure that the pilot test items are administered appropriately.

16. What materials will test administrators need to prepare prior to the test administration?
This information is included in the test directions for Test Administrator.

17. Since the tests are administered online, what are the technology requirements?
The requirements are in the following document posted on the NCSC website: http://www.ncscpartners.org/Media/Default/PDFs/NCSC_Proposed_Workstation-and-Bandwidth_Technology_Requirements_11-18-13.pdf.

18. What incentives are available to districts, schools, test administrators or students participating in the NCSC Phase 1 Pilot Test?
Schools, test administrators, and students will have the opportunity to experience the types of items, item presentation, and administration procedures. Test administrators will have an opportunity to provide feedback on their experience administering items to students and students may share their feedback on the pilot test experience. Your school will have the opportunity to confirm that test administrators and students have the technology (computer hardware, software and internet capabilities) needed to complete the NCSC AA-AAS online. Data collected will inform the revision of test items, test forms, and administration procedures for the operational NCSC AA-AAS which will be administered in spring 2015 to every eligible student in partner states.

19. Will districts or schools receive student or district results?
No. Neither District nor student results will be provided for the pilot. The purpose of this pilot is to (a) try out the test items and evaluate the quality of individual test items, (b) investigate administration conditions, and (c) investigate the proposed item scoring processes and procedures. The reliability and validity of student results cannot be established in this initial pilot phase.

20. Who should districts/schools/test administrators contact with questions about the pilot test requirements?
Questions should be directed to the SEA contact for NCSC AA-AAS.

21. Who should districts/schools/test administrators contact for registration questions?
Contact CTB's Sample Acquisition team for questions about registration. Contact information will be available on the website www.ctb.com/NCSCPilot.

22. Who should districts/schools/test administrators contact for questions related to test administrator and test coordinator training?
Questions should be directed to the SEA contact for NCSC AA-AAS.

FAQ Update — 11/15/13

23. What should I do if I send in a registration and realize I made a mistake?

If there are errors in your submission, please go back to www.ctb.com/NCSCPilot and complete a new submission. Make a note in the comment box that indicates the corrected submission. The incorrect submission will be deleted from the system.

24. What should I do if I recorded the incorrect number of students in a grade?
If you forget to include a student in your submission, please go back to the sample acquisition website and complete a new submission. Make a note in the comment box that indicates it is a corrected submission. The incomplete/incorrect submission will be deleted from the system.

25. If a school has only one student on the alternate, should that school register?
Yes. We are encouraging and inviting all schools who have students to register for the Phase 1 Pilot.

26. Is there a requirement for parent/guardian consent for student participation in the pilot?
NCSC does not require parent/guardian consent for participation since the information collected during Phase 1 Pilot will not be analyzed or reported at an individual student level and is only used for the purposes of test development. However, if there are local or state policies that do require parent/guardian consent, then the district or state will need to provide appropriate instruction to schools to comply with district or state specific policies.

27. Who will record the response to test items for students who are not able to do so?
The test administrator will enter the responses to test items for those students who require assistance.

28. What if the student has difficulty working for sustained periods of time or becomes frustrated during the test session?
The assessment allows the test administrator to pause and resume the assessment. There will be no loss of any recorded student responses. The test administrator may provide the student a break or may schedule to resume the assessment at a different time.

29. How will the 1.5 to 2 hours be spent with the student?
The mathematics and ELA assessments will each be presented in three sessions. The assessment items will be presented online. It is expected that each student will work one on one with a test administrator.

Question #12 describes the ELA and Mathematics tests as:

  • ELA: The ELA pilot test consists of both a reading and a writing component aligned to the Core Content Connectors (CCCs). On each pilot test, there will be four reading passages, two in informational and two in literacy genres with accompanying selected response items. Additional foundational reading items will be included in Grades 3 and 4. The writing component will consist of selected response writing items and writing prompt. In total, the ELA pilot test consists of approximately 25 selected response items and one writing prompt.
  • Mathematics: The mathematics test consists of approximately 25 selected response and constructed response items assessing grade-level mathematics content aligned to the CCCs.

Students may use assistive technologies and other supports that they use during instruction.

Test administrators will participate in training and use the Test Administration Manual, scripted directions to administer the assessment, and an Accommodations Manual. These materials will provide clear direction on test administration for each student.

30. Will the NCSC Phase 1 Pilot take the place of our statewide assessment?
Please contact your state coordinator for this state specific information.

31. Will the scheduled NCSC Phase 1 Pilot assessment conflict with the schedule of the assessment in my state?
Since states' assessment schedules differ, please contact your state coordinator for this state specific information.

32. What if our school does not have a designated technology lead? Who should be recorded on the school registration form?
If there is not a designated person, please submit the name of the individual who fulfills that role. Include the contact information for the person who could answer technical questions.

33. What are the specific roles for each contact listed on the registration form?
Please see the table below for the roles of each contact:

Name Requested on CTB Registration Form

Role in NCSC Pilot Phase 1

Principal or Designee

Ensure
• Enrollment of school and students for pilot phase 1 in CTB system.
• Administration of the assessment during the test window.
• Test administrator participation in the required professional development prior to administering the assessment.
• Informational letter is sent to parent/guardian of students participating in pilot phase 1.

Test Coordinator

• Ensure completion of individual student enrollment forms for pilot phase 1 in CTB system.
• Participate in test administrator training modules.
• Collect all paper copies of test, if any, and ensure secure shredding.
• Assist test administrators with scheduling logistics.

Special Education Contact/Test Administrator

• Complete the individual student enrollment forms in the CTB system.
• Prior to administering the assessment, complete required professional development training on test administration.
• Administer the assessment to assigned students and record and submit student responses in the online platform.

Technical Support Contact

Prior to the test window
• Ensure that the technology equipment to be used for the assessment meets the requirements as indicated on the NCSC Technology Checklist.
• Ensure that test administrators and test coordinators have access to computers to participate in the required professional development on test administration prior to administering the assessment.
During the test window, provide technical support for test administrators and students in their use of the required technology, e.g., troubleshoot issues with browsers and internet.

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Additional Details for Participating Schools

What is the NCSC’s project goal?

NCSC is a project funded by the United States Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs, and is led by five centers and 26 states to construct an alternate assessment based on alternate achievement standards (AA-AAS), aligned to the Common Core State Standards, for students with the most significant cognitive disabilities in Grades 3–8 and 11. The operational NCSC AA-AAS will be administered in the 2014–2015 school year. The goal of the NCSC project is to ensure that students with significant cognitive disabilities achieve increasingly higher academic outcomes and leave high school ready for post-secondary options.

Who developed the test items and what is the purpose of this Phase 1 Pilot Test?

A critical component of the operational test development process is pilot testing. From late February through April 2014, NCSC will be administering a pilot test in English language arts and mathematics (the NCSC Phase 1 Pilot Test) to students with significant cognitive disabilities. The NCSC Phase 1 Pilot Test is the first time the NCSC test items will be administered to students in partner states. The NCSC mathematics, reading, and writing items were developed by the NCSC item writing vendors, Measured Progress and Questar, and reviewed by educators from states in the NCSC consortium including teachers, content experts, and special education experts. The test forms are assembled by CTB/McGraw Hill in close collaboration with the NCSC partners.

The purpose of the NCSC Phase 1 Pilot Test is to (a) understand how the items are functioning, (b) investigate administration conditions, and (c) investigate the proposed item scoring processes and procedures. Data collected from the NCSC Phase 1 Pilot Test will be used to inform further development of the NCSC AA-AAS. Phase 2 of the pilot test will be administered in fall 2014. The purpose of the NCSC Phase 2 Pilot Test is to (a) try out adaptive test forms, and (b) continue investigating administration and scoring conditions. The pilot tests are not designed to provide individual student performance information. Data collected from both phases of the pilot will inform the test forms and administration procedures for the operational NCSC AA-AAS which will be administered in spring 2015 to every eligible student in partner states.

What schools and students are eligible to participate in the NCSC AA-AAS Phase 1 Pilot Test? How many students are needed to participate in the Phase 1 Pilot Test?

Schools in NCSC states or entities that have students who meet the NCSC eligibility criteria to participate in the NCSC AA-AAS are invited and encouraged to participate in the NCSC Phase 1 Pilot Test. Approximately a third of all students with significant cognitive disabilities from the 26 NCSC states are needed to participate in the NCSC Phase 1 Pilot Test. The sample of students tested will be demographically representative of NCSC partner states and inclusive of the individual learner characteristics and personal learning needs of students.

What is required of participating students and teachers during the Phase 1 Pilot Test?

Eligible students in schools participating in the NCSC Phase 1 Pilot Test will take either the English language arts (reading and writing) or mathematics pilot test. The tests will be administered online through the NCSC comprehensive assessment system. Teacher test administrators will work one-on-one with students to administer the pilot tests based on individual student needs. Every test administrator will participate in training and pass quizzes to ensure items are administered appropriately.

Starting in November, the school principal or designee will be contacted to register all eligible students in the school and additional information about the pilot test will be also be provided at that time.

Next Steps