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Adult and Community Learning Services (ACLS)

Q & A from Assessment Policies Changes Webinar, April 13, 2018

Question 1: 85% post-test target is high when we have a mobile population. How was that number decided?
Answer: The current target for pre- and post-testing is 80%. ACLS set this target based on the statewide pre- and post-testing average of 76% in FY 2015, 2016 and 2017. It is crucial that programs post-test a higher number of students in order to achieve outcomes.
Question 2: Does the roll-over score count as one of the three assessments in the year?
Answer: Yes.
Question 3: Will a pre-test after May 1 count for FY19 (the next year) and the post-test could be in FY10?
Answer: It is not clear what is meant by this question. If a May/June post-test score is copied over into the next fiscal year, in this case FY2019, then yes, the copied-over test would count as one of the three assessments allowed for FY2019. The copied over test score would be a pre-test for FY2019 and the student would need to be post-tested in that fiscal year to determine gain.
Question 4: In the past, we could not use the BEST Plus 2.0 or TABE CLAS E for placement tests, did you say they can be used now?
Answer: Yes.
Question 5: Pre-test after May 1 can be counted as pre- for the next year FY19 and post-test done in FY19?
Answer: Yes. See also answer to question 3 above.
Question 6: If a student completes an EFL in their non-PAA, that is still worth the same in terms of MSG, right? So, if it's their first completion, regardless of area, it's worth 1 point, subsequent worth 0.1. Am I right?
Answer: Yes, this is correct.
Question 7: If a student has a second test in December, that test must be put in SMARTT before the December lock-out?
Answer: The intent of the current policy is to require programs to enter pre-test data before the monthly lockout date so programs can meet the attendance data entry requirement. However, regarding post-tests, ACLS encourages AE providers to enter these data as quickly as possible but the monthly lockout does not apply. We will clarify this in the Assessment Policy Manual as well.
Question 8: For HSE students, can we test all level students in both areas, Math and Reading?
Answer: Starting FY2019 students at pre-ASE and ASE levels must be tested in both Reading and Math. It is up to the program to pre- and post-test lower level (beginning ABE Literacy and Beginning ABE) students in both Reading and Math but it is not required.
Question 9: Can you also touch base a little on the reasoning for one primary area to be chosen?
Answer: A Primary Assessment Area (PAA) places students into a NRS level. This is a federal requirement.
Question 10: So the follow-up: if PAA doesn't impact MSG — why is selecting the PAA necessary?
Answer: See answer to question 9 above.
Question 11: We have students who pre-tested as late as March 27 this year. Will MSG program targets (last determined on 12/7/2017) be revised to take these pre-tests into account?
Answer: Yes.
Question 12: If someone joins the class later in the year, is it okay then not to post-test them at the end of the year (because they won't have met the 65 hour requirement)?
Answer: Students who do not have 65 hours of attendance cannot be post-tested. However, those students will be included in the program's MSG performance.
Question 13: If a student was enrolled in one year and has a May/June test, then stops out, and then enrolls late in the next year (e.g. February), can you still roll their May/June test at that point?
Answer: No. In this case, the student needs to be pre-tested again upon re-entry. See Assessment Policy number 4: Copy-over and the Shelf Life of a Test, page 6 of the Assessment Policies Manual.
Question 14: If a student moves from one program to another, does each program test the students up to 3 times? For example, a student begins in one program and takes a pre-test and post-test. Then, they move to another program. Would the second program administer one test only since this would be the third test in one fiscal year, or would the second program need a pre and post-test?
Answer: Assessments follow students. In this case, if the student is tested by the second program in the same content/skill area, then the student can have a third test administered by the new program. If the student is tested in a different content/skill area, then the new program can administer a new pre- and up to two post-tests.
Question 15: Will UMass Amherst also manage the CLAS-E Recertification?
Answer: Yes, the Center for Educational Assessment at University of Massachusetts Amherst will manage the training, support, initial certification and annual recertification (including the one for CLAS E- Writing) starting July 1, 2018 (FY2019).
Question 16: The related question would be if someone takes a BEST Plus 2.0 at intake in May/June and then is enrolled the next year, can their score be rolled? (Even if relatively late in the second year).
Answer: As per Assessment Policy number 4, page 6 of the Assessment Policies Manual:

Effective FY2019: Any assessment administered after April 30 may be copied over into the next fiscal year and used until December 31of that calendar year. Any test administered within a fiscal year (July 1–June 30) may be used as a pre-test for students who leave and return during that year

For example, a student's test administered on May 2, 2018 (FY 2018) can be copied over and used as a pre-test into the next fiscal year starting July 1, 2018 (FY 2019) until December 31, 2018. If the student leaves before June 30 and returns after December 31, the student must be pre-tested again.

However, for a student who was pre-tested any time during the fiscal year (July 1–June 30), leaves the program and returns within the same fiscal year, administering another pre-test upon the student's return is not necessary as the student's previous pre-test may be used again.
Question 17: To confirm, regardless of the PAA, the first gain in either area counts for 1 point and the other area gain if made would count as 0.1?
Answer: Yes. You can read more about Measurable Skills Gains (MSG).
Question 18: If a student has less than 12 hours attendance, a pre- and post-test would not be required, correct?
Answer: This is correct.
Question 19: If a student takes a pre-test after May 1, they would not impact the target MSG?
Answer: The pre-test of this student would be included in the program's MSG performance target if this pre-test is the student's primary assessment area (PAA).
Question 20: Follow-up to the May 1 pre-test and rolled over to the next year: they would still be part of the target in the current year?
Answer: If the May 1st test is a post-test in the current fiscal year, this post-test could contribute to the program's MSG performance in the current fiscal year. If the May 1st test is a pre-test in the current fiscal year, it would be included in the program's MSG performance target in the current fiscal year. If the May 1st pre-test/post-test is copied over into the next fiscal year, the copied-over test would contribute to the program's next year's MSG performance target if that test is the student's primary assessment area (PAA).
Question 21: So, if a student tests out of BEST Plus 2.0 in December and wants to switch to CLAS E Reading, that can't happen?
Answer: If by "testing out" is meant student reaching out a score of 565 or higher on the BEST Plus 2.0 post-test, then yes, the student can also be tested in a different skill area such as reading (with CLAS E-Reading) or Writing (with CLAS E-Writing). If the BEST Plus 2.0 was selected as the student's primary assessment area (PAA), the BEST Plus 2.0 must remain the student's PAA even after the student is tested in a different skill area.
Question 22: If a student pre-tests in TABE Writing with a score over 612, do we need to post-test?
Answer: A student that has a pre-test score at the NRS exit criteria is not eligible for services. The program must either administer another test in a different area (and the student must score below the exit criteria) or not enroll the student.
Question 23: What about students who tested out of the level for one subject on the MAPT, are we okay with just testing them in the area? I have students who have been with us for a couple of years and only take one test because of this. We don't need to start all over with 2 tests each new year?
Answer: In the webinar, we may have given a confusing answer. ACLS requires that pre-ASE and ASE students be pre- and post-tested in both areas each fiscal year. Students pre-testing at 600 or above must not be post-tested.
Question 24: Are post TABE scores considered an EFL Gain if their Grade Equivalency score increased?
Answer: If by TABE scores is meant TABE 9/10 scores, the answer is no. A student could make an EFL gain and still remain in the same Grade Level Equivalent—see TABE 9/10 Scale Score Correlations to GLE and EFL on page 36 of the Assessment Policies Manual.
Question 25: Does the student who begins in BEST Plus 2.0 and then switches to TABE CLAS-E in the same fiscal year count twice in our denominator?
Answer: No. The student would count only once based on the test that is their Primary Assessment Area.
Question 26: So is the pre- and post- percentage based only on the PAA?
Answer: Yes, this is correct.
Question 27: Just to clarify: you are able to change the PAA to another test if they tested out of one test in the pre-test? SMARTT will let you do that?
Answer: Programs should not set the PAA before administering and scoring the test.
Question 28: If a student tests out of MAPT Reading in FY2018, must we pre-test MAPT Reading in FY2019?
Answer: See answer to question 23 above.
Question 29: I have students who maxed out of one of the MAPT assessments years ago and we have not been testing them in that area since then. We didn't know that we can re-test them in a new FY.
Answer: See answer to question 23 above.

Last Updated: April 17, 2018
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