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Frequently Asked Questions about Online Assessment Administration and Results

When and where will students take the online Smarter Balanced Assessments?

The assessments may be administered at any time during school hours during the testing window. Students can be tested in any room that provides a quiet environment where other students are not participating in learning activities and where there are enough computers for a group of students, plus one computer for the Test Administrator. Some schools will use computer labs, and others will use mobile computer carts brought into classrooms.

How long will the assessments take?

Most students will need approximately 90 minutes, scheduled during two 45-minute test sessions, to complete one online assessment. This includes time to read the Directions for Administration to students, have the students log into the testing site, and distribute and collect scratch paper and keyboard shortcut sheets.

Remember that the assessments are not timed; students may have as long as they need to complete the assessments, provided that they complete each assessment within 45 calendar days of starting it (for the ELA or Math CAT) or within 10 calendar days of starting it (for the ELA PT).

Must all students be tested online?

With the exception of students who need to take the paper/pencil version of the Smarter Balanced Assessment at an off-campus site that does not have Internet access, all students must be tested on a computer with an Internet connection. Ultimately, all student responses must be entered into the online system. The use of a scribe to record responses online is allowed for students with a documented need. The scribe designated support should be set in TIDE and the scribe needs to follow the Scribing Protocol which can be found on alohahsap.org. Refer to the Smarter Balanced Test Administration Manual and Crosswalk of Accessibility Features Across State Assessments in Hawaii for details on accommodations.

Will schools be responsible for administering the Smarter Balanced Assessment to students who are receiving educational services off campus at alternative sites?

Yes. Refer to the Student Participation section in the Smarter Balanced Test Administration Manual for details. Schools must offer an assessment opportunity to students who are receiving educational services at alternative sites if they can cope with the assessment requirements. These sites also include students who are receiving educational services at home or in a hospital based on their documented physical, mental, or emotional needs. These students must be tested online if Internet access is available. Otherwise, they will need to take the paper/pencil version of the assessment.

What steps must I take to administer the Smarter Balanced Assessment to home-schooled students?

Students who are home-schooled may participate in the online Smarter Balanced Assessment at the request of their parent or guardian. Schools must provide these students with a testing opportunity if requested. For the purposes of assessment, these students are considered Courtesy Tested students, and their scores will not be included in the school’s results.

Prior to administering an online Smarter Balanced Assessment to a home-schooled student, the Test Coordinator must complete the Courtesy Testing for Home-Schooled Students form found in the Smarter Balanced Test Administration Manual and email the form to the Assessment Section at hsa@k12.hi.us, to request that a student’s grade level be entered in TIDE. Parents should not be asked to bring their home-schooled child to a school to be tested until an Assessment Section staff member informs the Test Coordinator that the student can access the secure online Smarter Balanced Assessment.

The Test Coordinator will send the parents a Parent Information Booklet and a Parent Letter that includes the testing dates for the Smarter Balanced Assessment. Schools should not provide separate testing schedules for these students. Refer to the Student Participation section in the Smarter Balanced Test Administration Manual for additional details.

What if students transfer during the testing window?

If students transfer from school to school during the testing window, the system will keep a record of any complete or incomplete assessments. After students transfer, they can resume where they left off, including finishing any incomplete assessments, provided that the 45 calendar day (ELA and Math CAT) and/or 10 calendar day (ELA PT) time frame for a specific assessment opportunity has not yet expired. From the Plan and Manage Testing section available in the TIDE system, Test Coordinators will be able to see how many opportunities a student has used. However, a transferring student’s enrollment information must be updated in Infinite Campus by the receiving school’s clerk or registrar before it can be included in the Department’s nightly upload to the TIDE system.

How will I know which students still need to take the online Smarter Balanced Assessment before the testing window ends?

The online assessment system automatically keeps track of which students have and have not completed their assessments. Test Coordinators will have access to this information through the Plan and Manage Testing section in the TIDE system. The Plan and Manage Testing section will show which students have completed the assessment, how many times they have taken the assessment, and their scores for each assessment opportunity. The reports will also show which students have not completed their assessments. The HSAP TIDE User Guide, which explains how to access and read these reports, is available on the Smarter Balanced Resources page at alohahsap.org.

Will I be able to print a master list of all students in all grades who did not finish their assessments so that I can schedule make-ups or completion sessions?

Yes, the Plan and Manage section in the TIDE system will show which students have not completed their assessments. The HSAP TIDE User Guide, explains how to access, read, and print these reports. The HSAP TIDE User Guide is also available on the Smarter Balanced Resources page at alohahsap.org.

If a student logs in and realizes an error in his/her information (e.g., misspelled name), does the student have to wait 2–3 days to get that corrected, or should he/she go ahead and take the test?

If any of the student’s information in the student testing site is incorrect, the student should not proceed with testing. The student should log out, and the Test Coordinator should be notified. The student’s record must be updated in Infinite Campus before he or she can begin testing. The Department of Education uploads student information from Infinite Campus and eCSSS to the online TIDE system on a nightly basis. Student records should be updated within 48–72 hours. After a student’s record has been updated, he or she can begin testing.

If I have a student who is supposed to take the Hawaii State Alternate Assessment (HSA-Alt), and he or she is appearing on my list of Smarter Balanced students in TIDE, what should I do?

If an HSA-Alt student is appearing as a Smarter Balanced student in TIDE, it means they have not been identified as eligible for the HSA-Alt at the school level. Once an IEP team determines that a student meets the criteria for participation in the HSA-Alt and that this is the most appropriate assessment option for the student, the IEP Care Coordinator (who is often the student’s classroom teacher) will need to document this decision in eCSSS by selecting “H-4: HSA-Alt” in the Statewide Assessment section of the IEP. The Department of Education uploads student information from eCSSS to the online HSAP system on a nightly basis. Student records in TIDE should be updated within 48–72 hours once the change in status has been made in eCSSS.

Note: If the student is appropriately identified for the HSA-Alt, the student will appear in TIDE with the HSA-Alt ‘flag’, and will appear in the Plan and Manage Testing section of TIDE. The scores for students who take the HSA-Alt will be posted in ORS and may be found by searching for “HSA-Alt” test results.

How do students log into the online HSAP Secure Browser to take a test?

Students must use their legal first name (as it appears in Infinite Campus and TIDE), their 10-digit State Student ID Number (SSID), and the test session ID that will be generated by the Test Administrator in the TA Live Site. Student information will be pre-loaded from Infinite Campus and eCSSS into the online TIDE system. If inaccurate student information exists in the online TIDE system, it must be corrected by the school’s clerk or registrar in Infinite Campus. Information from Infinite Campus and eCSSS will be automatically updated each night into the online TIDE system. Test Administrators will be able to look up a 10-digit SSID number using a search feature.

Where do I find the 10-digit State Student ID Number (SSID) for a student? Can Infinite Campus export students’ 10-digit ID numbers?

The 10-digit SSID is available to schools through Infinite Campus. Your clerk or registrar should be able to provide a roster of 10-digit SSIDs and student names.

Can Test Administrators help students log in?

Students need to log into the system using their legal first name and 10-digit SSID number. Test Administrators may assist students with this if necessary. This information can also be provided to students on a card, or a test ticket generated in TIDE, before a test session begins to help them type the information in accurately. Please remember that 10-digit SSIDs are confidential information, and cards/test tickets must be collected and stored in a secure location or shredded after all testing for 2020-2021 has been completed.

Can a Test Coordinator create the test sessions for Test Administrators using their passwords prior to the day and time of a test session?

No. Test Coordinators cannot create test sessions ahead of time for Test Administrators. Test sessions can only be created on the day of an assessment. As a reminder, Test Administrators should NOT give their passwords to anyone (even Test Coordinators). Test Administrators can create their test session on the day of an assessment before the actual test session begins if they wish. However, the Test Administrator must remain logged in to keep the test session active. Once Test Administrators log out of the TA Live Site, the test session will end and cannot be resumed.

What if I cannot see the whole session ID?

In the web browser toolbar, there is an option to change the text display size. For example, in Chrome, you would click “View” and “Text Size,” and then select “Smaller” or “Smallest.” Once the text display size has been reduced, you may need to restart your browser and navigate to the TA Live Site before the change takes effect. This change should allow you to see the whole session ID.

If a student needs more time for an assessment and has to continue later, can a different Test Administrator administer the rest of the assessment?

The student can be assessed by anyone who is certified to administer the Smarter Balanced Assessment. The student can complete an assessment that was begun in one session during a later session. The online assessment system keeps track of which assessments students have started and completed and will allow students to access an incomplete assessment during a later session. The assessment belongs to the student, not to a session. The Test Administrator should start a new session and include the incomplete assessment (e.g., grade 3 Math), and the student should enter the new session. If the student has already started an assessment, he or she will be able to resume it (provided it is being resumed within 45 calendar days [ELA and Math CAT] and/or 10 calendar days [ELA PT] of starting the assessment opportunity).

Should the same test session ID be used by two Test Administrators administering the same assessment to two separate groups of students within in the same class but needing different testing accommodations?

Students from the same class who take assessments at different times or with different Test Administrators do not need to use the same test session ID. For example, if a group of students from one class require certain accommodations during testing, but the rest of the class does not, the person managing the accommodations group can create a different test session with his or her login and administer the assessment to students that way. If each Test Administrator is in a different computer lab or setting, each needs to create his or her own test session. When the test session is created, a session ID is provided by the system, and that session ID is required as part of the student login process.

What if students are absent during an assessment administration?

Students can take an assessment any time during the testing window. Because of the adaptive nature of the online assessment system, different students may see different questions in a different order, making test security less of a concern, and, therefore, making it easier to test students at different times.

What Universal Tools, Designated Supports, and Accommodations are available for ELL, IDEA-eligible, and Section 504 students?

The full list of available Universal Tools, Designated Supports, and Accommodations for the Smarter Balanced Assessment can be found in the Smarter Balanced Test Administration Manual and Crosswalk of Accessibility Features Across State Assessments in Hawaii.

What other tools may students use during the assessments?

Students may use scratch paper and printed copies of keyboard shortcuts during the assessments. Again, all paper copies must be collected at the end of the each test session. Any paper copy with student writing on it must be shredded immediately. Further information can be found in the Universal Tools, Designated Supports, and Accommodations section of the Smarter Balanced Test Administration Manual and Crosswalk of Accessibility Features Across State Assessments in Hawaii.

Can a poster of the keyboard shortcuts be displayed during an assessment?

Yes, posters of keyboard shortcuts may be displayed.

What if students cannot use a mouse?

Students can navigate the assessments using a mouse or the keyboard. A list of keyboard shortcuts is provided for students within the online assessment system.

Can Test Administrators help students with the constructed-response items? For example, if students have difficulty placing items on a grid or typing their response, can the Test Administrator assist them?

Test Administrators need to have students pause their tests if they cannot use the online tools independently to answer constructed-response items, so they can receive more practice using these tools while answering the Training Test or Practice Test questions. If a student still cannot use the online tools independently, even after additional practice, he or she must be tested in an individual setting. A Test Administrator must serve as a scribe in an individual setting where the student can answer each constructed-response item verbally so the Test Administrator can enter it online.

What if it takes students more than 30 minutes to answer one test item? Will they be timed out?

If it has been 30 minutes since a student last answered a test item, the following message window will appear on the student’s screen: “Are you still there? Click OK to continue or you will be logged out in 30 seconds.” In order to keep the student’s test session active and enable the student to review items answered earlier in the session, the student must click “OK” and answer the item on which he or she is currently working. If the student does not respond, the student will be logged out in order to protect test security and privacy. If the student is logged out, he or she will not be allowed to go back and review his or her answers. You can also instruct students to raise their hands and ask for help if they see a message on the screen that they are not sure how to handle.

Can a Test Administrator be logged out of a session after 30 minutes of inactivity? What must a Test Administrator do to prevent being logged out?

Yes, as a security measure, TAs are automatically logged out after 30 minutes of user inactivity and student inactivity in the session, which results in closing the test session. To prevent being logged out of the system the TA, or any student who is testing in the active Session ID, must click on their screen at least once every 30 minutes.

If a TA is automatically logged out, the status of the test session will change to “closed” and all in-progress tests in the session will be paused. The TA will need to log back into the TA Site, start a new session, and provide the new Session ID to students who need to resume testing.

What should a student do if an item or graphic fails to load properly during an assessment? For example, if the item’s graphics or multiple-choice response options do not entirely or correctly display on the student’s screen?

If an item or graphic does not load, the student will need to pause the assessment and log back in. If the item or graphic still fails to load, the Test Administrator will need to contact the HSAP Help Desk (hsaphelpdesk@cambiumassessment.com or 1-866-648-3712) and provide the agent with the following information: the student’s 10-digit SSID number and grade level, the opportunity number, and the corresponding item number in that student’s assessment. Additionally, it is important that the student NOT click on an answer option for this partially loaded item in order to complete the test and submit it for scoring before this item can be correctly displayed or replaced with another online item. It is recommended that additional computers be available for testing in case a student’s computer freezes or shuts down unexpectedly.

How does a Test Coordinator request a grace period extension (GPE) or a test reset for a student whose test session was affected by a testing incident?

If a student’s test has been paused for more than 20 minutes due to a major disruption, such as a fire drill, a school-wide power or Internet outage, or a natural disaster, the student will not be allowed to review his or her answers to the items answered before the disruption. The Test Coordinator may submit a request in TIDE to allow a student to review previously answered items in a paused test (grace period extension [GPE]), which will allow the student to review his or her answers. However, the student’s test should be immediately paused, and he or she should NOT be allowed to continue answering any additional items. In the “Testing Incidents” tab of TIDE, the Test Coordinator will need to submit the student’s 10-digit SSID number, the result ID located in the Plan and Manage Testing section of TIDE, or the session ID, along with the reason for making the request. The Assessment Section will review and approve or disapprove the request in TIDE. Then the Test Coordinator will receive an email response regarding the decision. The student should not continue to be tested until the Test Coordinator has received a decision from the Assessment Section.

Requests to reset a test opportunity will be granted only in extreme circumstances. The Test Coordinator may submit a test reset request in TIDE. In the “Testing Incidents” tab in TIDE, the Test Coordinator should enter the student’s 10-digit SSID number, the result ID located in the Plan and Manage Testing section of TIDE, or the session ID, along with the reason for requesting that the opportunity be reset. The Assessment Section will review and approve or disapprove the request in TIDE. Then the Test Coordinator will receive an email response regarding the decision. The student should not continue to be tested until the Test Coordinator has received a decision from the Assessment Section.

How can we ensure that students do not cheat when they are taking an assessment on a computer?

The Smarter Balanced Test Administration Manual describes the online assessment security procedures in detail.

  • A Test Administrator will be responsible for administering a test session and ensuring that the students taking an assessment are who they say they are.
  • Students will take an assessment using a special browser that prevents them from doing anything on the computer except taking the assessment. This browser will not allow students to copy items or look up answers online.
  • While taking an assessment, students will see different items in different sequences, so copying from one another will not help them.
  • If a student ends an assessment session before answering all the items, the student will not be able to review previously answered items when finishing this assessment during a subsequent session, if more than 20 minutes have elapsed.

What should I do if something goes wrong during the assessments?

Testing incidents should be reported to your Test Coordinator, who will then report the testing incidents to the Department’s Assessment Section at 808-307-3636. In addition, the Test Administrator or Test Coordinator must complete the Testing Incident Report Form, found as an Appendix in the Smarter Balanced Test Administration Manual. The form should be emailed to the Assessment Section at hsa@k12.hi.us.

How will students and teachers get the Smarter Balanced Assessment results?

Student results are available in the Centralized Reporting system (CRS). Users with the appropriate roles will be able to view results for their schools, classes, and students. If Teachers are entered in TIDE with their employee ID number, their class rosters that have been entered in Infinite Campus by their school clerk or registrar will be available in CRS.

Results for the Math Assessment will be available immediately after each assessment has been submitted for electronic scoring. Results for the ELA Assessment will be available within 10 days once the student has completed both the CAT and PT portions of the assessment and the PT has been submitted for hand-scoring. Teachers can log on to see how their students performed.

Parents will receive a family score report that displays their child’s Smarter Balanced Assessment scores at the beginning of the next school year. If they wish, schools may print and send online student score reports generated within CRS to parents during the school year after student testing has been completed; sample parent cover letters that can accompany these interim score reports are available at alohahsap.org on the Smarter Balanced Resources page.

What types of results will be available?

Scale scores and related performance levels, i.e., well below, approaches, meets, and exceeds proficiency, and trend data over time are available for students in the Centralized Reporting system (CRS).

Scores are also available for grade levels and classes within a school in CRS.

Current students’ scores from 2018-2019 are also available for teachers in CRS (no testing was reporting in 2019-2020 due to the COVID-19-related closure of schools in spring 2020). For details, please refer to the Centralized Reporting User Guide available on the Smarter Balanced Resources page at alohahsap.org.