Administering a Computer-based Test Session for the Listening, Reading, and Speaking Domains (All Grade Levels) and the Writing Domain (Grade Levels Three Through Twelve)
- Green—Smarter Balanced Interim Assessments
- Red—Smarter Balanced Summative Assessments
- Indigo—California Alternate Assessments (CAA)
- Brown—California Science Test (CAST)
- Mint—California Spanish Assessment (CSA)
- Teal—Initial ELPAC
- Blue—Summative ELPAC
- Orange—Alternate ELPAC
Online Practice and Training Tests:
- Golden Yellow—Smarter Balanced training tests
- Pink—Smarter Balanced practice tests
- Golden Yellow—CAA training tests
- Pink—CAA practice tests
- Golden Yellow—CAST training tests
- Pink—CAST practice tests
- Golden Yellow—CSA training tests
- Pink—CSA practice tests
- Golden Yellow—ELPAC practice tests
- Pink—ELPAC training tests
- Golden Yellow—Alternate ELPAC training tests
- Pink—Alternate ELPAC practice tests
A test session must be created before students can log on to the secure student browser. For a student to take a specific test, the test must be included in the test session.
This section contains information on how to start a test session, add tests to the session, verify students’ test settings, approve students for testing, and monitor their progress.
Entering Student Responses into the System
A student may enter their responses into the testing device using a mouse, keyboard, or other assistive technology.
In the Listening and Reading domains, students are required to select a response for an item before they can move on to the next item. All items must have responses before a student can submit their test.
The Writing and Speaking domains do not require a student response for each item to submit the test.
The pause rules that follow apply regardless of whether the student or the test examiner pauses the test, or there was a technical issue (for example, power outage or network failure) that resulted in the student being logged off. For the computer-based Initial ELPAC, there will only be pause rules for the Listening and Reading domains. This means the following:
- When a Listening or Reading test is paused for less than 20 minutes, the student must still log back on to the student interface to resume testing. The student will be able to review, but not change, any previously answered items. Upon resumption, the student is automatically directed to the first page that has an unanswered item.
- When a Listening or Reading test is paused for more than 20 minutes, the student must still log back on to the student interface to resume testing. Upon resumption, the student is automatically directed to the first page that has an unanswered item. The student will not be able to view and change any previously answered items.
- For a student to resume testing and change previously answered items, the LEA must submit a Grace Period Extension Appeal. Without the Grace Period Extension Appeal, the student will not be permitted to review or change any previously answered items, even if the items are marked for review. An assessment is reopened or reset within 24 hours of the Appeal’s approval.
- Any highlighted text and notes in the digital notepad will be saved when a test is paused.
The Writing domain for grade levels three through twelve and the Speaking domain for all grades do not have pause rules. This means the following:
- When the Writing or Speaking test is paused for more than 20 minutes, the student must log back on to the student interface to resume testing. In addition, the student can continue entering responses or review or change any previously answered items.
- Any highlighted text and notes entered in the digital notepad will be saved when a test is paused.
Test Timeout (Due to Inactivity)
As a security measure, students and test examiners are automatically logged off after 30 minutes of test inactivity. For students, activity is defined as selecting an answer or navigation option in the assessment (for example, selecting [Next] or [Back] or using the Questions drop-down list to navigate to another item). Moving the mouse or selecting an empty space on the screen is not considered activity. This timeout also results in the test being paused automatically.
For test examiners, activity means that a student or students are registering test activity. As long as students are testing, the test examiner will not be logged off. The test examiner should be monitoring the Test Administrator Interface for inactivity, as a paused or inactive test may indicate that student may need assistance.
Before the secure browser logs the student off the test, a warning message will be displayed on the screen. If the student does not select [OK] within 60 seconds after this message appears, the student will be logged off. Selecting [OK] will restart the 30-minute-inactivity timer.
Figure 1 provides an example of the message that appears in a test timeout warning:
Figure 1. Test timeout warning message
Test Expiration Rules
“Opportunities” refers to the number of times a student can take a test within a range of dates. “Test session” is a timeframe in which students actively test in a single sitting.
For the Initial ELPAC, a student only has one opportunity to take each domain of the test. The test remains active until the student completes and submits the test or until the test expires, whichever occurs sooner. The expiration rule is 20 days after a student first accesses the test for the Listening and Reading domains and 20 days for the Speaking and Writing domains. Once a test opportunity expires, the student cannot complete or review the test unless a Re-open Appeal is submitted through STAIRS.
Beginning the Test
Follow these instructions to administer the Initial ELPAC. The test examiner must create a test session before students can log on to the secure browser (but no more than 30 minutes prior or the system will time out). When a test examiner creates a test session, a unique session ID is randomly generated. This session ID must be provided to the students before they log on and should be written down. A walkthrough of these log on instructions is also provided in the DFA.
The basic workflow for administering computer-based tests is as follows:
- The test examiner selects tests and starts a test session in the Test Administrator Interface.
- Students sign in and request approval for tests in the secure browser.
- The test examiner reviews students’ requests and approves them for testing.
- Students complete and submit their tests.
- The test examiner stops the test session and logs off.
- Test Examiner
Navigate to the ELPAC website on a supported web browser.
- Test Examiner
Select the [Test Administrator Interface for All Online Tests] button, as shown in figure 2.
Figure 2. [Test Administrator Interface for All Online Tests] button
- Test Examiner
For training test administration, select the [Practice & Training Tests] button.
- Test Examiner
Log on to the Test Administrator Interface using the test examiner’s TOMS sign-in credentials, as shown in figure 3.
Figure 3. Test Administrator Interface Logon screen
- Test Examiner
If the test examiner is associated with multiple institutions, an “Important!” message appears when the test examiner logs on. The test examiner must select the appropriate institution from the drop-down list in this message and select the [Go] button, as shown in figure 4. The test examiner may only select one institution at a time. The test examiner will only be able to administer tests available for the selected institution. To select a different institution, the test examiner must log off and then log back on.
Figure 4. Message from the Test Administrator Interface
- Test Examiner
The Test Selection window, as shown in figure 5 , color-codes tests and groups them into various categories. A test group may include one or more subgroups. All test groups and subgroups appear collapsed by default. Select the “Initial English Language Proficiency Assessments (ELPAC)” test group to begin.
Figure 5. Operational Test Selection window
- Test Examiner
To select tests for the session, use one of the following on-screen icons; these are indicated in figure 6.
- To expand a collapsed test group, select the [Plus] plus-sign  icon (or [Expand All]).
- To collapse a test group, select the [Minus] minus-sign  icon (or [Collapse All]).
- To select individual tests, mark the checkbox for each test that is to be included.
Figure 6. Expanded Operational Test Selection screen
- Test Examiner
Either use the filtering feature to open specific grade level, grade span, or content-area assessments; or, to start the test, select the [Start Operational Session] button. These features are also indicated in figure 6.
- Select the [Add Filter] button  to access the filter panel.
- Expand the available filter categories by selecting a [Plus] plus-sign  icon.
Figure 7. Sample Operational Test Selection screen with filtering option
- Check the criteria to filter.
- Select the [Apply Filter(s)] button  (indicated in figure 7).
Remove the filter by selecting the [Remove Filter] “X” icon  (indicated in figure 8 ), which also presents the screen that displays after the [Apply Filter(s)] button was selected).
Figure 8. Sample Operational Test Selection screen with filtering applied
- Select the [Start Operational Session] button to start the test.
- Test Examiner
Inform students of the test session ID. The session ID is automatically generated upon selecting the [Start Operational Session] button in the previous step. Write the session ID, as shown in figure 9, in a place where all students can clearly view for group administrations; provide the written session ID directly to the student for one-on-one administrations; or for kindergarten through grade two students, enter the session ID directly into the secure browser to help them log on. The current session ID also appears on the Test Administrator Interface screen saver, when the screen saver is active.
Figure 9. Session ID at the top of the Test Administrator Interface
- Test Examiner
Instruct students to open the secure browser, if it isn’t open already, and log on using the Student Sign In web form. For kindergarten through grade two students, perform the sign-in steps for them.
Sign in using the Student Sign In web form, as shown in figure 10. Students enter their first name and their SSID as it appears in CALPADS. Students enter the session ID as it appears on the Test Administrator Interface.
Figure 10. Student Sign In web form
- Test Examiner
Ensure that all students have successfully entered their information.
Verify identity by selecting [Yes] or [No], or as shown in figure 11.
Figure 11. Is This You? screen
- Test Examiner
Inform students of the test type (for example, Initial ELPAC Grades 3–5 Reading Test) in which they are participating today.
Select the test to take, as shown in figure 12. Note that after a student has completed and submitted a domain test, that test can no longer be selected.
Figure 12. Your Tests selection box
Wait for the test examiner’s approval, as shown in figure 13.
Figure 13. Waiting for Approval dialog box
- Test Examiner
Approve students for testing by selecting the [Approve] checkmark  icon in the Actions column for individual students or the [Approve all Students] button, as shown in figure 14.
Figure 14. Approvals and Student Test Settings screen
- Test Examiner
Select [Details] eye  icon, as shown in figure 15 , to view and adjust the student’s test settings for the current test opportunity. (For example, if the student had been assigned the designated support to turn off any universal tool(s), the test examiner can toggle the universal tools on and off.) “Custom” in the Details column indicates the student has been assigned test settings. Refer to the Accessibility Resources section of this manual for the embedded resources that are available for the Initial ELPAC.
Figure 15. Approvals and Student Test Settings screen
- Test Examiner
Take one of these steps; buttons are shown in figure 16.
- To confirm the settings, select [Set] at the top of the student’s Test Setting screen. The test examiner must still approve the student for testing.
- To add or confirm the settings and approve the student, select the [Set & Approve] button.
- To return to the Approvals and Student Test Settings window without confirming settings, select [Cancel].
Figure 16. Part of the Test Settings page for a selected student
- Test Examiner
If the settings are incorrect, the test examiner should select [Cancel]. The test examiner must report the incorrect test settings such as an accommodation to the site ELPAC coordinator, who will update them as required in TOMS and reschedule the student’s testing. The update, once made, may take up to 24 business hours to appear in the Test Administrator Interface. After a student’s test settings are corrected, the student must sign in and request approval again. For Initial ELPAC, test examiners can a designated support that a student might need for testing directly unto the Test Settings page for the student.
- Test Examiner
For the Listening, Reading and Writing (grade levels three through twelve) domains, have students run the Sound and Video Playback Check.
If audio issues occur, do the following:
- Ensure headphones are securely plugged in to the correct jack or USB port.
- If the headphones have a volume control, ensure the volume is not muted.
- Ensure that the audio on the device is not muted (often via a control panel or settings window). This requires logging off the secure browser to check the device’s volume settings and then logging back on to the secure browser.
- If the student is still experiencing issues, contact the site ELPAC coordinator or school technology coordinator.
The Sound and Video Playback Check page (that is, the screen) appears for tests with audio files (figure 17 ).
Figure 17. Sound and Video Playback Check screen
To check audio and video settings:
- Students play the video and listen to the audio by selecting the [Play] arrow  icon.
- Depending on the sound and video quality, students do one of the following:
- If the student can view the video and hear the sound, students select [I could play the video and sound]. The Instructions and Help page appears.
- If the student cannot view the video and hear the sound, students select [I could not play the video or sound]. The Video Playback Problem page appears, giving students two options:
- Students can select [Try Again]. They will return to the Sound and Video Playback Check page.
- Students can select [Log Out]. The test examiner should troubleshoot the device and headphones or move the student to another device with working audio and video.
If the Speaking test was selected, there will be a Recording Device Check before the Sound and Video Playback Check (figure 18 ). Follow the on-screen instructions to make sure the recording device is working. If the student’s testing device does not have the ability to record, the student may select the [Skip Recording Check] button. Please note that once the test has started, the instance of a red rectangular box with an X in place of the [Microphone] button may indicate either that the device is not capable of recording or that there is a poor network connection. The test may need to be resumed after the issues have been resolved. The Speaking test must still be administered and scored locally.
Figure 18. Recording Device Check page
If the student has the text-to-speech accommodation set up in the test settings screen in TOMS, the Text-to-Speech Sound Check page appears (figure 19). On this page, students verify that TTS is working properly on their device. Students can only use TTS within a supported secure browser. However, because of the nature of Listening, Writing, and Speaking domains, where test questions are audio-recorded or read to students, there is no need for this accommodation to be assigned to a student.
Figure 19. Text-to-Speech Sound Check page
To check TTS functionality:
Students select the [TTS Speaker] speaker  icon and listen to the audio.
- If the voice is clearly audible, students select [I heard the voice].
- If the voice is not clearly audible, students adjust the settings using the sliders and select the [TTS Speaker] icon again.
- If students still cannot hear the voice clearly, they select [I did not hear the voice] and close the secure browser. The test examiner can work with students to adjust their audio or headset settings. They can sign in again when the issue is resolved.
- To continue without testing text-to-speech, students select [Skip TTS Check].
The Instructions and Help page is the last step of the sign-in process (figure 20).
Figure 20. Instructions and Help page
8. Student (continuation) Students may use the Test Settings page to review settings that were approved for the student to use during the test (figure 21 ). Students may use the Help Guide to understand how to navigate the test and use test tools.
Figure 21. Review Test Settings screen
Select [Begin Test Now] (figure 22 ) to begin testing.
Figure 22. Instructions and Help screen
- Test Examiner
Follow the scripts in the DFA as the administration gets underway. Please note, all DFAs contain stopping markers, which are instructions placed at various items. They indicate that the test may be stopped if the student has not answered any questions correctly or has not responded to any questions up until that item. If this occurs, the test examiner should select the [End Test] button at the top left on the student testing interface to log out of the test. No further testing is required for the student in that domain. Continue with the instructions in the next subsections, Monitoring Student Progress and Ending a Test Session. If the question with the stopping marker is answered, then the [End Test] button disappears when the next question appears. When the student has reached the last question in the domain, the [End Test] button will reappear.
Monitoring Student Progress
Test Administrator Site Layout
Figure 23 displays the layout of the Test Administrator site during an active test session.
Figure 23. Test Administrator Interface layout
The following are essential features in the Test Administrator Site:
- Session ID
- [Select Tests] button
- [Approvals] button
- Students in Your Operational Test Session table
Figure 24. Top of Test Administrator Interface screen
|Feature||Description or More Information|
|[Student Lookup] button||This button starts the process to search for student information.|
|[Approved Requests] button||This button displays a list of print requests approved during the current session. Refer to the subsection How to Approve Print Requests.|
|[Print Session] button||This button starts the process to print the session information on the test examiner’s screen.|
|[Help Guide] button||This button displays an online help guide.|
|[Alerts] button||This button displays alert messages from the CDE. Refer to the subsection Alert Messages.|
|[Log Out] button||This button logs the test examiner off the Test Administrator Interface. Refer to the subsection Logging Off.|
|[Stop Session] button||This button ends the existing test session.|
|Session ID*||This section displays the unique ID generated for the test session after the test session has begun.|
|[Enable Screen Saver] button||This button, in the upper-right corner of the Session ID section, enables the screen saver feature. Refer to the subsection Enabling Screen Saver Mode.|
|[Select Tests] button||This button opens the Test Selection window. Refer to the section Test Selection.|
|[Approvals] button||This button opens the Approvals and Student Test Settings window after starting a test session.|
|[Refresh] button||This button updates the on-screen information during a test session.|
|Tests without issue and Test with issues tables||These tables display the testing progress for approved students in the test session. Entries in each table are based on whether or not the student requires assistance with the test session (for example, if a student had submitted a print request). This feature appears after approving students for testing.|
The CDE can send statewide alerts that appear as pop-up messages on the Test Administrator Site. To view a record of active alert messages, such as the sample in figure 25 , select [Alerts] in the Test Administrator Site banner.
Figure 25. Record of alerts
It is very important that test examiners monitor student progress throughout the test session. This includes verifying that students are participating in the appropriate domain and type of test (that is, Initial ELPAC Grades 3–5 Listening Test). The test examiner monitors the test each student is taking by referring to the Tests without issue table in the Test Administrator Interface (figure 26). Note that the list of student names can be sorted by column headings.
Test examiners should verify that they have selected the correct test forms for the student’s correct grade level when starting a test session, and that the student has selected the correct test form and grade level as well. The TDS delivers the correct assessment to the student that is based on the student’s grade level.
In the event a student is taking an incorrect test, the test examiner should pause the student’s test. The test examiner should then instruct the student to log off and log on again to select the correct test. The Test column is indicated in figure 26.
Figure 26. Monitoring student progress in the Test Administrator Interface
How to Monitor Student Testing
A test examiner may also use the Test Administrator Interface to view the testing progress of any student. This screen will not show test questions or scores but will let the test examiner know the percentage of questions that have been delivered to each student.
At the start of the test, all the students in the session are listed in the Tests without issues table. If the Test Administrator Interface detects that a student requires assistance, such as a student has a pending print request or a student’s test has been paused due to an environment security breach or due to the launch of a forbidden application, the Tests with potential issues table appears at the top listing the students who need intervention.
The Progress column is called out in figure 27. Student sessions can be sorted by selecting any of the linked column heads.
Figure 27. Monitoring student status in the Test Administrator Interface
Table 2 describes the columns in the Tests table. To sort the table by a given column, select that column header.
|Student Information||This column displays the first name and last name of the student in the session as well as the SSID associated with the student (as they appear in CALPADS and TOMS).|
|Opp #||This column displays the opportunity number for the student’s selected test. Each student has only one opportunity for each domain.|
|Test||This column displays the name of the test the student selected.|
|Progress||This column displays the student progression through the test that shows the percentage of items presented from the number of items available as well as the questions that were skipped (displays in a different color; not shown in figure 27).|
|Test Status||This column displays the current status for each student in the session such as “Started” or “Paused” (refer to figure 27). Some statuses will include a more info drop-down list, indicated by the [more info]  icon, with additional information such as “The student paused their test by clicking the [Pause] button.”|
This column displays one of the following:
Default: Default test settings are applied for this test opportunity; there were no additional test settings assigned in TOMS for this student.
Custom: One or more of the student’s test settings or universal tools, designated supports, or accommodations differ from the default settings.
To view the student’s settings for the current test opportunity, select [See Details] .
The icons in this column allow performance of an available action for an individual student’s test.
Select the [Pause] double-line  icon to pause a student’s test. When a test pauses, this column displays an information button that opens a pop-up message explaining how the test became paused. For more information, refer to the Pause Rules subsection for information on pause time limits and students’ ability to review previously answered items.
When a student approved for and assigned the print-on-demand designated support requests a printout of a reading passage or other test material, a [Print] button will appear in this column. Select the [Print] button to review and authorize or deny the student’s request. For more information, refer to the subsection How to Approve Print Requests.
Table 3 describes the codes in the Status column of the Tests table.
|Approved||The student has been approved but has not yet started the assessment.|
|Started||The student started the test and is actively testing.|
|Review||The student had gone through all questions and is currently reviewing answers before completing the test.|
|Completed||The student has submitted the test, so the student can take no additional action.|
|Reported*||The test passed quality assurance and is undergoing further processing.|
|Paused*||The student’s test is paused. The time listed indicates how long the test has been paused.|
|Expired*||The test was not completed by the end of the testing window and the opportunity expired.|
|Pending*||The student is awaiting approval for a new test opportunity.|
|Suspended*||The student is awaiting approval to resume a test opportunity.|
* Statuses marked with an asterisk (*) appear when the student is not actively testing. The student’s row grays out in such cases.
Once students have started their computer-based Initial ELPAC test, the test examiner should monitor the room to ensure that all test security conditions are maintained. If the test examiner witnesses or suspects the possibility of a test security incident, the site ELPAC coordinator and LEA ELPAC coordinator should be contacted immediately in accordance with the security guidance provided in the Test Security for the Initial ELPAC section of this manual.
Enabling Screen Saver Mode
Because the student test progress tables in the Test Administrator Interface may contain sensitive student information, such as SSIDs, there is a screen saver built in to the Test Administrator Interface. The screen saver is active in the web browser application window either when the test examiner activates it or after five minutes, if the test examiner is not active in the Test Administrator Interface. It turns off when the test examiner returns the device’s focus to the web browser window by, for example, moving a mouse’s cursor over it. It will also turn off automatically if the test session times out due to test examiner or student inactivity.
The screen saver masking hides data from view and shows the session ID, as presented in figure 28. When students are awaiting approval when the screen saver is active, this information is included under the session ID.
Figure 28. Sample session ID in the Test Administrator Interface screen saver
The test examiner can turn the screen saver on manually by selecting the [Toggle Screen Saver] section of the “Session ID” box at the top of the Test Administrator Interface. The [Toggle Screen Saver] section is at the top-right corner of this box, as indicated in figure 29.
Figure 29. [Toggle Screen Saver] button on the “Session ID” section of the Test Administrator Interface
How to Approve Print Requests
Students using the print-on-demand tool can request printouts of test passages and questions. When students send print requests, the request notification appears in the Tests table (Figure 30). The print-on-demand designated support must be assigned in the test settings in TOMS and is available by preapproval only after the LEA ELPAC coordinator contacts the CalTAC.
To approve print requests:
Select the [Print] printer  icon in the Actions column of the Students in Your Test Session table. The Student Print Request window appears (figure 30 ).
Figure 30. Student Print Request window
- Review the print request and take one of the following actions in the Student Print Request window (figure 30 ):
- To approve the request, select the [Approve] checkmark  icon in the Action column. Proceed to step 3.
- To deny the request, select the [Deny] “X”  icon in the Action column. In the window that appears, enter a brief reason for denying the request and select the [Deny] button. Entering a reason for denial is optional. Do not proceed to step 3.
- A printer dialog box opens with a cover page and the items that were selected to print.
- Select [Print] to print the requested test elements.
Viewing Approved Requests
To view approved requests:
Select [Approved Requests] from the banner at the top of the Test Administrator Interface. The Print Requests window opens (figure 31 ), listing print requests by student.
Figure 31. [Approved Requests] button on Test Administrator Interface
The Approved Requests window opens, listing print requests by student. To print the list of approved requests, select the [Print] button (figure 32 ).
Figure 32. Approved Requests window
Ending a Test Session
After answering the last item in each domain and selecting the [End Test] button—a red square in the top left corner of the screen—each student is presented with the End Test screen prompting the student to review answers for all items available to the student prior to submitting the test. Mark for Review, noted by a blue flag, is provided as a reminder to a student that the student had a question or concern about a particular item. In figure 33, item 10 is marked for review.
Figure 33. End Test screen
The student is permitted to review all items—marked or unmarked—within the constraints of the pause rule. Students may return to a previous question and modify their response if the test was not paused for more than 20 minutes.
Once students have reviewed their answers, must select [Submit Test] on the End Test screen to submit their tests (figure 33). Once students have selected [Submit Test], students will not be able to review answers. In the case of one-on-one administration (kindergarten through grade two and speaking domain), the test examiner selects the [Submit Test] on the End Test screen to submit the tests.
For the Initial ELPAC administration, there are stopping markers for each domain as noted in the Directions for Administration that can be used if needed for one-on-one test administrations. The “Note” upside-down triangle symbol  indicates the stopping marker for a specific domain. If there had been no responses or correct responses up to the stopping marker, the test examiner may stop administering the domain by selecting the [End Test] button at the top of the Student Interface screen to submit the test.
After students submit the test, the Test Summary page (that is, screen) appears, displaying the student’s name, the test name, and the completion date (figure 34).
Figure 34. Test Summary page
Test examiners should select the [Stop] stop sign  icon (figure 31), in the upper-right corner of the Students Awaiting Approval screen, to end the test session. However, ending the test session will pause any student test in the session that is still in progress.
When finished, test examiners can log off the Test Administrator Interface by selecting [Logout as Name] at the top right. Test examiners should also collect any scratch paper and follow procedures for local secure destruction as outlined in the Secure Handling of Printed Materials subsection.
Use caution when logging off the Test Administrator Interface as this will log off other related systems (for example, TOMS). To log off the Test Administrator Interface, select the [Logout as Name] button in the top-right corner of the screen on the Test Administrator Interface system banner (figure 35).
Figure 35. Test Administrator Interface system banner
The session will close and the test examiner will be directed to the ELPAC website after the test examiner logs off.
Following Test Administration
Destroying Test Materials
As a reminder, those printed and paper test materials identified in the Test Security section must be securely destroyed immediately following each test session and may not be retained from one test session to the next. The only exception to this is scratch paper, which should be handled according to the guidance provided in the Handling Secure Printed Materials subsection.
Reporting Testing Improprieties, Irregularities, and Breaches
Throughout testing, ensure that all test security incidents were reported in accordance with the guidelines in the Test Security section in this manual (that is, LEA ELPAC coordinators or site ELPAC coordinators must follow the ELPAC STAIRS/Appeals process in TOMS).