USATestprep Blog

Archive for the 'How to' Category

Quick Tips: Badges

Thursday, April 11th, 2013

Our Badges can be a way to reward student activity and achievement on USATestprep. Some badges are assigned automatically by our system, but teachers can assign them to students, as well.

From your Teacher Home page, click the Badges tab.

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You can (1) look at the list of badges that our system automatically assigns to users, but you might want to (2) create your own badge, too.

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When creating a badge, the first step is to enter a title for the badge (3), as well as a brief description. Next, choose the icon (4) you want to show up on the student’s Home page. (For this example, we’ll use the Thumbs Up.)  Then, if you’d like a specific start/end date, (5) pick them from the pop-up calendar. Otherwise, you can just choose to have it Display Indefinitely.

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The last step is to assign the badge. You can give it to specific students (6)  or to an entire class (7). When finished, click “Save Badge.”

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Then, when the student logs in… boom: a badge!

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We hope your students like this feature as much as we liked getting gold stars on our papers back alllll those years ago!

Quick Tips: Dojo

Thursday, April 4th, 2013

Some of us here really, really liked martial arts movies when we were coming up. If you were one of us, then you’re probably familiar with the term “dojo.” If not, dojo refers to either a place of training or a set of training tools used in the martial arts. Though testing can sometimes seem like a contact sport, our Dojo is meant to be far less physically destructive. Our Study Guide Dojo- accessible from the Print Resources section of your Test Subject page- is meant to provide your student(s) with a hard-copy guide of tasks to complete.

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Here, you (1) can determine what activities you- the “Sensei”- would like your student(s)- the “Grasshopper” (2) – to complete. If you want to make a Dojo for the entire class, just leave the Grasshopper information blank. In the Documentation Requested section (3) you can choose how you would like their progress reported to you.

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The Activities section offers lots of choices. If you would like to have the system automatically and randomly select the activities for you, just click USATestprep Quick Pick (4) in the green box. But you will probably prefer to choose which tasks you would like to assign. Simply click from the choices available: (5) Tests, (6) Domain Tests, (7) Question Activities- “practice” activities-, (8) Vocabulary Activities, (9) Online Crosswords, any of our (10) Games, and/or our (11) Skill Work activities. You can also specify (A) if you would like the student(s) to work on all standards in the subject, a specific standard,  or their weakest standard. If you’re asking them to complete a game you can (B) specify <i>which</i> game, and you can also specify which specific Skill Work you would like them to do (C).

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Lastly, you can choose to have your student(s) complete any of our (12) printed activities. Since these printed activities are available only on the teacher side of USATestprep, you will have to print them a copy of these activities ahead of time. These can all be found in the Print Resources section of your Test Subject page. When you’re finished choosing, just click “Create Study Guide.” (12)

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You then be able to view and print the Study Guide Dojo you just created.

 

A few last reminders:

  • The Dojo is not permanently stored in the system, so be sure to make extra copies of it for your records.
  • If you are giving a Dojo to the entire class, the questions will vary from student to student, even if you are having them perform the same activities on the same standard. This is just like any other non-Benchmark test activity on the site.
  • When students begin an activity, they should still have the option to report the scores to you. As long as you have already created a class and associated that class with the relevant Test Subject, they will see your name from a pull-down menu on the first step of the process.

 

You can always watch the How To video on the Study Guide Dojo, available under the “Print Resources” section of the How To Videos. If you have more questions, just give us a call or email.

Quick Tips: Parent Letters

Thursday, March 28th, 2013

Parent Letters (Mar. 28)

Sometimes parents aren’t aware that their child has access to USATestprep, or even that the school has an account. We have a pre-made way for you to let them know that this valuable resource exists to them.

 

On  your Teacher Home page, you can print off two versions of our “Parent Letters.” Just click the cleverly-named “Parent Letters” link on the right.

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You will see a pdf document for two options: a “Warm” and a “Stern” letter.

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Both say some of the same things, but while the “Warm” letter simply lets the parents know about upcoming testing and your school’s subscription to USATestprep, the “Stern” letter lets them know that their child has not been doing as well, and that remediation is paramount importance.

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Each letter can be printed and handed out to the student(s). But if you would like to tweak or personalize the message, feel free to “cut-and-paste” the text into a word processing document and edit it as you see fit.

 

We hope this adds a layer of accountability and documentation to your efforts to prepare all of your students for their demanding tests.

Quick Tips: Archiving Results

Thursday, March 21st, 2013

If you find that your Student Results tab has far too many entries for your liking,  you can always Archive them. This is kind of like a virtual file cabinet: you’re just moving them out of your way to another place that you don’t always see.

 

When viewing the Student Results tab, you’ll notice a blue Archive button. Clicking this button…

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… will remove it from the Current results you see automatically when viewing the Student Results tab.  To view archived results, click the button next to “Archived,” then press Go.

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You will then have access to all of the student results you have Archived. They’re still in our system and they still “count,” even though you don’t see them immediately. To change the status of a result, simply click the blue Unarchive button and it will once again appear on the Student Results tab as “Current.”

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Quick Tips: Need Some Extra Help?

Thursday, March 14th, 2013

From time to time we all need a little assistance, maybe a little more than this humble blog can provide. If you ever need help using USATestprep, you’ve got lots of options, and they can also be found on your Teacher Home page.

 

1. We have dozens of brief How-To Videos on the site. These look at specific tools and tasks found on the site, and are meant to instruct you quickly and easily.

2. You can also click the Training link to look at our other options for helping your faculty use USATestprep.

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Here, you will find many different opportunities for our staff to instruct you and your fellow teachers about the tools on USATestprep. From webinars to onsite training, we’ve got you covered.

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And, of course, you can email or call us. We’ll help you out!

Quick Tips: Tournament Time

Thursday, February 28th, 2013

Its almost that time again: time for basketball tournaments to monopolize  sports- and news- headlines around the country. You can take advantage of the excitement by having your own tournament with our original two player game, SGKS: Super Graduation Kombat Smackdown. You can find it under the Games tab on either the Teacher or Student site in each test subject.

But you can also print out tournament-style brackets to make the game even more interesting. You can find this on your teacher Home page. Just look for “Tournament Brackets” on the right in yellow box.

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A pdf file will open up with tournament brackets for 4, 8, 16, and 32 players.

Bring out the competitive side of your students by using SGKS- or any of our games- and these brackets, not just in March but all year long!

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Quick Tips: Edit Account

Thursday, February 21st, 2013

At some point you may need to change something very basic in your account. You might decide to change your password during the year. Or maybe your school has changed your email address or you might want to change it to something else. Theses are very easy tasks that you can handle quickly.

Just look for the Edit Account link under your avatar on your Home page.

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You can alter your salutation, make any name changes, and insert a new email address. If you see a message like the one shown in the graphic (1), it means that emails sent to you have been rejected by your server.  You will definitely want to update your email and click the “Re-enable Emails” box.”

In addition to changing your other login information (Username, Password, etc) and changing your avatar (on the right), you can now change the email preferences (2) that allow communication to your email address. Here you can choose to have a nightly email summary of student activity sent to your inbox, receive announcements from USATestprep, get reports about your school’s monthly usage, and get expiration notices.

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BE SURE to click the green “Save Changes” button to apply any alterations you have made.

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Easy cheesy!

Quick Tips: Password Search

Thursday, February 14th, 2013

[Disclaimer: This would probably NEVER happen to YOUR students.]

Occasionally a student may forget his or her password. Any teacher with a USATestprep account can help a student if this happens.

 

From your Home page, click the “Student Password Search” link on the right side of the page.

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Next, simply type in the student’s name. It could be the student’s first name or last name.

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When you find the name, click the student’s name, then  the Search button. You will then see the Username and Password for the student you selected. You can even print a password card for them.

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So if you know anyone who ever experiences this trauma, you may want to let them know about this handy feature.

Quick Tips: Adding New Students

Thursday, January 31st, 2013

At the start of a new semester you might find that you have to add or remove students to or from an existing class. Fortunately, student management is a pretty easy task.

From your Classes tab, find the class you need to add students to, then click “Manage Class” on the right

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On the new window, click the green “Edit Class” button on the right.

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If need be, you can edit the name of the class or the test subjects associated with that class. Whether or not you make changes, click the green “Continue” button when ready.

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On the next screen you will see “Students in This Class” on the left. To remove  (1) a student from your class, click the red X.  You have a few choices to add students. You can (2) click the “Suggest” button. This will create a list of students that have reported scores to you in the past 12 months. You can also (3) click on any letter of the alphabet to see student accounts sorted by last name. Or you can (4) click the “+ Search” link to search for students by their first or last name. Regardless of the option you choose, to add as student to your class, click the blue “+ Add” link (5). When finished, click the green “Save and Close” button.

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After that… you’re done! If a student has never used USATestprep before, he/she will need to have an account created before he/she can be added. Please refer to our earlier Blog entry about doing this, or check out our How To Videos from your Home page.

Quick Tips: Sharing a Class

Thursday, January 17th, 2013

If you are the primary teacher of a class, you can now share access to that class with another teacher who uses USATestprep. This feature was created to help team teaching environments.

To share a class with another teacher, go to your Classes tab, find the class (in this case “1st  Period” and click the green “Manage Class” button on the right.

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You can either click the “Secondary Teacher: Select Teacher” link or click the green “Edit Class” button.  In either case, you will be asked if you want to share your class with another teacher. Here is the view from seeing it by choosing the “Secondary Teacher: Select Teacher” link…

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… and the “Edit Class” link.

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Once you choose who you want to share your class with, be sure to confirm and save your changes. When finished, you can go back to the Classes tab on your Home page. There you will see a pink S  next to the class you have shared with another teacher. In this example, you can also see a grayed-out class with an S next to it. That is a class that has been shared WITH you. Any “shared” teacher will be able to view class gradebook, report card, and other class functionality. All student data is reported to the primary teacher and the shared teacher will not be able to create assignments for the class.

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We heard your voice when asking for this new feature and have worked to make it a reality. If you have any feedback on this, please do not hesitate to let us know.

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