USATestprep Blog

Archive for the 'How to' Category

Quick Tips: Emailing Student Results

Thursday, September 13th, 2012

Now that your students are back in class and using USATestprep, you’ll want to track their progress. Of course, you can do this by using the Student Results tab on your Teacher Home page. But you can also have these results sent directly to your email’s inbox.

All you have to do is:

1. Click the Student Results tab.

2. Check the Receive Nightly Email Results box.

Checking this box will create an automated email from our system each night (around 2am Eastern) containing detailed data regarding all of your students’ results for the past 24 hours.

 

You might want to take a moment, as well, to verify that your email address is accurate and up to date. You can do this by clicking Edit Account underneath your avatar on your Teacher Home page.

 

One last thing: students will NOT be able to email you directly. They will not be able to see or access your email address through USATestprep.

 

 

Quick Tips: Create a Class

Thursday, September 6th, 2012

Creating a class is an easy and necessary step in using USATestprep. By creating a class, you can not only assign students tasks- from the Assignments tab- but you can associate your name with a test subject.

Why is this important? By doing this simple step, students will be able to see your name from a pull down list when completing an activity such as a test, practice activities, or games. This will allow you to see their scores on all of these activities. If you ever hear a student say that they didn’t see your name in such a list, this is the reason why.

To Create a new class:

1.Click the Classes tab.

2.Click the “Create New Class” link.

3.Then type in a name for your class…

4.…and pick the test subjects that you want to associate with that class.

5.The final step is to add students to your class. (You do not have to do this in order to create a class, though: you can always add them later.) You can search for students who have created an account on USATestprep in a few ways. A) You can search by the first letter of their last name (click on the appropriate letter) or B) you can Search by typing in their first, last, or full name.

6.To add a student, just click “+ Add.”

7.You will see all enrolled students on the left.

8.Once you have added everyone, click the green Save and Close button. You’re done!

Quick Tips: Data Management

Monday, July 30th, 2012

Just a reminder: Each August 1 we move around the data from the previous year in order to make the site run more smoothly. Here is what we do:

  • All test results are archived (for 1 year).
  • All practice and game results are deleted.
  • All data deleted by teachers is permanently expunged.
  • All data over 1 year old is expunged.
    We do NOT:
  • Delete classes.
  • Delete students.
  • Change teacher/account information.
    If you need more information about this policy, simply click the “Need Help” link at the top of any page, then the “Downloads” tab. Our “Data Management Policy” can be viewed, downloaded, and/or printed.

    And of course, if you have any questions please let us know.

Quick Tips: Activities

Friday, May 18th, 2012

As you probably already know, there is much, much more to USATestprep than multiple choice questions. But if you haven’t explored the other options, be sure to look at the Activities under the Print Resources section of your Test Subject page.


When you click on Activities, you’ll see a wide range of worksheets that can be printed and used in your class. Clicking on the image of the worksheet will bring up the printable copy for you. Just below that, you can print off a key for your records, or give us any feedback about the activity. Have a worksheet or two that you think other students and teachers could use? Just click on the link on the right to see the Opportunities for selling us your worksheets!

Quick Tips: Exporting Results

Wednesday, May 16th, 2012

You can always download student results and save them to your hard drive or your network.


When you look under your “Student Results” tab (1) on your Teacher Home page, you will see Export on the left. First, make sure you select the appropriate Class, Activity, Date range, and any other variables that are appropriate. Next, Choose which version of Excel you have on your computer (2), then click the Export button.


These results will automatically download to your computer. Depending on your computer settings, Excel may open automatically, but you might have to manually start it on your own. The results are sortable and editable to suit your needs. Of course, it helps to have some prior use of Excel, but this might be something to ask your I.T. department about.


Even though it goes without saying, we’ll say it anyway: if you have any questions, just email or call us.

Quick Tips: Favorites

Monday, May 14th, 2012

Ever see a question on USATestprep that you wanted to put on a benchmark test? Ever wanted to put your OWN questions on a benchmark test? Well, you can do both of those things by utilizing our “Favorites” feature.


If you see a question that you’d like to remember for another day, look for the “Add to Favorites” link underneath the question.


This will automatically add the question to your Favorites tab on your teacher home page. Here you can see both the USATestprep question you’ve tagged as favorites AND any questions of your own that you’ve input.


Clicking on the My Questions link, will allow you to add your own questions on the site. Choose “Add Question” and you start a 3 part step to adding a question. First, chose the Test Subject (1)you want the question to be a part of. Note: you must have already created a class that is associated with that test subject. Then choose the (2)standard with which the question will be associated. (Nomenclature in your state may vary from the example shown.) When finished, click the “Continue” button.


Next, input your question. You can assign an image (1) to your question. Just click the box and upload your jpg, png, or gif file. If the question needs a prompt or a passage, input it in the (2) prompt box. The text of your question (3) goes in the next box, and the choices (4) can be input underneath. BE SURE to choose (5) the correct answer… very important! If you want to include an explanation like other questions on USATestprep, input it (6) in the Explanation/Feedback box. You may also notice that you can use HTML tags by clicking on the (7) yellow HTML button. The button is associated specifically with the field to which it is adjacent. If you don’t wish to do this, simple ignore them. Once you’ve completed this step, click “Review Question.”


Then proof your work. If you need to revise it, (1) click the “Edit Question” link. If it looks perfect to you, (2) click the Submit Question button and it will be saved on your Favorites Tab.


The next time you create a Benchmark test in this test subject, you can add that question in third step of the process. Click “Replace With Similar Question” link…


… then choose (1) the “Favorites” tab on the next modal window. You will see relevant questions (2) you’ve entered- and you’ll also have access to USATestprep Questions (3) that you’ve previously tagged. When see the question you want to insert, just click (4) the green “Choose Question” button.


The system automatically replaces the old question with this new one. You can also see this is a question that YOU created: look at the apple!


You should note that when you create a question only YOU will have access to it. Yes, we store it for you, but no other teachers- not in any other school or even within your school- will be able to add it into their own benchmark tests, nor will it show up in their practice questions. Your question is only for you.


If you ever have any questions about this process, don’t hesitate to lest us know.

Quick Tips: Parent Letters

Friday, April 20th, 2012

Need to let your students’ parents know about your school’s USATestprep account? Would a reminder about reviewing for state testing be a good thing to let them know on the “home front”? We’ve got you covered.

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


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


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.


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: Badges

Thursday, April 12th, 2012

Badges are a way to reward student activity and achievement on USATestprep. Some badges are assigned automatically by our system, but you can assign them to students, too.


From your Teacher Home page, click the Badges tab.


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.


In the first step, enter a title (1) for the badge and (2) a brief description. Next, choose the icon (3) you want to show up on the student’s Home page. (For this example, we’ll use the four leaf clover.) Then, if you’d like a specific start/end date, (4) pick them from the pop-up calendar. Otherwise, you can just choose to have it Display Indefinitely.


The last step is to assign the badge. You can give it to an entire class or a specific student.


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


We hope your students like this feature as much as we liked getting gold stars on our papers back… way back… in the olden days!

Quick Tips: Study Guide Dojo

Thursday, March 29th, 2012

Like us, if you ever watched any of the old Kung Fu movies that were so popular “back in the day,” 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 slightly less… physical. 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.

 

Here, (1) you can determine what activities you- the “Sensei”- would like (2) your student(s)- the “Grasshopper”- 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.

 

The Activities sections 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” (1) in the green box. But you will probably prefer to choose which tasks you would like to assign. Simply click from the choices available: (2) Tests, (3) Domain Tests, (4) Question Activities- “practice” activities-, (5) Vocabulary Activities, (6) Online Crosswords, any of our (7) Games, and/or our (8) 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 which game, and you can also specify which specific Skill Work you would like them to do (C).

 

Lastly, you can choose to have your student(s) complete any of our (1) 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.” (2)

 

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

 

A few last reminders:

  • The dojo, however, 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: Free Response

Thursday, March 22nd, 2012

USATestprep not only has a database of over 40,000 multiple choice questions. We also have many Free Response questions for High School English, Math, and many Science subjects.

To find these, look on your Test Subject page, in the Online Resources category. If your subject has them, they will be here:


When you click the link, you will see the Free Response topics we have within that test, sorted by your state standards. Clicking the symbol will expand those standards and reveal all of the topics we have. From here you can 1) Print a copy to hand to students to complete manually, 2) View and print an answer key, and 3) Assign the topic to your students to be completed online.


If you choose the Assign the topic, you will be taken through the Assignment process, just like you would if you were creating an Assignment from the Teacher Home Page. Be sure, in Step 2- Choose Assignment”- to specify a point value at the bottom of the page. You can toggle the points from 1 to 100 by clicking the pull-down option.


The assignment will show up on your students’ Home page, ready for completion. After it has been completed, you will be able to access it and grade it via the Assignments tab on your Home page.


The Free Response option will allow you to test your students’ knowledge outside of the standard multiple choice arena. Please let us know if you have any questions or comments.

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