USATestprep Blog

Archive for the 'New Features' Category

2 New Products and a New Game

Monday, August 6th, 2012

USATestprep is pleased to announce three new additions to our family. Georgia subscribers can now access American Literature and Composition (CCGPS) and 9th Grade Literature and Composition (CCGPS). If you already subscribe to our English bundle you have full access to this.


Today also marks the appearance of “The Great Revealio.” Not only is this our newest game, but it is our first completely mobile- and tablet-friendly game. All users can find “Revealio” in the Games section right now. Give it a try!

Auto-Save Feature

Tuesday, July 24th, 2012

USATestprep now has an Auto-Save feature built in to our system.

If your students are ever taking a test and the power goes out or if there is a sudden interruption in service, all of their progress will not be lost. Our system now saves the work a student is doing on a test every 10 seconds. If something unforeseen happens, students will receive this message when they log back on to USATestprep:

This should add a little peace of mind for you and your students, especially when storms are rolling through!

New Features!

Thursday, March 8th, 2012

We’ve just added a few new features to USATestprep that you should know about.

We’ve just added lots of new avatars for teachers and students. Users can now choose from a devious but handsome Rat, a conniving T-Rex, two new Teacher options (but only for teachers), a Chicken Overlord, a hungry Caterpillar, and a beautiful Butterfly.


A few of these characters can even be seen in our brand new projector-based game, Time Bus. It will remind you of those days of playing board games as a kid, but now you can go it online using your LCD projector while reviewing important curriculum with your students. Be sure to check out the How-To video we have on this new game.


Finally, you’ve always been able to merge a student’s multiple accounts as an Account Admin. Now our “Student Merge Suggestor” will help you out. Clicking that option will enable you to merge many accounts for many students with a simple mouse click. Again, please check out our How-To Video on this new feature.


We know these tools will make using the site a little more colorful, fun, and easy. Let us know if you have any comments or questions.

We’ve Gone Mobile!

Monday, January 9th, 2012

USATestprep is thrilled to announce the launch of our Mobile site.

If you have a smartphone or tablet with an iOS or Android operating system, just direct it to m.usatestprep.com. There you will see the mobile companion for our website.
 

Simply type in your SchoolID, Username, and Password, and you’re in. You can access the Question of the Day and Vocabulary of the Day, and you can answer some Practice Questions from any of the subjects to which your school subscribes.
 

You can also play Class Party, a clicker-based review that is set up by teachers. This turns your mobile device into a remote clicker: you use it to answer questions in a classroom setting.

For more information about these new features you can check out the brief instructional videos by clicking on the How To videos on your Home page. Please let us know what you think about them!

In Focus: USATestprep Game Philosophy

Thursday, December 8th, 2011

When we created the site back in 1998, we always wanted to create a tool for teachers to help their students.  One way to encourage students was to introduce game play into the practice question environment.  Our first game was titled “Head of the Class.”  It involved students answering questions correctly to be able to advance through different levels of the game.  There was no arcade game play element, but it was a nice alternative to traditional practice.

Head of the Class

The rudimentary game was popular with students and teachers, so we began adding more games.  Both students and teachers let us know that future games needed more excitement, so we added arcade bonus rounds between questions.   If you notice, most game scoring is weighted heavier to question performance over bonus arcade play.  We didn’t want our high score boards to only reflect skilled gamers:  you must be skilled and do well on the questions.

Our latest game to be released, Arrrrrmagedddon, is a brand new type of two player game.  It may be played by two students at different computers.   So one player may make a move, then player two can respond next period, during lunch, or when he/she gets home.  Again, our goal was to create an engaging game with the #1 goal of getting students to participate in meaningful question practice.

Arrrrrrramageddon

We hope you and your students enjoy our games, and keep an eye out for more.  We have a lot of ideas on the way.

In Focus: New Features

Friday, September 9th, 2011

Welcome back to another exciting school year.  We’re starting a new feature on the blog,  In Focus.  Each month, we’ll spotlight something of interest and give you an in-depth exploration on that topic.  This could be based on USATestprep features, subject-specific topics, or educational policy.  This month, our first, focuses on the new features we spent much of the summer modifying and developing – based on the helpful feedback we’ve heard from you in the past.  Hope you enjoy.

Benchmark Testing Changes
Teachers can now flag questions from our database as a “favorite”. You can also author and add your own questions, these will be saved to your own personal folder.  After questions have been identified, it is very easy to go to your personal favorites and add these to any benchmark quiz or test that you create.  One suggestion is to flag questions that were missed by a large number of students from one test.  Discuss them in class.  Then, add the exact same question to a future test.

Instructional Video Enhancements
In addition to adding hundreds of new instructional videos this summer, we have also added comprehension questions to our entire catalog of videos.  Now, students can test their understanding of the videos.  Videos and Comprehension Questions can also be assigned to students.  This is an excellent way to reinforce techniques when the teacher is out of the classroom.

Free Response and Skill Work
One of the most important principles that is coming out of the Common Core Standards is the need for higher order assessment.  At USATestprep, we’ve started addressing this concern by implementing two new features:  Free Response Questions and Skill Work.  Free Response Questions are in-depth application and research questions that assess a student’s deeper understanding on topics.  Skill Work activities are a broad range of exercises that ask students to apply their understanding of a concept to classify, order, or label items properly.  Skill Work is found in the student practice section. Free Response Questions are accessed in the online resources section.  Both of these can be tasked to your students with the assignment system.

Class Management
The new class management system for teachers is similar to a standard grade book.  Teachers are now able to view student and class progress at a glance on concepts and assigned activities.  Teachers will also be able to print reports for students or classes to use for reference or documentation purposes.

All of this is in addition to our standard summer development schedule that includes adding hundreds of new questions and re-aligning for any new standards.  But wait, there’s much more to come this fall.  Keep your eyes on the site for other new additions including improvements to district user features, an enhanced assignment system and a new, and improved, chicken.

Think or Swim!

Friday, February 4th, 2011

We have added another new game: Think or Swim! It is not only our first projector game but our first team game, as well.

Multiple teams can compete in a review of 3 to 5 elements. Sets of 5 multiple choice and 2 vocabulary are automatically generated for each element. Students jus write down their team answers- we provide printable sheets- and the teacher keeps track of the results right on the site.

Be sure to check out Think or Swim! today! Just look under the “Online Resources” section of your subject’s home page.

Projector Mode Questions

Wednesday, February 2nd, 2011

You may have noticed something new under the “Online Resources” on your subject-specific page:

If you have an LCD-type projector in your classroom, you can now use USATestprep to give 5 or 10 question quizzes to the entire class. Questions will display for a set amount of time, rotating automatically through. We even provide an answer key and a student handout for you.

Be sure to check out this new feature!

Training Available

Thursday, February 18th, 2010

If you’re new to USATestprep or just need some refreshers about the site and our services, we’ve got you covered. We offer free public webinars to go over some of our most popular features, personal online webinars, and even on-site training. Please check out our website to see the specifics of these options: when you log in, look for “Training” under the “Help” category.

Thanks!

Super Graduation Combat Smackdown Change

Thursday, December 3rd, 2009

Our very popular versus-style game has a new twist.  Now, you can play the game at the test level or choose a single content area within a test.

This allows the game to be playable all year long, not just during test preparation time.

Go Zombie!

Super Graduation Smackdown

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