When we created the site back in 1998, we always wanted to create a tool for teachers to help their students. Â One way to encourage students was to introduce game play into the practice question environment. Â Our first game was titled “Head of the Class.” Â It involved students answering questions correctly to be able to advance through different levels of the game. Â There was no arcade game play element, but it was a nice alternative to traditional practice.
The rudimentary game was popular with students and teachers, so we began adding more games. Â Both students and teachers let us know that future games needed more excitement, so we added arcade bonus rounds between questions. Â If you notice, most game scoring is weighted heavier to question performance over bonus arcade play. Â We didn’t want our high score boards to only reflect skilled gamers: Â 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. Â It may be played by two students at different computers. Â So one player may make a move, then player two can respond next period, during lunch, or when he/she gets home. Â Again, our goal was to create an engaging game with the #1 goal of getting students to participate in meaningful question practice.
We hope you and your students enjoy our games, and keep an eye out for more. Â We have a lot of ideas on the way.
Welcome back to another exciting school year.Â We’re starting a new feature on the blog,Â In Focus.Â Each month, we’ll spotlight something of interest and give you an in-depth exploration on that topic.Â This could be based on USATestprep features, subject-specific topics, or educational policy.Â 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.Â 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.Â 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.Â One suggestion is to flag questions that were missed by a large number of students from one test.Â Discuss them in class.Â 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.Â Now, students can test their understanding of the videos.Â Videos and Comprehension Questions can also be assigned to students.Â 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.Â At USATestprep, we’ve started addressing this concern by implementing two new features:Â Free Response Questions and Skill Work.Â Free Response Questions are in-depth application and research questions that assess a student’s deeper understanding on topics.Â 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.Â Skill Work is found in the student practice section. Free Response Questions are accessed in the online resources section.Â Both of these can be tasked to your students with the assignment system.
The new class management system for teachers is similar to a standard grade book.Â Teachers are now able to view student and class progress at a glance on concepts and assigned activities.Â 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.Â But wait, there’s much more to come this fall.Â 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.
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.
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!
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.
Our very popular versus-style game has a new twist. Â 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.
Do you like to dance?
Do you like robots?
We launched a new game that has three levels of finger-tapping joy. Â The game play is simple and educational. Answer three questions correct to advance to the next round of gameplay.
By popular demand, we added the ability for teachers to filter student email results by class. So now teachers may login to view their student email results, choose the class, and only see those results.
Here at USATestprep we dislike spam as much as everyone else. We take great effort to make sure we are CAN-SPAM compliant. If you feel like we are sending you too much email and you would like to opt-out of our mailing list, look for the ‘opt out’ link at the bottom of the emails you receive (see graphic below).
We reworked our matching activity code for students. Â These activities are located in the “OtherÂ Activities” of each content area review. It is now more visuallyÂ appealingÂ to students and easier to use.
New interface features:
- Drag and drop Interface
- Terms are removed from list when used
- You may use your student profiles