Tips:

  • How can I view the answer key for a test?
    • This depends:
    • If a benchmark, go to the Benchmarks tab —> Options menu —> Answer Key
      • The answers will be bolded
      • Explanations for all answers are also available
    • If a practice test (small, medium, large, full, or domain test), then those tests are randomly-generated for every student —> NO answer key
    • If a teacher asks how to see the questions the students have, explain that since practice tests, practice questions, and vocabulary are all randomly-generated, there’s no way to preview the exact questions
      • A teacher can certainly go to the Options menu —> Preview to see what the assignment will be like, but the questions will vary each time
      • If a teacher wants the ability to see the exact questions that students will have, then direct him/her to creating a benchmark

New Features:

  • Not exactly a feature, but we’ve added some copy on the login page to help with auto-fill issues

member-login-usatestprep-inc

  • Coming later this month… …Test Drive, a new racing game in your Game Arcade!usatestprep-ambassadors-1
  • “Assignment Submitted” message: 
    • There’s nothing to prevent students from opening a test or benchmark in two different tabs or browsers.  Before this change, students could submit the test in each tab (even if the assignment only allowed 1 attempt), thereby creating confusion and frustration for teachers.  
      • Why do students have multiple results for this benchmark?  
      • Why is the benchmark result in a different column in my gradebook? 
      • How did the benchmark become disconnected from the assignment?  
      • Why is the line you’re in always the slowest?  
      • Can money really buy happiness?  
      • Does toast really always fall buttered-side down?  
      • Does Sean secretly enjoy Tech Tuesdays?
    • Well, not so fast multiple-tab-students!
    • Students can still open and save a test in multiple tabs/ browsers.  BUT, there’s now a check in place upon submitting.  If the test or benchmark has already been submitted and met the number of attempts allowed by the teacher, then they receive the message “Assignment Submitted”
    • If a student calls to complain that he/ she saw that message, then you will be able to find that test or benchmark already completed in Graded Work.  I guarantee it.
    • There are a couple of loopholes (these will be addressed at a later time):
      • Benchmarks within a group assignment —> workaround is to only assign benchmarks as single assignments
      • Students manually removing the assignment ID from the URL —> in this case, if the benchmark no longer has the assignment ID attached to it, we know that the student was intentionally causing that to happen

Assignment writing can be a real drag, but it doesn’t have to be. If your students can develop the right habits and learn the right tricks to writing a great assignment, the whole process becomes a lot easier. The internet is a great place to find resources and tools to help you out, so check out these nine tools to help your students get the most out of their writing.

  1. Paraphrasing Tool: You want to use the work and research of experts in your essay, to strengthen your arguments and solidify your point of view. However, you need to be careful not to write in their work verbatim. It can look as though you’ve not put the effort in, and can even lead to plagiarism accusations. This tool lets you paste the text in and gets suggestions for paraphrasing them, so you can include them without worry.Male student working on report in library
  2. Boom Essays: The best way to proofread your work is to have someone else read it for you. However, sometimes you just don’t have time or someone with the right experience to get it done. When this is the case, you can call on this writing service. They’ll read your work over, and even edit it if needed.
  3. Plagiarisma: Are you worried that your essay may get picked up for plagiarism? Paste it into this tool, and it will tell you if any sections will trigger plagiarism checks. You can then edit them before your deadline.
  4. EssayRoo: Most students don’t have infinite free time to get their assignments done. They’re working, raising families, or caring for loved ones. If you’re short on time and can’t get your essay done, you can hire the professionals from this service to help you. They’re highly qualified and will consult you so you could write the perfect essay for your assignment.
  5. EasyBib: Bibliographies carry marks, and most students lose marks on these. This tool allows you to put in the books you use, and generates a bibliography for you.
  6. Proofread Bot: No matter how much you read your essay over, you can still miss errors in your writing. The best way to get around this is to use this tool. Paste your essay into the text box, and it will highlight any errors that it finds in your work. You can correct them easily from here, and then copy the corrected text back into your essay.
  7. University Tutor: If you need a help to handle your coursework assignment, this site offers some of the most qualified tutors around. You can browse their portfolios, so you can choose a tutor that has the expertise in academic writing. This way, you know you’ll write an original essay that will get you the marks you need.
  8. Thesis Generator: Planning essays can be something of a nightmare for some students. This tool helps you create an essay plan quickly and easily. Simply follow the steps and answer the questions given, and you’ll have a plan made especially for you.
  9. LucidChart: If you need to create flowcharts in your assignments, this tool is the best one to use. It works with almost any operating system, and they look slick and professional with only a few minutes work.

Try these tools when your class needs some help writing your next assignment. They’ll help students develop skills and become better writers. You’ll be surprised at how quickly your students’ grades will improve with just a little extra effort put in. As any teacher knows, anything that makes writing easier has got to be a good thing.

Student Dot Rank Settings

  • On any content area page, students can track their own progress and proficiency.
  • Proficiency is displayed using Dot Rank, our system of green, orange, pink, and grey dots.
  • Students have two options to calculate their Dot Rank scores — best practice question set only or cumulative total of all test, benchmark, and practice questions.
  • New easy toggle at the top of the page makes it easy to switch views.
  • Click on the Dot Rank link to view scoring breakdown for each color dot.
  • Vocabulary, performance tasks, and videos are tracked through the Progress bar.

Watch a video about the Dot Rank settings.

screen-shot-2016-11-04-at-2-23-17-pm

Did You Know…?

screen-shot-2016-11-04-at-2-25-38-pm

 

The day after a test, every math teacher has heard this student complaint:

“But I did all my homework, and I got the problems right! How could I have made a 50 on the test?”

Of course, the question is usually intended to advertise the student’s powerful work ethic, and perhaps to give the teacher a twinge of guilt for having flunked him.

On the other hand, if the student really has been working hard on the homework, then there may be some easy adjustments he can make to improve his results. Ask these questions:

  • Are you making yourself too comfortable when you work?

A common mistake is for students to work on math problems in too relaxed a posture. They should be sitting at a desk, with minimal distractions, and working the problems exactly as if they were testing.

  • Do you have too many reference aids? Are you using your notes, homework problems, formula sheets, stuffed animals, Twitter buddies, etc.?

Students often practice with far more assistance than they will have on the test. Stress to them that EVERY problem should be attempted — at least to begin with — as though it were being done on a test. Students should get as far as they can and then, if they get stuck, try to get just enough information to continue the problem, but no more. They may have to resort to little “tricks” to make this happen; for example, covering the bottom part of a solution so as to see only the next step, or asking a friend to tell them what the next step is, etc.

  • Are you checking every problem — NOT by looking at a solution, but on your own?

It is just as important to practice the checking process as it is to practice the solving process. On a test you do not have a place to look to see quickly whether your answers are right — you have to decide if your answer is reasonable and check it on your own. Do this every time to develop this extremely useful habit! You may be surprised at how many of your own errors you can catch, and learn from.

The goal of all these items is the same: Complete all your practice as if you are working on a test. Do not fool yourself into thinking you are “getting them all right” when, in fact, you are only getting them after checking your notes, trying ten formulas from your sheet, calling two friends (including Uncle Frank, the math professor), and posting a request on a homework help site.

All Practice Is Test Practice!

larry-headshotAbout the Author
A former math teacher in Georgia, Larry Coty is now USATestprep’s Math Content Team Leader. He has two daughters and resides in Tucker, GA.

new_view_teacher1Do You Love Using USATestprep?

Would you like to receive free perks and be recognized for your passion? Then check out USATestprep’s new Ambassador Program. Our Ambassadors help spread the word and educate teachers about USATestprep. In exchange, Ambassadors are rewarded with free swag, online recognition, first-to-know status, access to our super user community, and more!

Go here to request exclusive access.

Every year USATestprep hosts user meetings throughout the country to help you, our customers, get the most from your USATestprep experience.  This January we have added a few new locations to ensure that more educators are able to take advantage of these training events.

All events are from 8:30am-12:30pm and include a certificate for 4 hours of professional development, a continental breakfast break, and USATestprep swag. Cost is $65 per person. Be sure to bring your laptop or tablet to the training.

These user meetings are a great time of instruction and Q&A for:

  • New users, seeking a feature overview
  • Experienced users, looking to improve their experience
  • Teachers, who want to maximize our classroom resources
  • Administrators, who want to track class and school performance

These events are for teachers and administrators who want to:

  • Become familiar with USATestprep’s capabilities
  • Learn how to use newly-released features
  • Get the most out of USATestprep at a classroom, building, or district level
User Meeting Schedule

January

felicia-shotDiscover how to utilize USATestprep through classroom stations. You’ll learn about five key stations that can be used in your classroom. Join USATestprep expert and former teacher, Felicia Zorn, live to learn about these five, student-centered stations that will transform your teaching approach.

The Token System is Here!

  • Students earn tokens for completing assignments and independent practice activities
  • Students earn varying amounts of tokens based on performance and type of activity
  • Students do not earn tokens for benchmark assessments
  • Students can spend tokens to play games in the new arcade
  • Students have free play games to choose from as well, but those games incorporate questions
  • Teachers can check a student’s token history and even lock the game arcade when necessary
  • Many games have transitioned to the new arcade, which means fewer options within the assignment system

Watch the video below to learn more about the token system:

Free Response

Need to add your own free response questions? Now you can! In Step 3 when creating a benchmark, click the button to author a new question. Decide between multiple choice and free response, then input your question. If adding a free response question, an answer key and keywords are optional.

The token system and game arcade are now live!  If you don’t have an account and would like to preview the token system, go here to signup for a trialHere are the basics for what you need to know. 

FAQs:

Why the change?

We found that students were rushing through game questions just to play the game.  With the new token system, students have more incentive to pay attention to the questions and do their best.  Students earn tokens based on their score and type of activity.  For example, students earn more tokens for a test versus a video.

So, now students can go to the arcade and just play games with no questions?  How is that educational?

Students must earn tokens to play the games; therefore, they must have completed some sort of activity on the site.  For the free play games that cost zero tokens, students have to answer questions within the game.

What is the difference between a game that costs tokens and a free play game?

Free play games have questions built in whereas token games have no questions, just good old fun.

How can students earn tokens?

Students earn tokens by completing practice questions, vocabulary activities, performance tasks, videos, and crossword puzzles.  These activities can either be assigned or independently completed on a student’s test landing page. Some students will start off with tokens.  This is a result of their test landing progress. Students receive a token for each checkmark earned per element. On first page load, it will credit them with those tokens. It will NOT credit them for past individual tokens earned.

Can students earn tokens for benchmarks?

No, students do not earn tokens for benchmarks.

Why can’t I assign a game in a single assignment?

We are transitioning students to go to the arcade to play games as a reward for completing work on the site.  Games can still be assigned through the group assignment system; however, game options are limited there.

Why are group assignment games limited?

Many games have already been transitioned to the arcade system since they no longer have questions built into them.  The group assignment games are single player options that still have questions as part of the game.

What happens to existing assignments with games?

Any existing assignments with games remain exactly the same.  Nothing was changed with existing assignments.

thumb_Screen Shot 2016-09-07 at 10.28.10 AM_1024

Be among the first to learn about USATestprep’s new token system and game arcade. The soon-to-be-released arcade and token system will motivate your students and make learning more fun for all!

In this webinar you’ll get answers to these questions:potion

  • Why was the token system developed?
  • How do students earn tokens?
  • What can students spend tokens on?
  • How does the new game arcade work?

Reserve Your Space – Register Today for One of these Sessions:

Tuesday, 9/13 @ 10:00 AM ET

Wednesday, 9/21 @ 3:00 PM ET

Click here to register.

We’ll cover the same information in both sessions, so you need only register for one date. The webinar will last 20-30 minutes.