Congratulations on making it to the end of another school year. We trust it was a successful one and that we helped you to prepare your students accordingly. As the school year concludes we wanted to make you aware of two things.
Data Management Policy
Before the start of each school year, we do move around some data within our system. We do not delete users – that is a job left for school admins – but some data older than 1 year will be deleted. For complete details, please refer to our data management policy located here in the Help section in the “Downloads” tab.
2016 User Survey
Over 1,600 educators from across 23 states completed our survey. 98% of these respondents felt that USATestprep helped their students review for their tests. We are very proud of this statistic.
Congratulations to Our Winners
These survey-takers had their names drawn and will each receive a $50 Gift Card:
Rae from South Carolina
Marilyn from Pennsylvania
Phillip from Tennessee
As always, thanks for using USATestprep, and have a great summer!
Do schools in low–income areas perform badly on tests? What about schools in areas where only a small percentage of adults have a college degree? Or schools in communities where most residents rent rather than own?
These are questions we hoped to answer as we studied data from over 8,000 students in 42 randomly-selected schools. Below are details on our research.
Methodology and Sample Size
Test scores were collected from 8,031 middle school and high school students in 42 randomly selected schools from 5 states. These schools are in both major metropolitan areas and rural communities. The average per capita income for the zip codes of the 42 schools is $25,102, or about 12% less than the national average. The test scores came from the subject areas of Reading, Science, ELA, and History. Per capita income data came from Census.gov. Data on owner-occupied housing came from ZipWho.com. Data on college degrees came from the WashingtonPost.
After compiling and analyzing the test scores, we did not find what we expected – at the outset. While there are some exceptions, most data indicates that low income correlates with lower test scores.
Little or no research has been done on the correlation between schools in areas with a high percentage of rentals versus a high percentage of owner-occupied dwellings. Also, we have been unable to find any previously published data on the correlation between the percent of college-educated adults in a community and that community’s test scores.
The test scores used in this article have been taken from assessments on USATestprep’s platform. Data on income, college education, and owner-occupied housing is for each school’s physical zip code.
Below are the schools’ test scores by income, percent of college-educated adults, and percent of owner-occupied housing.
Test Scores by Per Capita Income
Test Scores by Percent of College-Educated
Test Scores by Owner-Occupied Housing
InfoGraphic from CouponBox.com
May means the beginning of the summer development cycle for USATestprep’s content team. We’ll be making new tests and updating existing ones for next school year.
The performance task, video, and free-response item fill projects are just about wrapped up, and tremendous progress has been made. Below are the number of standards we have filled since January. These are elements which now have at least one of each item type in them:
- Science: +339 performance tasks; +242 videos; +1,118 free response items
- Math: +230 videos; +2,140 free response items
- Social Studies: +425 performance tasks; +160 videos; +2,300 free response items
- ELA: +333 videos; +116 free response items
Teacher pay, by state, is easy to find online. However, some states have higher costs of living than others. For example, $50,000 in California spends much differently than it does in Tennessee. With that in mind, which states have the best- and worst-compensated teachers, given cost of living and taxes? With the help of data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Forbes, and other sources, we’ve compiled a list of the best and worst states for teachers – not by pay, but by “adjusted pay.” You can download the spreadsheet with salary, cost of living, and tax data here. We’ve even adjusted the middle school teacher salary figures from each state to reflect the cost of living and taxes, so that you can compare “apples to apples”.
We’ve compiled a list of our favorite Facebook pages with original ideas, inspiration, and resources for teachers. You’ll notice that many of these wonderful pages are teacher-created. The teaching world is full of content from national organizations, so we decided to be a voice for some of the grassroots inspiration on social media. Be sure to “Like” the pages you find useful as you explore and use these resources. Perhaps you will be inspired to share some of your own tried and true classroom tips.
- Teaching Channel – A page where teachers can watch, share, and learn diverse techniques to help their students grow.
- Free Tech for Teachers – Featuring the best free technology for teachers and students, curated by Richard Byrne.
- Teaching Resources – Ready-to-use classroom resources for 2nd-6th grade, from retired teacher Laura Candler. Over 600,000 “Likes.”
- The Cornerstone for Teachers – Practical ideas to make teaching more effective, efficient, and enjoyable. Printables, classroom photos, tips, and more for teachers.
- Mathematics Teaching Resources – Resources for educators from educators. 35,000 links and growing.
- ELA Teaching Resources – Great resources and articles for ELA teachers. A sister page to the two pages below.
- Health & Physical Ed Teaching Resources – Articles, lessons plans, activities, quizzes and more for your classroom.
- ELL Teaching Resources – Articles, games, and inspiration for ESL teachers.
- Classroom Freebies – Free resources curated by Charity Preston. Over 120,000 followers!
- Classroom Desk Arrangement – Giveaways and a wealth of seating chart ideas for your classroom. Lots of photos and descriptions, with new ones added frequently.
- Surviving a Teacher’s Salary – This page, with over 400,000 “Likes,” shares educational deals to help you stretch your budget or salary as much as possible.
- What the Teacher Wants – Tips and gift ideas for teachers. Over 200,00 followers.
- The Teacher Wife – Creative resources for preschool and elementary teachers. 37,000+ currently follow this page.
- Anna Brantley’s Teaching Resources – Engaging and fun K-2 teaching ideas and resources from elementary school teacher Anna Brantley.
- Mrs Jump’s Class – This page provides creative, kid-friendly activities and lessons based on Common Core standards that inspire teachers and parents. Another page with over 30,000 “Likes.”
- Laura Love to Teach – A place to find resources and ideas for your elementary classroom.
- Schoolgirl Style – Fresh designs and stylish classroom decor for the modern teacher. Get inspiration for a classroom facelift.
- A Modern Teacher – Resources, articles, and simple solutions for grade school teachers.
- Kleinspiration – Question of the day, technology tools, and ideas for teachers.
- A Teacher’s Bag of Tricks – Tons of free or nearly free resources for teachers to use in their classrooms. You’ll find websites, PDFs, documents, PowerPoints and more.
- Rockin Teacher Materials – Materials from Hilary Lewis for classroom use. Most items are excellent for homeschoolers too.
- Gerry Brooks – Humor for teachers by a school principal. Sarcastic webcam videos and more.
- Hopkins Hoppin Blog – Strategies, activities, games, books, freebies, lesson ideas, products, and songs for pre-K to late elementary.
- 3rd Grade Thoughts – Post by Stephanie, a 3rd grade teacher in Colorado, who loves sharing & learning from other teachers around the country.
- My Teacher’s Lounge – A community of 15 educators sharing ideas for more positive and practical classrooms. Weekly tips and inspiration for teachers.
- Teachers.net on Facebook – Follow this page for free lesson plans, teacher chatboards, live workshops, and more.
- The Busy Educator – A page to help teachers and parents make a difference in the lives of their students and children by doing things that work.
- Turnstall’s Teaching Tidbits – Ongoing inspiration to help you teach with heart and creativity.
- Chalk One Up for the Teacher – A great place to share and collect teaching-related ideas. Giveaways too!
- Joy of Teaching – A page dedicated to encouraging teachers and parents to actively pursue better and more efficient ways of teaching kids.
- Teach Junkie – A creative page featuring teacher ideas, activities, and free downloads.
- Seusstastic Classroom Inspirations – Resources and funny memes for elementary school teachers. Over 90,000 followers.
- Our Kids Special Needs – A page for parents to find and share information to provide the best care they can for their children with special needs.
- Just Reed – The page for exclusive freebies, teaching ideas, and more.
- I Appreciate Teachers – Memes and cartoons to encourage teachers. Over 143,000 people follow this page.
If you’re a teacher your job is about to get a little easier!
While teacher and student discounts seem to be available everywhere, free goods and teaching helps for your classroom can be more challenging to find. Finding free goods that aren’t digital can be even harder.
We’ve compiled a list of freebies to support your teaching, ranging from aquarium tickets and magazines to books and classroom supplies. Keep your teacher’s ID handy and get ready to grab some of these resources.
1. LEGOLAND – Get a complimentary one-year pass for K-12 teachers in Florida.
2. SEA LIFE Aquarium – A free, one1-year pass to SEA LIFE Aquarium for K-12 teachers in Florida.
3. SeaWorld – The Texas, California, and Florida SeaWorld locations offer a free teacher pass.
4. Shedd Aquarium – Free teacher pass for educators from Illinois, Indiana, Michigan and Wisconsin.
5. New England Aquarium – Free pass for teachers in New England to the New England Aquarium.
6. The Florida Aquarium – Free study pass for K-12 teachers in Florida.
7. Philadelphia Zoo – Free summer break pass for teachers and principals to the Philadelphia Zoo.
8. Kennedy Space Center – Free study pass for teachers from Puerto Rico, US Virgin Islands, GA, and FL.
9. Country Music Hall of Fame – Free admission for Tennessee teachers planning a field trip.
10. Basecamp – A leading web-based project management tool. Great for communication and task management.
11. Learning Chess – Register to access the free chess curriculum. Extensive features in this online suite.
12. Antivirus Software – Free antivirus software for schools. Protect and manage your school’s devices from a central console.
13. Administration Software – Overview of six free and open source school administration software suites.
14. School Forge – A searchable directory of free educational software. Instructional games, student information systems, learning management, and course management software.
15. 3D Design Software – AutoDesk, a leading provider of 3D design software, offers its product free to students and educators.
16. Web Design Software – Free web design software for educators. Includes Web Calendar, Web Form Builder, The HTML Editor, and Responsive Layout Maker.
17. Microsoft Education – Over fifteen free tools and apps for education. A variety of software from math-specific to general computer software.
18. Special Ed Software – Free software for SEN teachers to use in their classrooms. Choose from over 50 tools.
20. Trade Magazines – Free subscription to any number of magazines on professional topics. Good for advanced high school classes.
21. Computer Graphics World – Free annual subscription to this professional magazine. The latest on industry trends and technologies.
22. Yes! Magazine – One-year subscription for middle school and high school teachers, as well as librarians.
23. Free LEGO Club Magazine – Students ages 5-9 can receive a free LEGO Club subscription.
25. Scholastic Magazines – Request samples of Scholastic’s magazines for your classroom. Many magazine choices for preschool through high school.
26. Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library – Ask each child’s parent to register to receive free storybooks from Dolly Parton’s foundation.
27. Ayn Rand Novels – If you are committed to teaching Ayn Rand’s novels, this academic year, you can receive a classroom set of her novels, free of charge.
28. Book Donations – An online catalog of organizations that donate books. Some of the organizations on this list donate to students in the US.
29. Jan Brett – Contact this children’s book illustrator to request a free teacher’s pack.
30. Book Bank – Register with First Book’s national book bank to request free books if you teach in a Title I school.
31. T A Barron Gift Box – Aids to help you teach T. A. Barron’s novels to your class. Includes: posters, maps, reading guides, and a documentary DVD.
32. Book Donations – Request books for your school from The Local Donation program of the International Book Project.
33. Kids Need to Read – Educators teaching in economically disadvantaged communities can apply for books for their students.
34. Library of Congress – Apply to participate in the Library of Congress’s surplus book program.
35. The Lisa Libraries – Teachers in low-income areas can request books from this literacy organization.
36. Reading Resource Project – Distributes softcover books for Read Across America Day, Children’s Book Week, International Children’s Book Day, and other literacy programs.
37. Hachette Book Group – If you work in a struggling school district, you can email Hachette to request they donate books to your school.
38. School Supplies – Free school supplies for teachers at high-need schools in central Florida.
39. “Crowdfunding” for Supplies – Collect online donations to pay for school supplies. Over 75% of teachers reach their supplies goal using this site.
40. Request Donations – Over 500 teachers have used this site to get free supplies for their classrooms.
41. Adopt A Classroom – Over 10,000 teachers have used this site to connect with donors. Register your classroom to request funds.
42. Schoolhouse Supplies – Free school supplies for teachers in Portland, OR. New and gently used items.
43. The Education Partnership – Register your classroom to request free supplies. For western Pennsylvania teachers.
44. Puberty Teaching Materials – Free DVDs, printed materials, and product samples from Procter & Gamble.
45. Health Booklets – Free booklets on pulmonary health topics from the Will Rogers Institute.
46. Save the Manatee Club – Free resources for educators to help teach students about manatees and manatee preservation.
47. Colgate – Request a Colgate classroom kit that includes a video, posters, storybooks, curriculum, parent take-homes, and Colgate Kid’s toothbrush and toothpaste samples.
48. Speedometry™ Kit – Classroom kit from Hot Wheels for 4th grade teachers. Includes 40 Hot Wheels cars and over 100 ft of track.
49. National Gallery of Art – Borrow DVDs that cover a range of topics from ancient art to the twentieth century and studies of individual artists.
50. He Named Me Malala – Free DVD of the movie for your classroom. Bring Malala’s story to your students.
51. Energy Movie – This DVD includes a documentary, sections each energy type, fourteen Energy 101 videos, and twenty-eight Energy Lab videos.
52. Freecycle – A grassroots and nonprofit movement of people who are giving (and getting) stuff for free in their own communities.
53. Craigslist – Check the free section of Craigslist in your local area for free items that you can use in your classroom.
54. Aquarium Workshops – Free workshops by the Tennessee Aquarium for schools in Tennessee.
55. Pictures – A safe source for copyright-free images. For use in classrooms, multimedia projects, websites, videos, portfolios, or any projects in an educational setting.
When adding your own questions, a teacher can now use one of our passages. This is nice because instead of placing the question at the end of the benchmark (in the past), the question will now always remain with that passage if there are other associated questions.
Teachers can now author favorite questions associated with any of our passages. This new feature allows teachers to author and save favorite questions that stay with the passage wherever it is placed in a benchmark test.
Here are some new features and tips to help you get more from USATestprep:
- Raw score (“Total Correct” column) added to your benchmark results Excel export.
- Graphs to track monthly progress by standards and individual students –> You can even save, print, and annotate if needed.
Tips of the month:
- Need to adjust the due date or add a student to an assignment? Make changes to existing assignments without duplicating them by using the Options menu –> Settings.
- Can’t see a shared benchmark? Double check that you have your classes associated with that subject area. Go to your Classes tab –> gear icon on the far right –> “Edit Class” button. Add necessary subject(s) in step 1 and save in step 2.
- Want to instantly create assignments for students to target their weaknesses? Automatically create assignments for students in their three weakest areas from your benchmark results –> Student Dot Rank section. You can then view these assignments within your Assignments tab –> “View Suggested Practice.”
- Need assistance with anything? Use the Feedback & Contact button located at the bottom of every page to ask questions –> let us help you more quickly! When appropriate, please provide the name of the assignment or benchmark, student, class, etc.
Hope you have had a smooth February!
The USATestprep Team
We hope you are well-rested after your much-deserved winter break. We’ve been striving to make your job easier through multiple enhancements to the USATestprep website.
Spanish Test Passages and Answers
Due to popular demand, we not only have test questions in Spanish, but we now have the answers and passages in Spanish as well.
Earlier this month, we launched USATestprep’s redesigned, public-facing website. The front end of the website is now mobile-friendly. Your login and USATestprep account will remain unchanged.
Improved Progress Reports
These beefed-up reports now include Class Dot Rank. See at-a-glance average class performance by standard. View the Progress Reports with or without the practice questions and by date range.
Dance, Dance, Robot (DDR) has been updated and is now tablet-friendly. To challenge more students, DDR has been expanded to offer three levels of difficulty.
New Teacher Resource Page
To make it easier to use, this page has been divided into Online Resources, Printable Resources, and Projector Games. Videos can be found and previewed with ease now, too.
Student Calendar View
In addition to the original List View for Assignments and Suggested Practice, students may alternatively opt to display these items in Calendar View.
We’ve recently added a high school level Health review that is aligned with the National Health Education Standards. Additionally, you will find AP Psychology and AP Chemistry. Check the new course offerings for your state by clicking here.