Newly Approved Tests! Now What?Marty Olsen, State Assessment Trainer
Did you get the notice from CASAS about the newly approved tests? Are you ready to place your order? Slow down and read this article carefully! There are some important steps that need to be taken prior to programs being given the go-ahead to use the new tests for official NRS reporting purposes.
CASAS submitted the following new assessments in October of 2022. After careful consideration, the Department of Education’s Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education (OCTAE) approved all three of these test series for a period of seven years, through July 13, 2030:
- CASAS Math GOALS 2 for all ABE levels
- CASAS Reading STEPS for all ESL levels
- CASAS Listening STEPS for all ESL levels
Additionally, the following previously approved assessments were given an extended “sunset” approval through June 30, 2024:
- CASAS Math GOALS
- CASAS Life & Work Reading
- CASAS Life & Work Listening
CASAS test implementation process
So, the good news is that there will be new CASAS tests to replace the expiring CASAS test series. However, there is a process that must be followed prior to implementation of these new tests. The process is as follows:
1. Official approval published in Federal Register
2. Tests available for purchase and review
3. Test review and recommendation by SPARC (Support Professionals
4. Test approval by MDE
5. MDE adds new tests to revised Assessment Policy
6. U.S. Department of Education approves revised policy
7. Tests available in SiD
8. MDE notifies programs and staff they can start using tests
Item #1 was checked off when the assessment approval was published in the Federal Register on July 13, 2023. Over the next few months the state will be working its way through the list, with as much expediency as possible. Programs must not begin using the new assessments until an email is sent from the state director, granting permission to do so.
Until that time, below are some FAQs along with answers about the new assessments.
Should we wait until the new tests are approved in Minnesota to test our students this year?
Definitely not! The current series, CASAS Life & Work and CASAS Math GOALS have received extended approval through June 30, 2024, so there is plenty of time to work toward a level completion within those series of assessments.
If I pretest with the current tests, can I post-test with the new tests when they become available?
No you cannot. As always, a paired pretest and post-test must be from the same series, and from the same subject in said series, in order for the results to show growth within the skills assessed by that particular series.
How do I plan curriculum to help my students succeed on the new assessments?
The CASAS GOALS Math 2 series continues to be aligned with the skills taught based on the College and Career Readiness standards, just as all currently approved math assessments are. Continue incorporating these skills into your math curriculum.
Both Reading STEPS for ESL and Listening STEPS for ESL are aligned with the English Language Proficiency Standards for Adult Education which, in turn, are aligned to the College and Career Standards. The work that you have been doing to align your curriculum to the CCR standards is exactly what you needed to do to prepare for the new CASAS STEPS assessments.
If I use eTests, do I need to purchase new test administrations for the new tests?
No. CASAS eTests are not linked to a specific test series. Each eTest can be used for any CASAS test that the test coordinator chooses to assign the learner.
Tell me more about the Math GOALS 2 test.
There is a wealth of information that can be found on the CASAS website. Go to https://www.casas.org/product-overviews/assessments/math-goals-2 to view “Sample Test Items”, “Content Standard Blueprints”, “Competency Blueprints”, “FAQs”, and “Grade Level Equivalents”.
Tell me more about the Reading STEPS test.
There is a wealth of information that can be found on the CASAS website. Go to https://www.casas.org/product-overviews/assessments/reading-steps to view “Content Standard Blueprints”, “Competency Blueprints”, “Sample Test Items”, “FAQs”, and “Grade Level Equivalents”.
Tell me more about the Listening STEPS test.
There is a wealth of information that can be found on the CASAS website. Go to https://www.casas.org/product-overviews/assessments/listening-steps “Content Standard Blueprints”, “Competency Blueprints”, “Sample Test Items”, “Sample Items Audio”, “FAQs”, and “Grade Level Equivalents”.
Feel free to contact State Assessment Trainer Marty Olsen at email@example.com if you have any questions about these tests.
* CCRS = College and Career Readiness Standards
* ELPS = English Language Proficiency Standards
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