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Utah Aspire Plus

Testing window: March 25 – May 17, 2019

Why test?

Assessments are an essential element in the learning process, allowing teachers and administrators to:

  • Evaluate learning and provide specific feedback
  • Measure student growth and achievement
  • Gauge effectiveness of programs and resources
  • Make instructional and policy decisions

Innovations

As educational technology progresses, stakeholders provide feedback, and solutions become more cost-effective, Utah assessment systems are able to offer improved experiences for test-takers.  Some improvements that will be added to the Utah Aspire Plus will be

  • A hybrid model between Utah core standards and the ACT Aspire allows for the test to provide information about Utah core standards and report score predictions for ACT.
  • Grade 9 and 10 end-of-level tests will be transadaptive, meaning the test will be translated into Spanish and adapted to account for linguistic and cultural differences between English and Spanish speakers.
  • Printed Braille and large print manuals will be shipped to schools ahead of time, so no Braille printing is required during testing.
  • After the first year, a parent portal will come online giving parents direct access to student scores.
  • Utah educators will work to create the blueprint for the test and build the item bank. After the first round of testing in Spring 2019, Utah educators will also convene to establish cut scores and conduct item review.
  • Short benchmarks tests will be made available for courses in the 2019-2020 school year.
  • Tests can be downloaded to the student computers using proctor caching to avoid problems with poor network connectivity.

What do the tests look like?

  • The assessment contains approximately 50% items from the Utah test bank, and 50% from ACT Aspire.
  • The questions are multiple choice and fill-in-the-blank/short answer format.
  • There will be four subjects tested in each grade: English, Reading, Science, and Math.
  • The four tests can be administered in any order. Schools can schedule the tests ACT-style, where students sit down and take each component test one after the other. Or, schools can schedule tests SAGE-style, where individual teachers sign up for different dates within the testing window.
  • The tests will be timed, like ACT Aspire and ACT.
  • The test will not be differentiated by course, only by grade level. Freshman will have a distinct, different test from sophomores, but the Math and Science tests will not vary based on the courses in which students are enrolled.
  • Science tests will focus on the ILO standards instead of the content standards. In other words, the questions will focus on the process of scientific investigation rather than questions about Biology, Earth Science, Chemistry, or Physics content.

Questions?

Contact Ben Jameson at 801-567-8243 | ben.jameson@jordandistrict.org. You can also contact Brooke Anderson at 801-567-8393 | brooke.anderson@jordandistrict.org.

FAQs

Can students taking different tests (RISE or ACT and Utah Aspire Plus) test in the same room?

Due to the test security and administration requirements, students taking RISE and students taking Utah Aspire Plus cannot be tested in the same room.  Utah Aspire Plus is a timed assessment, where RISE is not. Additionally Utah Aspire Plus has different test administration scripts than the test administration scripts that must be used for RISE.  ACT has very strict administration guidelines that must be followed exactly, and administration with another test (or even administration of the same test but with different timing codes in the same room) is not allowed.

What kind of items will be on the Utah Aspire Plus assessment? Is it the same as ACT Aspire? How should our students prepare?

Utah Aspire Plus is a hybrid assessment that is aligned to the Utah Core Standards. The 9th grade end-of-level assessment for math is aligned to Secondary Math I, and the 10th grade end-of-level assessment for math is aligned to Secondary Math II.  The English and reading tests are aligned to the 9th grade ELA standards for the 9th grade assessment, and the 10th grade ELA standards for the 10th grade assessment. Science has questions selected from biology, chemistry, physics, and earth science.  However, those questions are “content agnostic” which means that if a physics student received a biology question, he or she should still be able to answer the question; the science questions are focused on scientific skills, reasoning, etc. as described in the Intended Learning Outcomes of the science standards.  The best way to prepare students is to make sure students understand their core content.

Can students take Utah Aspire Plus at a school location other than the location where they are registered students (like they can for the ACT)?

This primarily applies to online schools.  The answer to this question is no.  Because the administration of this test is not managed on a local basis like the ACT student management (Utah Aspire Plus is managed based on nightly UTREx uploads), the option for students to test at locations other than their own school locations is not possible.  All student tests will only be generated and associated with their school that they are assigned to through UTREx.

How soon will components of Utah Aspire Plus will be available?

We will have a “Question Sampler” available for students and teachers to use to practice logging in, and to see how the test questions will work with the technological options available through the TestNav platform.  This Question Sampler (called the “practice test” in SAGE) will be available starting in about February.  There will not be any benchmarks available this year.

What kind of calculators can students use on Utah Aspire Plus?

Students will be able to use the embedded Desmos graphing calculator for the math section, or they can bring their own approved calculator (calculators without internet access capability like the TI-84).