Tech User of the Month: Rio Salado College - College Bridge Pathways Testing Team!
As you are most likely aware, administering the TABE assessments during the pandemic has come with unique challenges, to say the least. Rio Salado College’s Testing Department worked together (virtually) to meet this need. Ultimately, they took a systemic approach to remote proctoring and developed processes that will best serve students not just through the pandemic, but beyond it. Additionally, a solution involving EdReady was designed for those students who could not test remotely.
What new procedures/practices have been implemented at the testing center that are a result of the pandemic? What need drove those changes?
As a result of the pandemic, Rio Salado College’s Testing Department (RSC Testing) began working entirely remotely. For Adult Education, this meant the development of processes and procedures for remote testing of TABE 11/12 and TABE CLAS-E. RSC Testing created the process from scratch to support six virtual locations. The team transitioned quickly from a “location-based” model to a “program-wide” model, where all team members worked together to serve all students. The testing department collaborated with the Adult Education program to determine what was needed to support students with remote testing. For the past year, the two teams have conducted monthly meetings to discuss student needs, and brainstorm ways to improve the testing experience. One outcome was developing a communication tool using Google Forms and Google Sheets to refer students to test, document student contact, and track testing progress. The Testing Google Sheet has evolved over time, with advanced conditional formatting to flag students who are overdue for testing, need additional communication, or have completed their exam. ADE has also been a key partner in developing new procedures, with RSC Testing regularly providing updates on testing procedures and learning best practices from other programs.
To support the transition to virtual testing, RSC Testing spent time training their team. One impressive outcome was a comprehensive testing process document that outlines the virtual testing process from beginning to end. The document even includes scripts for staff to use when communicating with students and links out to additional supporting resources. It is well-designed and will support any staff member, new or experienced, with the remote testing process.
Virtual testing can be challenging for students, so RSC Testing was thorough in their approach to ensuring student success. To support test scheduling, RSC testing developed an interactive email where students select their testing appointment at a time that is convenient and even modify their appointment time if needed. Communication is key, so RSC Testing built in multiple touch points with students, including emails, texts, and phone calls, to ensure students attend their testing appointment and understand what is required and expected to test. At the beginning of virtual services, RSC Testing offered tech check opportunities, where students could engage with a testing team member to ensure their computer was set up for remote testing. To further support this communication, RSC Testing created a how-to video for students to watch prior to their first testing appointment, preparing them for the testing experience. New information and features continue to be added to the video to improve the student experience, including Spanish captions! To support language learners, RSC Testing has the ability to send communication in students’ primary language when requested.
While remote testing has been the biggest change, RSC Testing has initiated new procedures for in-person testing as well. Social distancing and safety protocols have been established for a safe testing environment. The Google Form and Sheets is also used for in-person testing, which is a significant change from the previous use of paper-based forms. Before the pandemic, TABE testing was on a first-come, first-served basis where students showed up at the testing center at any time. Currently, Adult Education and RSC testing are collaborating through a Google calendar to coordinate testing schedules for in-person testing.
At the core, these changes were a result of the pandemic and a need for remote testing. However, as time went on, many decisions were made with long-term, post-pandemic considerations in mind. For example, the shared Google Form and Sheets has resulted in a standardized communication and method between the departments to track students’ testing progress. One location used the idea of a testing video to create a different video to prepare ELAA students for in-person, computer-based CLAS-E testing, as this can be a difficult transition. New possibilities have opened up, and RSC is looking for creative ways to continually improve the testing experience for students.
Will the changes carry on beyond the pandemic?
Yes! Rio Salado College serves a community that encompases and embraces a diverse population with a variety of needs. Offering remote TABE testing is one more option for students. RSC Testing seeks to ensure that students are able to meet their educational goals, which includes providing in-person and remote testing options. While testing remotely, potential transportation and childcare barriers are mitigated, which can be a concern. In-person testing could be a barrier for virtual students, so providing remote testing supports this new population that the Adult Education program plans to continue to serve.
Beyond offering remote testing, other procedures established will likely carry on as well. Monthly meetings between RSC Testing and Adult Education have established valuable connections and supported increased collaboration. The Google Form and Sheet for tracking student testing is a streamlined form of communication that also produces valuable data for process improvement. The transition to remote services prompted RSC Testing and Adult Education to adopt a new perspective on the student testing experience and the two departments hope to continue to find ways to improve the student experience long-term.
For students who are unable to test remotely, an EFL Conversion Chart was created based on EdReady's diagnostic. How were the ranges in the EFL Conversion chart determined? How is the chart utilized (by teachers, students, staff, etc.)?
When Rio Salado Adult Education transitioned to remote services and RSC Testing waited for guidance on offering TABE 11/12 and CLAS-E remotely, there was a gap in determining student EFLs. Rio Salado was able to continue to offer instruction, but faced challenges when identifying the levels and instructional needs of incoming students. Even as testing became available remotely, many students were unable to TABE test due to technology barriers. There was a clear need to establish an EFL for students. EdReady was available and Rio Salado had previous success implementing the diagnostic test. EdReady’s strength is that it targets students’ instructional needs. It was an easy fix for a hectic time.
To determine the EFL chart, a committee of Rio Salado instructional leaders, led by Mary Ann Hartwick, looked at about 50+ students across the program who had previously taken the EdReady diagnostic test and TABE 11/12 in Math and Reading. The committee examined the two scores and matched the ranges to determine the conversion chart. From experience using EdReady previously, instructors recommended that students always start on the lowest level currently offered - Math E/M and Reading D. They found that this gives a wider range of scores, with students in beginning levels able to find success while students at higher levels still determine areas of need.
All incoming HSE students take the EdReady diagnostic test, whether or not they have the ability to take the TABE test remotely. To streamline the processes and accurately compare EFLs, all students test Math E/M and Reading D. Based on the diagnostic results and the developed chart, a provisional EFL is established for new students. If a student does not need a provisional EFL they have still started in EdReady and their academic needs are determined for their learning path.
The chart has proven to have greater value than simply establishing an EFL. The provisional EFLs are shared with instructors through class rosters, similar to how TABE results were previously shared. Instructors are provided with an incoming level in both English and Math and can see the focus areas for each student. This information is beneficial for lesson planning, determining breakout room activities, and understanding what topics may pose a challenge. The information can also be used for class placement, with students being placed in a class appropriate for their level. Rio Salado recently transitioned to location-based goal keys, so instructors can support all students they work with and view their learning progress.
An unexpected value that came from determining provisional EFLs through EdReady was easier collaboration with [email protected]. Rio Salado is co-enrolling students with Title IB, and one of the requirements is a TABE test to determine a student’s incoming level. Currently, not all students are able to TABE test, which makes them ineligible for co-enrollment. Title IB recognized the value in the EdReady diagnostic test and agreed to use the provisional EFL established through EdReady as a substitute for the TABE. Clearly, the chart has proved to be valuable!
While the pandemic has brought plenty of challenges, Rio Salado has embraced the change it has brought. We look forward to establishing new processes when we fully resume in-person services. In addition, we understand that virtual services are here to stay and are excited to serve students in new, innovative ways. Thank you to our team members who make this work happen and collaborate for the benefit of our students! A HUGE thanks to RSC Testing, as they have been instrumental in continuing to offer testing services to students.
Thank you to Natalie Fox, Rachel Rahn, Diana Pinon, MaryAnn Hartwick, Elizabeth Kerr, and Kelly Stewart for embracing change and using it to improve services!
Are you or someone you know implementing technology into instruction in an innovative way?
Both BurlingtonEnglish and Odyssyware are making Wednesdays, get help days! Check out BurtlingtonEnglish’s Webinar Wednesday schedule here. Or, pop in Odysseyware's new office hours on the 7th or 21st anytime between 4:00pm - 5:00pm!
3/5/2021: New Student Progress Reports in BurlingtonEnglish!
The folks at BurlingtonEnglish have heard your requests for more micro data regarding student progress! Check out the new reports by clicking on one of your courses, then scroll down to the Progress tile. Additional student data should be available to you; BE will also conduct training sessions on how to use the data, keep an eye out for those email blasts!
2/5/2021: Explore Odysseyware's Revamped Help Center!
Odysseyware has a new and improved Help Center that can be accessed by clicking on the Help link in the footer of the Odysseyware platform. Click here to explore it now!
1/4/2021: Get started with Odysseyware, BurlingtonEnglish, and EdReady!
This is a reminder that your program receives access to the following online curricula at no cost to the program: Odysseyware (ABE/ASE), BurlintgonEnglish (ELAA), and EdReady (ABE/ASE)! All are fully web-based and qualify for proxy hours under the Clock-Time Model. Training dates and links can be found below in the "Webinars & Self-Paced Online Courses" section. Please reach out to [email protected] for additional information.
12/4/2020: Check Out the Professional Development Resources from The NROC Project!
The NROC Project is EdReady's parent organization. They have ongoing professional development opportunities, both live and recorded avaialble here!
11/6/2020: BurlingtonEnglish Core Has MORE New Features!
A lot of these updates are a direct result of your feedback!
In Class Lessons (ICLs) now have a full screen option for better readability when presenting. Click on the ICL tab > Presenting > Full Screen (at the top right of the screen)
High-intermediate level now has lesson plans and worksheets available!
On-demand training is back! Professional development certificates are awarded at the completion of each training.
New word-lists are available for 36 careers under the College and Career Readiness courses.
In the "Listen" portion of each lesson, the audio speed can now be controlled for faster or slower playback.
The Advanced level has module projects and Extra Reading worksheets available for students.
Core Basics now has lesson plans!
Student tutorial videos are now available in 18 languages!
10/2/2020: Schedule a Session with EdReady to Learn More!
After the sessions on NROC and EdReady at the Institute a couple of weeks ago, do you have some follow-up questions about EdReady, how to install NROC courses into your LMS, and/or how to best use Hippocampus? Follow the steps below to have Jason come to you! It can be just you, a group, or your entire program as it is all virtual!
Click on "Personal Appointments" and then "Make an Appointment"
Select "Implementation Appointment with Jason"
Choose the date and time that is best for you!
9/4/2020: BurlingtonEnglish Core Has New Content Features!
Translated voice overs now available in five languages for the Tutorials, languages include: Spanish, Arabic, Chinese Mandarin, Korean, and Haitian Creole
Module 9 is now available
Module 10 is out coming next week
Lesson plans and worksheets now available for Modules 1-2
Scope and Sequence is now available
All worksheets for Modules 1-2
ICL Worksheets only Modules 3-8 (expansion worksheets coming soon)
8/7/2020: Check Out EdReady's Webinar Series!
EdReady is hosting a range of sessions for all levels of users! Topics range from EdReady 101 (for those interested in learning more about it or are just getting started) to EdReady Advanced and New Functionality, as well as, Leverage EdReady Reports to Support Your Students (both ideal for teachers already using the platform). See the times, dates, and register here!
7/2/2020: Check Out 3 New Features in BurlingtonEnglish!
Readers are Now Available on Mobile Devices! A teacher guide is also available with tips and strategies on how to incorporate the readers into your instruction!
Levels 5 & 6 are now available in Core - there are 4 modules for each level!
The promised Placement Test is here! Teachers will have a Placement Test tile on their home screen and can assign it to a specific student or all students. Once the student logs in, they will automatically be directed to the placement exam (it is approximately 15 minutes in duration). The report will show which level of BE to place the student into. Note: This exam is for instructional placement only and does not take the place of the TABE CLAS-E and cannot be used for NRS reporting purposes.
State-Approved Online Curricula Info-graphic
This info-graphic contains the approved online curriculum for the Learner Mastery Model and Clock-Time Model as well as tips for success regarding reporting proxy hours in AAEDMS and the Teacher Verification Model! Click here to view.
Blended & Virtual/Distance Learning Policy
The updated version includes pertinent AAEDMS information and features the newly approved online curricula. Click here to view.
Wifi Hotspot Lending Program Update: recently awarded funding for 16 libraries to start or continue lending programs, and with the CARES Act stimulus funding are in the process of awarding additional funding for hotspot lending. Reach out to your local library to see if they are a participant of this program.
AZ Library Tech Access Phoneline: Get FREE tech help with anything from help with computer issues, finding free wifi hotspots, to using your smartphone to access email and other apps!
Tech Tools for Sandbox Office Hours
It can be difficult to know what purpose a tool serves just by the name. So, we’ve created a table that tells you a bit more about the tool and how it could be used to enhance instruction (categories are based on COABE’s session ‘The Seven Elements of aHighly Effective Remote Teaching/Learning Program’). Once you’ve watched the video for the tool of your choice, don’t forget to pop in to a Sandbox Office Hour session to get your questions answered!
TNT: Teachers 'N' Technology Session Recordings
Rewatch out your favorite sessions and/or the ones you were unable to attend on the TNT Playlist!
Digital Literacy Supports for Students & Teachers
Northstar Digital Literacy has NSOL platform courses freely available at the moment, including: Basic Computer Skills, Email, Microsoft Word, and Career Search Skills.
Microsoft has a pair of digital literacy courses that go from basic computer skills to collaboration online.
Too busy to read? Check out this ISTE Podcast about Edtech questions.
Facebook has a Digital Literacy Library with 5 different modules of free lessons covering Privacy & Reputation, Identity Exploration, Positive Behavior, and more.
Google has an extensive list of courses geared towards adult learners in their Applied Digital Skills program.
KQED has a host of courses with instructors in mind that help with modern media such as video production and interactive media.
EdTech Tools & Strategies for Distance Learning YouTube Channel
Check out this table that briefly describes various digital tools that can be used in all access scenarios (from a computer with reliable internet to a cell phone with unreliable internet to no internet or computer access)
We are introducing a new interaction called “Sandbox Office Hours”! This is in direct response to feedback received from the TNT event asking for more time to “play around and ask questions” about some of the tools and a request for additional open office hours. We will be utilizing the flipped model of blended learning and posting a video that introduces an EdTech tool to be viewed independently one week, and then the following week, offer a chance to practice using that tool with a member of the EdTech team at the ready to assist and answer any questions you might have. Below is April's schedule, click on the block of time that fits your schedule to participate. Stay as long (or or little) as you'd like!
Self-Paced Online Courses - Earn 4 hours of PD for each one!
NEW! Digital Literacy for Teachers (Intermediate level)
Focus: Internet security, copyright & fair use, the Creative Commons, creating engaging presentations, utilizing feedback tools, creating surveys, and analyzing survey results. Click here to enroll
Digital Literacy for Teachers (Beginner to Intermediate levels)
Focus: Introductory training on Microsoft Office Suite and Google G Suite to support Digital Literacy in the classroom. Click here to enroll
Focus: Instructional strategies that are often referred to as 'The Marzano 9’, along with a range of technology tools that can be integrated into your instruction. Click here to enroll
Google Sites for Assessment
Focus: Building a Google Site with a YouTube video, a Google Form, and some written guidance for students to follow. Click here to enroll
Blended Learning Certification (TVM requirement)
Focus: Ensure an understanding of blended learning as a mode of instruction. You will also have a thorough understanding, and provide evidence to show as such, of the 'teacher verification model'. Click here to enroll
Thank you for visiting the site! Contact us at [email protected] if you have any questions/concerns/comments.:)