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OAKS, or Oregon Assessment of Knowledge and Skills, assesses students’ mastery of Oregon content standards. OAKS Online now includes the new Smarter Balanced assessments for English language arts/literacy and mathematics.
ELPA21 Batch 2 scores (for students who tested March 1 – March 31), which were previously scheduled for release in the Online Reporting System (ORS) on May 5, 2017, will be available this Friday, April 28.
The ELPA21 statewide test window closes this Thursday, April 27. In order for students to count as participants for ELPA21, students must respond to every item on the test. Students will have through the end of the day on Thursday to complete testing and submit their tests. For students who respond to all items on the test but do not actually submit their test by the end of the day on Thursday, AIR will manually push these assessments through for scoring. The Plan and Manage Testing page of TIDE provides is available to help districts identify which students still need to complete ELPA21 (see the TIDE User Guide for more information).
This morning some users reported the inability to reach AIR servers. AIR identified the issue and it has been corrected. Districts currently experiencing issues should flush the DNS cache on their name server and the problem will resolve itself. Instructions for flushing the DNS cache are available at oaksportal.org in the resources section. Districts that did not experience the issue do not have to take any action. Districts that need assistance with the DNS flush should call the OAKS Help Desk.
On April 10, AIR announced that the current license keys for the NeoSpeech VW Julie (English) and VW Violeta (Spanish) voice packs for Windows are set to expire on May 3, 2017. Detailed installation instructions and an updated license key are now available in TIDE. They can be accessed by logging in to TIDE, clicking General Resources near the top of the page, and choosing the Download Voice Pack option.
Any schools or districts that are using the NeoSpeech voice packs for testing will need to update the license key information prior to May 3 in order to continue using them. The voice packs will not need to be re-installed if they are already installed on a system.
Any users using a different supported voice pack for Windows or using a different operating system for testing are not affected by this issue. Schools that plan to use the NeoSpeech voice packs but have not yet installed them can use the installation instructions to install the voice packs with the new license key information. For a complete list of approved voice packs, see p. 54 of the Technical Specifications Manual.
The current license keys for the NeoSpeech VW Julie (English) and VW Violeta (Spanish) voice packs for Windows are set to expire on May 3, 2017. Any schools or districts that are using these voice packs for testing will need to update this license key information prior to May 3 in order to continue using them. The voice packs will not need to be re-installed. To support districts in updating the license keys, AIR will provide detailed instructions and an updated license key by Friday, April 14. At that time, the AIR helpdesk will also be available to provide assistance.
This issue only affects schools using the NeoSpeech VW Julie (English) or VW Violeta (Spanish) voice packs for Windows. Any users using a different supported voice pack for Windows or using a different operating system for testing are not affected by this issue. Schools that plan to use these voice packs but have not yet installed them can either install them prior to April 14 and update the license key after that date or wait until after April 14 to install the voice packs with the new license key information. For a complete list of approved voice packs, see p. 54 of theTechnical Specifications Manual.
AIR apologizes for the inconvenience this may cause to schools.
Prior to the deployment of Smarter Balanced tests on February 7, 2017, the student test settings page in the newly designed TIDE displayed a single test settings column for ELA tests. Upon deployment of the Smarter Balanced tests on February 7, a configuration of the field tests resulted in this single ELA column being broken out to ELA and ELA-PT columns, where ELA refers to the ELA CAT. Currently, ELA and ELA-PT test settings that are modified in TIDE apply only to the respective test, as they have in previous years. For the remainder of the testing window this year, TIDE will continue to function with both the ELA and ELA-PT columns. Users should continue to apply test settings in TIDE for ELA and ELA-PT separately. For the 2017-2018 school year TIDE will have a single column for ELA, with settings applied across ELA CAT and ELA-PT tests. AIR will ensure that TIDE is configured to a single ELA column for next year’s test administration.
AIR has an identified an issue in which the ChromeVox Screen Reader function in Chrome OS can be turned on upon launch of the Secure Browser. To prevent students from inadvertently using this tool, instructions for disabling the ChromeVox Screen Reader have been added to the Technical Specifications Manual. For assistance with disabling this tool, please contact the AIR helpdesk at email@example.com or 1-866-509-OAKS (6257).
The Online Reporting System downtime scheduled for Friday, April 7 at 5:00 pm PT – Monday, April 10 at 6:00 am PT has been cancelled. The Online Reporting System will be available through the weekend.
AIR and ODE are now supporting Chrome OS 57 for student testing on OAKS and Smarter Balanced assessments only. On March 30, AIR identified an issue with the voice recorder that impacts the ELPA21 speaking segment on Chrome OS 57. AIR is still investigating a fix for this issue, and as such, Chrome OS 57 is not yet supported for ELPA21 testing. An update will be provided once more information about the ELPA21 voice recorder is available.
AIR and ODE are now supporting iOS 10.3 for student testing. AIR has posted an updated Operating System Support Plan that reflects support for iOS 10.3.
On March 30, AIR noted that Chrome OS 57 was not yet supported for testing, as the operating system had not yet passed quality assurance testing. Additionally, AIR identified an issue with the voice recorder that impacts the ELPA21 speaking segment on Chrome OS 57. As of April 4, quality assurance testing of the system is still ongoing, and Chrome OS 57 is still not yet supported.
Schools and districts using Chromebooks should continue to use previous supported versions of Chrome OS 57 for Smarter Balanced and OAKS tests and specific patch number 56.0.2924.110 for ELPA21 testing. AIR will provide an update once more information about support and the ELPA21 voice recorder issue is available.
Chrome OS 57 was released on March 23, 2017. AIR’s policy is to officially support new versions of Chrome OS after fully completing quality assurance testing. This testing is still ongoing, and Chrome OS 57 is therefore not yet approved for administering any assessments.
During quality assurance testing, AIR identified an issue with the voice recorder that impacts the speaking segment of ELPA21. It is currently unknown whether this is the same issue that occurred with Chrome OS 56 and was resolved with patch number 56.0.2924.110. The issue that impacted Chrome OS 56 only affected devices with AMD processors, but the issue impacting Chrome OS 57 is affecting devices with both AMD and Intel processors. Schools and districts using the Chrome operating system should continue to administer ELPA21 tests on Chrome OS 56 using patch number 56.0.2924.110 until a fix for Chrome OS 57 is deployed and the operating system is fully supported.
AIR recommends that all schools that administer ELPA21 tests on Chromebooks take a practice test on the model of Chromebook they are using and verify that ELPA21 Speaking records correctly before administering the test to students.
An update on Chrome OS 57 support will be provided by April 4.
This is a reminder of the previously scheduled maintenance downtime for March 31, 5:00 PM PT – April 2, 7:00 PM PT.
For all students on an IEP or 504 plan, federal law requires that districts report whether students receive accommodations (either embedded or non-embedded) on the statewide assessments. Historically, districts have had the option to report this through a “None” or “One or More” Accommodations Flag located in both TIDE and Student Centered Staging. At the beginning of the 2016-17 school year, the Accommodations Flag in TIDE was inadvertently omitted from the Student Settings page of TIDE. However, AIR has now added the Accommodations Flag back to the student settings page of TIDE in the form of a None/One or More dropdown at the bottom of the accommodations section. As in past years, districts may choose whether to set this flag in TIDE or in Student Centered Staging. The exception is, if a student has already completed a test, the flag on this record must be set in Student Centered Staging.
To see more about this federal requirement, please see the Test Administration Manual, Appendix B: Student Inclusion under “Students with Disabilities” which was updated March 15, 2017.
If you have any further questions about this requirement or guidance on ways to update this flag, please contact your Regional ESD Partner.
Smarter Balanced ELA and Math scores can now be viewed in the Online Reporting System (ORS). Smarter Balanced tests are reported only after a student has completed both the CAT and the PT components. Upon the submission of the second of both segments, it takes an average of 10 business days to complete handscoring. The 2016-2017 Online Reporting System User Guide has been uploaded to assist with any questions regarding ORS.
As a reminder, ORS provides dynamic data that can be used to gauge students’ achievement on various assessments. However, the data in this system are not to be used for official accountability purposes. The Oregon Department of Education provides official accountability data.
This is a reminder of the previously scheduled maintenance downtime for all OAKS Portal systems (TIDE, ORS, Operational Tests, and Practice Tests) March 3, 5:00 PM PT – March 5, 7:00 PM PT.
On February 23, AIR announced that Google had rolled back the Chrome OS 56 that contained the fix for the ELPA21 recorder issue due to internal production issues. Google has confirmed that this fix has now been officially released. Chromebooks used for testing ELPA21 Speaking should be updated to Chrome OS 56.0.2924.110. AIR continues to recommend that all schools that administer ELPA21 tests on Chromebooks take a practice test on the model of Chromebook they are using and verify that ELPA21 Speaking records correctly before administering the test to students.
AIR is pleased to announce that a sample scientific calculator that is used for Smarter Balanced Grade 7 and 8 Mathematics assessments is now available on the OAKS portal. The sample scientific calculator can be found in the Other section of the OAKS Portal Resources along with new links for the sample standard and full function calculators that are used for other OAKS and Smarter Balanced tests. The Calculator Manual has been updated to reflect the new links to these calculators.
Over the past 12 months, a task force with the ELPA21 consortium has been working to prepare the ELPA21 Screener for use in the identification of English Learners in our schools. As part of the quality testing of this new online English proficiency screener, school district staff across the state are welcomed to participate in the pilot study for the ELPA21 screener. The recruitment information for participation in this pilot went to District Test Coordinators and Title III directors on Thursday, February 16, 2017. That information includes the link for registering as a Test Administrator of the screener pilot, and includes the requirements for participation.
If you are interested in learning more about the ELPA21 Screener Pilot and in registering to participate, please click here.
AIR and ODE are now supporting Mac OS X 10.12 for student testing. On November 3, 2016, AIR identified an issue in which students were able to use Dictation or Siri while using the Secure Browser. This issue has now been resolved by adding these two programs to the list of forbidden applications that cannot be open while the Secure Browser is running. Schools and districts should ensure that Dictation and Siri are disabled prior to student testing. For more information on disabling Dictation and Siri, please see the Technical Specifications Manual. For a full list of operating systems approved for testing, please see the Operating System Support Plan.
The statewide test window for ELPA21 and Smarter Balanced ELA and Mathematics tests is now open. Schools and districts may now administer these assessments to students using any of the supported operating systems listed in the Operating System Support Plan. The TA User Guide has been posted to assist with any questions regarding test administration.
ELPA21 is now available in the student restrictions feature in the Test Information Distribution Engine (TIDE) ahead of its announced release date of February 10. Users can now block eligible* students from taking ELPA21 by using the Blocked Subject dropdown for individual students or using the Upload Student Restrictions feature for one or more students (*Eligible students are those that have their LEP Flag set to Y.) Scenarios when a school or district may wish to use the student restriction feature to block access to ELPA21 include students who will take the paper-based Braille form, students whose IEP is undergoing revision, or students whose test has been paused pending investigation of a potential test impropriety.
New for the 2016-2017 school year as a universal tool, students may have custom mouse pointers applied for all OAKS, Smarter Balanced, and ELPA21 tests that adjust the mouse pointer color and size. At this time, the custom mouse pointers are visible in all parts of the student test except when hovering over scroll bars and grid item answer spaces. When hovered over these areas the custom mouse pointers revert back to the default (standard) mouse pointer. AIR is currently working on a fix for this issue, however, the fix will not likely be applied until the 2017-2018 school year. Appendix A, Table 9, of the TA User Guide has been updated with a note about the custom mouse pointer functionality.
On January 26th and 31st, ODE’s test vendor, AIR, provided live demos for the field on how to access information using the Online Reporting System in the OAKS Portal. The training also included a PowerPoint presentation of new features that will be deployed on March 21, 2017 when the Smarter Balanced reports become available. The video recording and PowerPoint presentation of new features for the 2016-17 Online Reporting system have now been posted on the Assessment Training Materials webpage under “Optional Trainings”.
If you have any further questions about how to use the Online Reporting System, please contact your Regional ESD Partner.
On January 12, AIR and ODE noted that ELPA21 was missing from the student restrictions feature in the Test Information Distribution Engine (TIDE). AIR expects to add ELPA21 as a selectable option to this feature by 6 am PT on February 10. At that time, users will be able to block eligible* students from taking ELPA21 by using the Blocked Subject dropdown for individual students or using the Upload Student Restrictions feature for one or more students (*Eligible students are those that have their LEP Flag set to Y.) Scenarios when a school or district may wish to use the student restriction feature to block access to ELPA21 include students who will take the paper-based Braille form, students whose IEP is undergoing revision, or students whose test has been paused pending investigation of a potential test impropriety.
Please note that, as the student restrictions feature will not be available for ELPA21 when the test window opens on February 7, schools and districts will need to use other strategies to manage which students test during the first week of the test window.
To provide increased clarity on which operating systems are supported for online testing, the resources tabs on the OAKS portal have been reorganized as outlined below:
An announcement on January 19 indicated that AIR had identified an ELPA21 recorder issue with Chrome OS 55 on a few specific devices. After further investigation, AIR has found that this recorder issue is present when using Chrome OS 54 or 55 on any HP, Samsung, ASUS, or Dell device.
Schools and Districts using these devices should use supported OSes 48-53 for ELPA21 test administration. Please note that Chrome OS 54 or 55 may be used on these devices for OAKS Science and Social Sciences and Smarter Balanced assessments. This issue with the ELPA21 voice recorder will be resolved in Chrome OS 56, which AIR expects to support for testing by mid-February. ODE and AIR will provide updates once the timeline for supporting OS 56 is confirmed.
AIR and ODE previously announced that the first batch of 2016-2017 ELPA21 scores would be available in the Online Reporting System (ORS) on Friday, April 7, 2017. However, ORS will need to be taken offline in preparation for the deployment of these scores. In order to minimize the amount of ORS downtime that will occur during regular business hours, the first batch of ELPA21 scores will now be available on Monday, April 10. ORS will be offline from 5 p.m. PT on April 7 through 6 a.m. PT on April 10. ODE has updated Section 9.8 of the Test Administration Manual to note this change to the ELPA21 data delivery schedule. For a full schedule of system downtime, please see the OAKS Online Systems Scheduled Downtime.
The Plan and Manage Testing Feature is now available in the Test Distribution Engine (TIDE). Schools and districts can now view participation reports and test completion rates for their students. This feature was available in the Online Reporting System in 2015-2016, but has been moved to TIDE for 2016-2017. Please see the TIDE User Guide for information about using Plan and Manage Testing.
AIR has recently discovered an issue affecting use of the text-to-speech (TTS) designated support on the practice tests. TTS will read text incorrectly when used in the Chrome browser. AIR is currently investigating a fix for this issue. In the meantime, students wishing to familiarize themselves with the TTS tool should take the practice tests using the latest version of the Secure Browser for their operating system.
OAKS Science and Social Sciences scores can now be viewed in the Online Reporting System (ORS). Scores will appear once a student submits their test. The 2016-2017 Online Reporting System User Guide has been uploaded to assist with any questions regarding ORS.
The statewide test window for OAKS Science and Social Sciences tests is now open. Schools and districts may now administer these assessments to students using any of the supported operating systems listed in the Operating System Support Plan. The TA User Guide has been posted to assist with any questions regarding test administration.
AIR and ODE are now supporting iOS 10.2 for student testing. This version of the operating system fixes issues identified in iOS 10.0 and 10.1. AIR has posted an updated Operating System Support Plan that reflects support for iOS 10.2. Please note that due to continuing issues with iOS 10.0 and 10.1, these earlier two operating systems will not be supported for student testing.
District Test Coordinators and District Level Users can now set school-level test windows for 2016-17 in the Test Information Distribution Engine (TIDE). This feature can be found under the Test Windows dropdown in the Preparing for Testing section in TIDE. For more information on adding or modifying test windows, please see the TIDE User Guide.
Scores for ELPA21 from the 2015-2016 school year are now available in the Online Reporting System (ORS) for all institutions and districts. For more information on using ORS, please see the Online Reporting System User Guide.
Schools that use LightSpeed may encounter a problem with the Secure Browser due to the program running in the background. Students may be presented with a “Test Environment Not Secure” error message, preventing students from testing. The problem resides in the capture element of LightSpeed, which needs to be disabled in order to allow testing on the Secure Browser. This can be done in the ‘application policies’ setting. Schools and districts should contact their vendor with questions about updating this setting.
Updated Smarter Balanced Mathematics and English Language Arts (ELA), ELPA 21, and OAKS Science and Social Sciences practice tests and an updated TA Training Site are now available. Practice tests can be accessed using supported web browsers or the Oregon Secure Browser. The 2016-2017 TA User Guide has also been posted in the Resources section of the OAKS Portal and on the ODE website.
These practice tests provide an opportunity for Oregon teachers and students to familiarize themselves with the navigation and functionality of the online tests, as well as with the embedded accessibility supports described in the Oregon Accessibility Manual. The TA Interface has been updated this year to make it easier for test administrators to identify and select the tests they want to administer. All test administrators, including test administrators who have used the TA Interface in previous years, should practice setting up a test session using the updated TA Training Site prior to administering an operational test.
Smarter Balanced Mathematics and OAKS Science and Social Sciences tests include a different calculator than the one used in previous years. It is recommended that students use the practice tests to familiarize themselves with this new calculator. A Calculator Manual has been posted to the Resources section of the OAKS portal for further information.
AIR recently discovered an issue in which the 2016-2017 versions of the Secure Browser may not properly launch when using a proxy server with Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux. This issue has not been reported by any users in Oregon.
The “Proxy Settings for Desktop Secure Browsers” section of the Secure Browser Installation Manual has been updated to include ‘hash64’ encoded URLs to the command line codes for setting the proxy on all operating systems. Schools and districts with proxy servers should use these updated commands to pass proxy settings to the Secure Browser so that it will launch successfully. If you need assistance installing the 2016-17 secure browser, please contact the AIR helpdesk at firstname.lastname@example.org or 1-866-509-OAKS (6257).
The Windows and Mac OS X secure browsers for the 2016-2017 school year are now all available for download. As previously announced, the Linux secure browser will be released on Friday, July 22.
In coordination with the release of the Windows and Mac OS X secure browsers, the Secure Browser Installation Manual, Technical Specifications Manual for Online Testing, and Operating System Support Plan documents have been updated to reflect 2016-2017 information.
As stated in the Oregon Accessibility Manual, the Smarter Balanced Math tests support full Spanish translation of each Math stimulus and item that appears stacked above the original English. In the past weeks, ODE has received a number of questions regarding stacked Spanish/English math items that have drag-and-drop answer areas that are only presented in Spanish (not stacked Spanish/English). This specific item type was designed to only allow for one answer area, requiring the Smarter Balanced Consortium to choose between presenting the answer area in either Spanish or English, not both. Given this design limitation, the Smarter Balanced Consortium prioritized displaying the answer area in Spanish instead of English to best align with the accessibility guideline of providing translation for students whose primary language is not English and who use dual language supports in the classroom.
In response to the concerns which ODE has shared about this item type on behalf of Oregon school districts, the Smarter Balanced Consortium has indicated that they are working with their technical team to identify ways to provide more flexibility for items of this type, and that they are working with their mathematics content team to limit the continued development of this item type until the technology can be updated to provide greater flexibility. For students who are assigned the Spanish translation support for the Math test, please use the practice test and explain to the student before testing begins about this item type to evaluate whether the student’s language needs will be best met by taking the test in English or in Spanish, recognizing that if the student tests in Spanish, for this particular item type, the answer area will be presented in Spanish only.
For ELA Performance Tasks, the word pronunciation feature of the embedded dictionary is only available on non-iOS devices. Please ensure that another supported platform is available for students who need access to this feature.
Users that update their Windows computers to Windows 10 after installing the OAKS Secure Browser have reported that the Secure Browser often does not open correctly following the update. When this happens, resetting the Secure Browser profile as described in Appendix B of the Secure Browser Installation Manual resolves the issue. Your regional ESD partner is available to answer questions.
As previously announced, the OAKS Diagnostic Tool includes a page that is designed for testing headsets for use with ELPA21. To access this tool, open the secure browser, click on the link to go to the Practice Test site, and then click on the link to “Run Diagnostics.” When the diagnostic tool opens, click on “Recording and Playback Check.” You will be taken through a series of checks to evaluate how the headset performs with listening and speaking items. The diagnostic check was previously only available for desktop and laptop computers running supported versions of Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux. AIR has now expanded the diagnostic check so that it can be used to evaluate headsets with iPads and Chromebooks.