TELPAS season is upon us! You have likely already begun preparing -testing headsets, checking your rosters and filling your calendars. Here at the ELL EDvocate, we want to provide a place for you to share how your district readies for the testing window.
On January 12th, I had the opportunity to sit down with Kelly Bertholf, District Testing Coordinator for Pflugerville ISD and Melissa Haney, District Testing Coordinator for Hutto ISD to discuss some ways they help their districts prepare for TELPAS testing.
DS: Kelly and Melissa, thanks for sharing with us. What are some things you keep in mind when building your TELPAS schedules?
MH: One of the things we do in Hutto ISD to help our campuses prepare for TELPAS is that we offer work sessions. We offer a work session before the TELPAS window opens so that our testing coordinators can build their groups and their test sessions –we want to have everything ready to go for the first day of the window. We also offer some work sessions toward the end of the TELPAS window to help everyone enter in the holistic rating information and make sure everything is ready to go before the window closes.
KB: In Pflugerville I also have several work sessions -to offer that technical support. I also create a calendar. It’s a day-by-day calendar, almost a checklist of EVERY step that needs to be completed. It allows me to follow up with my campuses so that they know what the expectations are. I also suggest that you have a calibration schedule for your campuses where they all contribute their calibration dates -so that they can share those among campuses if needed.
MH: Going off of her idea about training -we make sure, in both of our districts I think, that we have a really good system for documenting training. It is the rater’s responsibility to keep track of their certificate, so in our district we make sure to go ahead and document ours in our professional development system so that the trainings don’t get lost year after year. We also have every campus coordinator keep a spreadsheet list of their raters, including what training they need and when they completed it so that we have a comprehensive reference.
KB: Yes we do the same thing. It’s really important for the next year so that your campus coordinators have something to refer to. They can determine who their new and returning raters are. You want to keep those records from year to year for your campuses.
DS: In what ways are you preparing for the online portions of TELPAS this year?
KB: In PFISD, I have all my campus testing coordinators run headset tests, using every single set of headsets they are going to use during the live administration. For one, that gives us practice answering questions just like the students will, but it also makes sure our headsets are compatible with our hardware. Along the same lines, it’s really important that your students have the same opportunities to practice -to respond to a prompt, record a prompt, and listen to their own voices and decide if they want to record again or submit that recording as their answer.
DS: Absolutely, and some of our beginning ELLs may not have used a headset or microphone before, right?
KB: Right. One of the tools we found to be helpful is flipgrid.com. It allows teachers to post a question, and it gives students a opportunity to respond and listen to themselves! -Really important practice.
Stay tuned for more TELPAS TIPS.