"Every child a graduate. Every graduate prepared." This is is the credo emblazoned atop the official website of the Alabama State Department of Education. It is emblematic of the spirit of the great state of Alabama and its system of public K-12 education, and you can tell that AL stakeholders take it seriously.
Technology implementation, community outreach, and data-driven instruction are among the pillars of this system, which comprises 733,089 K-12 students and 11,149 pre-K students, according to the most recent count.
The following five facts are meant to provide a quick overview of the ACT Aspire, AL’s new state assessment.
1. The ARMT and the ACT Aspire
The ACT Aspire exams weren't always Alabama's gauge of student progress. Previously, the Alabama Reading and Math Test (ARMT) had been the statewide standardized test of choice, but this was superseded by the ACT Aspire exams in the spring of 2014.
The new tests are for grades 3 through 10, and they measure student progress in English, reading, writing, math, and science.
2. Where can I find sample test questions?
Students, parents, and teachers have ample reason to seek out sample test questions for the ACT Aspire exams . . . and they're easily available.
Formally known as "exemplar items," these sample test questions and answers keys can be utilized by anyone with an Internet connection and a desktop or laptop computer. A user name and password are required, but those are listed right there on the webpage, so this shouldn't prove much of an obstacle to the test items!
3. New questions.
These new exams are a different breed, especially when compared to the previously used ARMT exams. According to the State of Alabama Department of Education, the ACT Aspire exams are focused "less on multiple-choice questions and more on open-response questions."
These deeper exam questions allow for more "meaningful, honest feedback" and effectively raise the bar for student assessment.
4. Computer-based assessments.
The exams include "several technology-based components that work together to deliver test content to students." Thus, computer-based assessment is part and parcel of ACT Aspire testing.
This is primarily accomplished via the extensive, cutting-edge ACT Aspire Portal, which is web-based and readily accessible.
Check out LearnBop’s brand new Technology Enhanced Items (TEI) to see what new computer-based item types will look like. Teachers can use these new items right now for free!
5. Transparency around reporting.
Concerned parents demand transparency in standardized test reporting, and Alabama has answered the call. To this end, a webpage provided by ACT Aspire enables parents to order printed reports detailing test results. This same webpage is the one where test administrators and coordinators can generate summative and periodic reports pertaining to ACT Aspire exams.
We hope this list was informative, and that you learned something you didn't know before. We'd love to hear from you in the comments below. Thanks for reading!
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About the Author
David Moadel is in his third decade working in education. He has taught, mentored, and inspired students from elementary age through adult. David has earned his master's degree in curriculum and instruction from the American College of Education, and is currently a certified teacher in Florida. David enjoys teaching, writing, and utilizing technology tools to communicate with people with diverse viewpoints across the globe.