Frequently Asked Questions
Why did ACSI change to a different achievement test vendor in 2011-12?
ACSI’s goal is to provide a high-quality current assessment that includes helpful and technical resources at a minimal cost. With this goal in mind, ACSI researched testing companies and their products and services, and then made the decision to transition to a test that best fits these criteria.
Why did ACSI choose the TerraNova, Third Edition, for its achievement test program?
CTB/McGraw-Hill, the publisher of TerraNova, Third Edition, has over 85 years of experience with proven research and development expertise in the educational measurement field. CTB’s research staff includes more than 20 doctorate-level research scientists as well as statistical analysts and research implementation specialists. CTB is well known and respected for the production and publishing of solid validity and technically defensible test score results.
TerraNova 3 is one of the most respected and widely used achievement tests, measuring mastery in the core subjects. Its design is fresh and user-friendly, and its content is current. TerraNova 3 provides detailed diagnostic information, norm- and criterion-referenced scores, and performance-level data.
Schools will be able to access test results online within about five days of the CTB Scoring Center’s receipt of test materials. ACSI Data Online, the online reporting system, provides administrators and teachers with the graphic tools for disaggregation of individual and group data, discussions for school improvement, student growth and progress, and much more. For 2012-13 a Parent Network will be added to this service. Paper reports will be shipped to schools within 10 days of the receipt of test materials at the CTB Scoring Center. ACSI Data Online and paper reports are both included in the ACSI Scoring Package.
We are excited about the enhanced services that this partnership provides. CTB/McGraw-Hill has come alongside ACSI to provide ongoing professional development opportunities through the venues of webinars, regional and site workshops, and seminar conventions. Many of these activities are at no cost to participants in the ACSI Assessment Program.
Decreased cost for schools is another major reason ACSI chose TerraNova 3.
When is the ACSI Student Assessment Program testing window?
There are two testing windows:
Fall testing: October
Spring testing: April*
*Although spring testing is scheduled to take place between April 1 and April 30, testing may be scheduled earlier. The spring empirical window is equal to instructional days 136 through 160. If your school has completed 136 days of instruction for the year, it is within the empirical norm window and can begin testing. Schools that send their documents in for scoring earlier will receive their reports earlier. The scoring center must receive completed test books and answer documents no later than May 31. Documents received after June 1cannot be included in the ACSI norms.
What is Online Enrollment for machine scoring?
Online Enrollment (OE) is a required process for all schools using machine scoring and provides CTB’s scoring center with important information so that it can have a check system in place when tests finally arrive to be scored. OE provides for quality control and allows for more accurate processing and timely turnaround of scoring.
Once your materials order is placed, you will need to complete OE for machine scoring. You will receive an email from ACSI (sent to the email address that you enter on your materials order form). This email will provide directions for accessing OE.
- In OE you will be asked to provide some general information about your school and testing program.
- If you purchase Precoding Services, you will enter student demographic data.
- You may order optional reports (these are available in addition to your ACSI Scoring Package of reports that comes automatically to all schools in the ACSI testing program).
- There are two OE windows:
- Window 1: November 5, 2012 – January 18, 2013
- Window 2: January 29, 2013 – February 22, 2013
- You may select either OE window to enter your data, and you may enter and adjust data throughout that window. Once your OE window is closed, you may no longer access or adjust data. If you are testing in March, be sure to use the first window, so that your Test Coordinator Kit arrives in plenty of time before testing.
- Your school’s customized Test Coordinator’s Kit will be mailed from CTB shortly after the close of the OE window you use.
What are Precoding Services?
Precoding Services provide your school with student labels for test booklets/answer sheets that are precoded with student identification data, such as name, class, birth date, test level, school/campus, ID number, and other special codes. Schools may order precoding and enter student data for the precoded labels through Online Enrollment. CTB/McGraw-Hill is providing several new options for entering your student biographical data. Please allow 4-6 weeks after the close of the OE window you use for the precoding process to be completed and bar code labels shipped to you.
Precoded student labels:
- Reduce test administration time.
- Eliminate errors in data entry of student information that could cost your school reprinting fees.
- Simplify 6-digit entry of student ID numbers (New this year! Student ID numbers will allow you to observe individual student growth from year to year on ACSI Data Online.)
Is TerraNova 3 a timed test?
Yes. TerraNova 3 is designed to minimize the effect of speededness* and maximize the validity and instructional relevance of the assessment results. To ensure the most valid and useful measures of achievement possible, CTB set appropriate administration time limits that facilitate student completion.
*The effect that results when a student may guess randomly or may be unable to demonstrate what they truly know and can do because of time constraints.
Does TerraNova 3, ACSI Edition include a Bible assessment subtest?
Yes. The Bible Assessment Subtest was reviewed for question clarity and is included in TerraNova 3, ACSI Edition.
Which grade levels does TerraNova 3 test?
TerraNova 3 may be administered to grades K–12 (or Levels 10 – 22).
When was TerraNova 3 developed?
TerraNova 3 was published in 2007; it compares student performance using nationally representative, empirical, 2007 norms.
How does TerraNova 3 align with state and national standards?
TerraNova 3 aligns to state standards and to the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) framework. CTB/McGraw-Hill is in the process of creating an alignment study for the Common Core Standards.
- Reading item content aligns with the standards of the International Reading Association (IRA), NAEP, and the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE).
- Language item content assesses students’ skills in the key components of language proficiency—understanding of language structure, familiarity with standard written English conventions and rules, and knowledge of syntactic constructions and paragraph development.
- Mathematics assessments include items that are set in real-world contexts with contemporary topics suggested by teachers and students. Items are aligned to the standards of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM).
- Science assessments are based on national science standards and frameworks. They assess student understanding relative to core science content areas: Life Science, Earth Science, Physical Science, and Nature of Science/Science Inquiry.
- Social Studies assessments reflect the guidelines of the National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS) and emphasize the interrelationships of history, geography, governments, and economics.
How does TerraNova 3 align with Common Core State Standards?
TerraNova 3 provides 2007 norms- the most recent empirical norms available in any norm-referenced test. Since it was developed in 2007, TerraNova 3 was not designed to measure or align to the Common Core State Standards (CCSS). The CCSS were developed in 2010, so in some grades (mostly upper) and subjects, TerraNova 3 will not closely match the common core.
TerraNova 3 is aligned as noted in the previous question and reflects a national consensus curriculum of what students should know and be able to do in each subject and at each grade level. There are many Christian, parochial, and public schools throughout the nation that use TerraNova 3 and will continue to do so until CTB publishes their new norm-referenced test aligned to the CCSS.
CTB has published TerraNova Common Core™ (TNCC), and CTB recognizes that even TNCC is really a “short term” solution for schools needing early insight, until the next norm-referenced test is published, which will be fully aligned to the CCSS. The TNCC is limited in scope: Reading/Language Arts and Math for grades 3-8. Although the focus of TNCC is mainly criterion-referenced, the normed scores from this test are much the same as those for TerraNova 3, ACSI Edition—only a few newly normed items were put into the mix. This transitional assessment is not available through ACSI.
Is a cognitive abilities assessment also available in the ACSI Student Assessment Program?
Yes. There are two additional tests designed to measure cognitive skills and abilities: the Primary Test of Cognitive Skills (PTCS), for ages 5–7, and InView for grades 2–12. Schools can use results of these two tests to diagnose possible learning disabilities, to plan placement, and to develop effective instructional programs. When used with TerraNova 3, both tests provide anticipated-achievement scores.
Are there diagnostic tests, school-readiness tests, career-guidance tests, language-proficiency tests, etc., available from CTB/McGraw-Hill?
ACSI is working with CTB/McGraw-Hill to provide an array of testing products and services that will enhance a school’s capacity to evaluate student abilities. Currently optional assessments and tutorials include: Writing Roadmap, Fox Letters and Numbers, LASLinks, and TerraNova Online.
What kinds of scores are available for TerraNova 3?
The following are types of scores used to report the TerraNova3/InView test results:
- Scaled score
- National Percentile Rank and Stanine
- ACSI Percentile Rank
- Normal Curve Equivalent
- Cognitive Skills Index (PTCS and InView)
- Anticipated Achievement Score (PTCS and InView)
- Objectives Performance Index
- Lexile for grades 1 – 8
Is a grade equivalent (GE) score available with TerraNova 3?
The reason for not including the grade equivalent score in the ACSI Student Assessment Program is two-fold; GEs are very often misinterpreted, and, there are other scores that provide more accurate development/growth information. A GE provides basic development information: below grade level, grade level, and above grade level. The year and month listed on a GE score, for example, 6.3 for a student in grade 3 is often interpreted as- the third grade student is achieving at a sixth grade, third month level. In reality, the score is suggesting that the average sixth grader, in the third month of the year, would receive the same score if he/she took the third grade subtest.
More accurate development/growth scores include:
The scale score, which can be compared to grade level mean scale scores on ACSI Data Online. This chart not only allows schools to see if a student is achieving below, at, or above grade level, but also know exactly where that student is achieving compared to national and ACSI mean scale scores (see the scale score comparison chart on ACSI Data Online). A third grader with a Reading scale score of 655 is achieving in an advanced level for third graders, and in a proficient level for fourth graders (see table on page 13 of the Guide to Test Interpretation).
Objectives scores on TerraNova 3 are also very diagnostic and accurate. These scores provide “below mastery”, “mid-mastery”, and mastery levels.
Lexile scores provide an accurate proficiency level for reading and can be found in ACSI Data Online under each student’s individual scores (grades 1-8).
ACSI and CTB have developed a webinar addressing the issue of grade equivalents. This webinar is scheduled for November 14, 2012 and will be recorded. The complete schedule of webinars, as well as webinar recordings, can be found on www.purposefuldesign.com, under Assessment Support.
Can schools compare TerraNova 3 test results to students’ previous results with the Stanford 10?
Yes. CTB developed a linking study for Stanford 10 (2011 ACSI administration) and TerraNova 3 (2012 ACSI administration). The study will be in the form of a table comparing performance levels using cut scale scores and percentiles.
Listed below are some reasons schools may observe a drop in scores from Stanford 10 to TerraNova 3:
- Newer test norms – It is very common to see a drop in scores when shifting to new norms (although these are usually minor, single-digit shifts).
- Differences in test design – SAT 10 is a more traditional achievement test design; TerraNova 3 is specifically designed to include more higher-order thinking skills than the traditional achievement test.
- Differences in test content – Every test is a sample of the domain being assessed, so TerraNova 3 may have a challenging sample of possible items, or it may reflect that after years of administering the SAT 10, teachers naturally align their curriculum to the assessment they are and have been using. Switching from SAT 10 to TerraNova 3 provides schools with the opportunity to discover holes that have developed in their curriculum over the years.
- Differences in scoring approach – SAT 10 uses a 1-parameter Rasch model; TerraNova 3 uses a 3-parameter Item Response Theory model. Three parameter IRT is considered to give more accurate results for individual students and groups with small numbers.
What kinds of resources are available for schools that administer TerraNova 3?
Through ACSI schools may access many CTB/McGraw-Hill resources that help educators and parents make the best use of TerraNova 3 test results including the Teacher’s Guide to TerraNova, Third Edition and Beyond the Numbers, a comprehensive guide that explains the purposes of standardized testing and provides general guidelines for interpreting and using test results.
Are the TerraNova 3 subtests all multiple-choice?
Yes. TerraNova 3 uses selected-response (multiple-choice) items to provide detailed comparative and diagnostic information.
Does CTB/McGraw Hill offer a scope and sequence for each grade level?
Yes. A resource entitled Teacher’s Guide for TerraNova, Third Edition includes a scope and sequence listing objectives and subskills for all subtests at all grade levels. The Teacher’s Guide may be purchased through ACSI.
Will there be ACSI norms? If so, when and how will they be developed?
The first year of TerraNova 3 testing (spring 2012) provided the data for the development of ACSI (rolling) norms. ACSI norms will first appear on spring 2013 score reports.