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Proper and Secure Test Administration

How does the AOE ensure that tests administrators are trained and follow standard test procedures and guidelines?

District test administrators (DAs), who are trained by the Agency of Education, are assigned the responsibility to ensure that School Test Coordinators and any individual involved in test administration are properly trained on proper and secure test administration, complete the Online Test Administration module and maintain test security. Any individual administering a non-embedded accommodation must certify proper and secure administration of that testing occurrence. At the end of testing School Test Coordinators must submit a Certification of Proper Test Administration form to assure that testing has taken place with integrity. In addition to these assurances, each year the AOE observes testing at a sample of Supervisory Unions to collect more robust information. See the page on Assurances for more details.

What constitutes a test security incident?

A test security incident is any occurrence that deviates from what is described as proper and secure administration in test manuals and supporting documentation (e.g., supplemental guides for accommodations). Any test irregularity should be documented at the school/SU and, in some cases, reported to the AOE immediately (as described below) by filing a Test Security Incident Form.

In some cases, a test security incident has a low impact on the individual or group of students who are testing and has a low risk of potentially affecting student performance on the test, test security, or test validity. These circumstances can be corrected and contained at the local level. Such incidents do not need to be reported to the AOE. Examples include a fire drill occurring during a test session or minor connectivity issues interrupting testing.

An unusual circumstance that impacts an individual or group of students who are testing and may potentially affect student performance on the test, test security, or test validity must be reported to the AOE. These circumstances can be corrected and contained at the local level. An irregularity must be reported to the DA and SC immediately. Examples include more significant technology issues, students viewing a test other than their own, or inappropriate assignment/use of an accommodation.

In rare cases, a test security incident may pose a threat to the validity of the test. Examples may include such situations as a release of secure materials or a security/system risk. These circumstances have implications for anyone using the test items (perhaps outside of Vermont) and may result in a decision to remove the test item(s) from the available secure bank. Such an incident must be reported to the DC and SC immediately and must be reported to the AOE promptly.

How do I report a test security incident?

School Test Coordinators (SC) should report test security incidents to the District Test Administrator (DA). DAs must immediately contact the AOE for reportable test security incidents using the Test Security Incident Form.

Who can administer a statewide summative assessment of ELA, math, and science?

Individuals who are involved in administering assessments must be trained. This includes test administrators, proctors, and those administering non-embedded accommodations. Test administrators should be licensed individuals fully apprised of student privacy rules. A para-educator or long-term substitute might also participate in test administration, so long as they are fully trained in all test administration procedures and have agreed to the test administrator's assurances. Training of all individuals involved in testing must be documented and kept on file at each school.

Under what conditions, if any, are test administrators permitted to end testing for an individual or group of students?

Test administrators may terminate a testing session for an individual or group of students if, based on the test administrator's professional judgment, the student or students are no longer working productively. There is no requirement that students must continue working for the entirety of a scheduled assessment session.

Is it necessary to remove instructional materials from the walls or desks in the room where assessments are administered?

Material potentially related to the content of the assessment being administered must be removed or covered while tests are being administered. This does not necessarily mean that material needs to be covered/removed for the entire test window.

What rules, if any, apply to the possession and use of cell phones and other electronic devices during testing?

Students should not have access to cell phones, smart watches, or other electronic devices during testing because they are likely to be distracting and may also allow students to access information that would fall into the realm of cheating. However, it is up to the discretion of local test administrators as to how to enforce this rule.

Using a cell phone to photograph and post-test materials is strictly forbidden and should be reported to the AOE as soon as possible. Please reference the section above on test security for more information.

Can students take the test on their personal computers?

Students cannot take tests on personal (i.e., not provided by the SU/school) computers. Computers used for assessment must meet technical standards and have a secure browser installed. Even though the secure browser locks out access to other information and programs stored on the personal device, it may not be possible to eliminate distracting/disruptive pop-up windows, messages, and scheduled updates.