FY18 New Assessment Policies

Using SMARTT Assessment Reports

 There are some new assessment policies. These policies are marked with an asterisk below and are effective FY2019. All other assessment policies are effective FY2018.

 The SMARTT system generates assessment reports so that a program can track when to administer the next test. The report will list the date administered for the previous fiscal year, either the copied May/June test or a new pre-test, the pre-test, and optional mid-year test for the current fiscal year. The assessment reports may also be used to check which learners have not yet been post-tested near the end of the fiscal year. Any of the reports may be exported into Excel. 

Assessment information for learners co-enrolled or transferred will appear in SMARTT so that all programs involved with those students can use it.

A student’s required assessment (e.g., MAPT, TABE 9/10) will appear in SMARTT at all sites where the student is enrolled, regardless of the site where a student took the test.

  • Assessments are color-coded in the SMARTT Student Assessment Screen to show where the student took the test.
  • The Primary Assessment Area (PAA) may be set at all sites within the current fiscal year, and may vary between sites. (For example, a student may have a PAA of math at one site, and reading at a site at which he/she is co-enrolled).
  • The copy icon will appear next to all May/June tests so that users may copy the last test taken from any site to their own site in the new Fiscal Year.
  • A link labeled “Other Site Assessments” located on the SMARTT “Welcome Screen” shows the list of co-enrolled students who took tests at other sites. There are two panels for current and exited students. Programs may view the list and drill down to the assessment screen to view tests for individual students. Programs may decide if they want to set the student’s PAA for this test. A column also shows if the PAA has been set. This feature will help programs know if dually enrolled students do not need to have another assessment administered immediately.
  • To access the SMARTT Assessment Reports, click on the "Site" link on the left menu in SMARTT, and then click on the "Assessment Report Primary Set" option. The report will list all the tests, dates, forms, and total number of attended hours. When the total amount of attended hours is 65 or more, a program may test the student.

Assessment Policy 1: Three Assessments in a Fiscal Year

 Programs may administer no more than three NRS approved assessments per content or skill area in one fiscal year.

EFL progression is based on the first test and the last test given in a fiscal year (July-June 30).

EFL progression must be achieved within the duration of a fiscal year in order for the EFL outcome to count towards the program’s MSG target. Students must be tested with a NRS approved standardized assessment no more than three times in a content area in a fiscal year.

 For example, if a student is pre-tested in September and then post-tested in December, EFL progression is determined by the December test score compared to the September pre-test score.

 However, if the student is pre-tested in September, post-tested in December and again post-tested in April, the student’s EFL outcome is determined by the April score compared to the September pre-test score. 

Assessment Policy 2: Primary Assessment Area (PAA) 

A Primary Assessment Area (PAA) needs to be set for students each fiscal year. A student’s PAA is chosen based on the skill or content area (reading, math, writing, speaking, listening) in which the student needs to improve as expressed by the student or determined by the program. The PAA is set in SMARTT by checking the PAA box for a student’s assessment. The PAA must be set after all pre-tests are entered in SMARTT and must not be changed during the fiscal year. 

EFL gain outcomes in the PAA and non-PAA count for NRS outcomes. One EFL gain in the PAA counts as an initial MSG outcome under the state MSG standard.  However, more than one EFL gain in the PAA and one EFL gain in the non-PAA count as partial credit and is factored into the program’s target completion rate. More details on partial credit as part of the MSG standard can be accessed here: http://www.doe.mass.edu/acls/performance/

Assessment Policy 3: Pre- and Post-Testing 

Programs should have systems in place to ensure that students understand why they are pre-tested, what kind of tests will be used as pre- and post- assessments, how many times a year they will be tested and how the score results will be explained to them, and for what purposes the program will use these results.  

Pre- and Post-Testing Hours 

  • Pre-testing 

The National Reporting System (NRS) requires that all students who have 12 or more hours of attendance be included in all federal report tables.  All students must be pre-tested before they reach 18 attendance hours but students can be pre-tested prior to enrollment. All students with a pre-test must be enrolled in SMARTT.

  • Post-testing 

Students must have 65 contact hours before they are administered a post-test. 

Programs are required to post-test students at least once, but students must not be tested more than three times in a fiscal year in the same content or skill area. Programs have the option of administering a mid-year test if this aligns with the instructional and assessment needs of the student. Programs may not test students with less than 65 hours between their pre- and post-tests with the exception of students enrolled in AECI. These students may be post-tested at 40 hours. 

*Pre- and Post-Testing of Pre-ASE and Low ASE Students-Effective FY2019 

Pre-ASE and low ASE- level students must be tested with both Reading and Math. 

Students who pre-test at the pre-ASE levels (low intermediate and high intermediate levels, GLE 4-8.9) and at the low ASE level (GLE 9-10.9) must be tested in both Reading and Math including students enrolled in STAR classes at programs offering STAR.  

Pre-and Post-Testing of High ASE Students 

Students placing into the High ASE Level are not required to take a post-test in their PAA or non-PAA. 

Because these students’ pre-test score is already high and therefore does not allow them to advance any further, the only educational outcome for students at this level is obtaining their high school equivalency credential. Under the ACLS MSG standard, students have until December 31 following the end of the fiscal year to obtain their HSE credential. Please see more details about the MSG reference period here: http://www.doe.mass.edu/acls/performance/

Pre- and Post- Testing of Advanced ESOL Students 

Students placing at the Advanced ESOL level with a pre-test score below the exit score of 612 for CLAS-E Writing and 588 for CLAS-E Reading but at SPL 6 can still make EFL gain their if post-test score is 612 or above in writing and 588 or above in reading.  

Students Enrolled after April 1 

Students enrolled after April 1, whether they are post-tested or not, must be included in the MSG denominator and reported to OCTAE. Programs should design services based on student needs and the ACLS post-testing policy which applies to all students including those enrolled after April 1 (i.e., 65 hours for CALC students and 40 hours for AECI students). 

Assessment Policy 4: Copy-Over of Assessments and the Shelf Life of a Test 

*Any assessment administered after April 30 may be copied over into the next fiscal year and used until December 31of that calendar year. Any test administered within a fiscal year (July 1-June 30) may be used as a pre-test for students who leave and return during that year-Effective FY2019. 

For example, a student’s test administered on May 2, 2017 (FY 2017) can be copied over and used as a pre-test into the next fiscal year starting July 1, 2017 (FY 2018) until December 31, 2017. If the student leaves before June 30 and returns after December 31, the student must be pre-tested again. 

However, for a student who was pre-tested any time during the fiscal year (July 1-June 30), leaves the program and returns within the same fiscal year, administering another pre-test upon the student’s return is not necessary as the student’s previous pre-test may be used again.

Assessment Policy 5: Pre- and Post- Assessment Targets 

ACLS requires that programs pre- and post-test a minimum of 80% of their students.

Pre- and post- percentage is no longer a performance standard and ACLS no longer assigns points to this target as per the performance standard memo issued on November 2, 2016. ACLS will however continue to track pre/post assessment data through SMARTT and Cognos.

Programs should continue to employ best practices for attendance and retention in order to aim for 100% pre/post testing rate and to ensure that students’ progress in their academic goals. 

Assessment Policy 6: Student Placement 

Programs may use any placement tests they choose. Programs may not use the MAPT as a placement test. The TABE 9/10 Locator may be used as a placement test. The BEST Plus 2.0 may be given at intake and may be given as both placement and pre-test. The CLAS-E Writing Assessment and the CLAS-E Reading may be given at intake and may be given as both the placement and pre-test. 

Assessment Policy 7: Reporting Assessments in the SMARTT Database 

All administered tests must be entered into the SMARTT database whether or not students made EFL gains and no exceptions are allowed. Assessment results must be recorded and reported accurately and in a timely manner.


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