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Contact us via email or call us in-state toll-free between 9:00am and 5:00pm MT at 1.888.231.9393, Local 406.444.3095

Have a Media Inquiry? Contact Allyson Hagen at AHagen2@mt.gov or

  • 406-444-3160
  • 406-437-3357 (cell)

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MontCas

Welcome to the Montana Comprehensive Assessment System

This site provides all the information and tools that System Test Coordinators and schools need to administer Montana statewide assessments. We have made many changes in our website to make it easier to navigate. Please view the video below for more information about these changes. All of the information posted on this site is intended for System Test Coordinators. We have added icons to designate materials that are recommended for test administrators, teachers, special education teams, and families. These icons are posted in the legend below and on each page of the site.

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MontCAS Goals

Our goal is to provide the necessary support and training that test administrators and their teams will need to successfully administer the Smarter Balanced Assessment in addition to all other statewide assessments. We will:

  • Provide comprehensive trainings via topical and assessment-specific webinars and make them available through recordings and printable slides on our website. We will also prepare timely information and materials.
  • Work with OPI staff to spread important information to stakeholders.
  • Coordinate with vendors so all trainings can be focused on topic and touch all appli-cable assessments.

Contacts

Field Test Administration, Accommodations, Accessibility and other General Assessment Questions:

Judy Snow
Assessment Director
406.444.3656
jsnow@mt.gov

Pam Birkeland
Assessment Special Projects
pbirkeland@mt.gov

Yvonne Field
Assessment Specialist
406.444.0748
yfield@mt.gov

Paula Schultz
Smarter Accommodations Lead
pschultz2@mt.gov

Ashley Makowski
Administrative Assistant
406.444.3511
amakowski@mt.gov

 

System Test Coordinators

Are you a new system test coordinator? Are you a superintendent who has a new system test coordinator? Click here to let us know

 

2014-2015 Statewide Assessment Schedule - Checklist of Dates
Assessment Window Assessment Grades
December 3, 2014-January 28, 2015 English Language Proficiency K-12
February 17, 2015 - March 24, 2015 CRT-Alternate Science 4, 8, and 10
March 3, 2015, - March 24, 2015 CRT Science 4, 8, and 10
March 18—May 27, 2015 Montana Smarter English Language Arts and Math 3-8, 11
March 30-May 15, 2015 NCSC Alternate English Language Arts and Math 3-8, 11
April 28, 2015 (Initial Test Date) ACT Plus Writing for Public School Students 11
April 28, 2015– May 12, 2015
(Accommodations Window)
ACT Plus Writing for Public School Students 11
May 12, 2015 (Makeup Day) ACT Plus Writing for Public School Students 11
March 18—May 27, 2015
Smarter English Language Arts and Math 3-8, 11
Spring 2015 (Official Dates TBA) NCSC Alternate English Language Arts and Math 3-8, 11

 

Training and Webinars

This page is the go-to page for training and webinars for all MontCAS Assessments. Mark your calendars with the webinar schedule below. All webinars will be recorded and posted in the “Recordings” section.

New System Test Coordinator Form for Superintendents

Checklist of Dates

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Date/Time Webinar Title
10/22/2014
3:30 p.m.
Setting the Stage: Accommodations and Technology Recorded Webinar and Handouts. This webinar will provide systems with the information they will need to have in order to plan for accommodations and technology.
11/05/2014
3:30 p.m.
Setting the Stage: Test Manual Guidance: This webinar will address the most important parts of the test manuals.
11/11/14 ACCESS for ELLs Test Administrator Training: This webinar will train test administrators on how to administer the ACCESS for ELLs assessment.
11/17/2015
3:30 p.m.
ACT Fall Webinar: This webinar will give school-assigned ACT staff infor-mation about their responsibilities for the ACT, room requirements, and dead-lines.
11/19/2014
3:30 p.m.
Setting the Stage: Data Expectations Handouts This webinar will go over the dates by which student data needs to be entered into AIM and how to register students who arrive after the AIM deadlines. The webinar will also cover stu-dent participation requirements.
3/30/2015 ACT Spring Webinar: This webinar will provide reminders, upcoming dates, and strategies for avoiding common misadministration issues.
4/13/2015 Utilizing the ACCESS for ELLS Results Reports:

Additional webinars may be scheduled as needed throughout the year according to the fol-lowing routines. Invitations and login instructions will be sent via email.

NCSC Webinars: Monday
ELP Webinars: Tuesdays, alternating with ACT
ACT Webinars: Tuesdays, alternating with ELP
Smarter, Setting the Stage, CRT & CRT-Alt Science: Wednesdays

Live trainings will be given at the Assessment & Data conferences January 8-9 and January 15-16, 2015. More information will be posted on the Assessment & Data Conference page as it becomes available.

  • January 8-9, 2015: MontCAS Eastern Assessment and Data Conference, Billings
  • January 12-13, 2015: WIDA Training: ELD Standards and Unit Planning Helena
  • January 15-16, 2015: MontCAS Western Assessment and Data Conference, Missoula

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smarter

The Smarter assessment is an online, computer adaptive assessment in English Language Arts, Literacy and Mathematics that is aligned to the Montana Common Core Standards.

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Featured projects will be announced here when available.

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Data information will be posted here when available

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Information will be posted here as it becomes available.

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What is SBAC?

SMARTER Balanced Assessment Consortium
A Summary of Core Components

To help achieve the goal that all students leave high school ready for college and careers, the Office of Public Instruction joined the SMARTER Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC), a 31-state organization charged with developing an assessment system for the Montana Common Core Standards in English Language Arts, Literacy and Mathematics.

The SBAC system will:

  • Align with the Montana Common Core Standards;
  • Focus on supporting teachers' instructional practice and implementation of new standards;
  • Provide a comprehensive reporting system on classroom practices and student progress for teachers, administrators, students and parents;
  • Ensure every student is able to show what they know and can do to meet new standards; and
  • Offer classroom formative assessment processes and tools, as well as computer adaptive interim and summative assessments.

Formative Assessment Processes take place in the classroom to determine a student's learning needs, check for understanding and/or to provide evidence of progress toward learning goals.

Interim Assessments take place after a particular segment of learning such as a chapter or unit of study.

Summative Assessments are required, occur near the end of the school year, and the results are collected by the Office of Public Instruction to provide a comprehensive set of data on student achievement at the school, district and state levels.

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Opportunities will be posted here as they become available.

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CRT

The Science Criterion-Referenced Test (CRT) is aligned to Montana Content Standards. The Sci-ence Criterion-Referenced Test– Alternate (CRT-ALT) is aligned to Alternative Achievement Standards (AAS). Students in grades 4, 8, and 10 will take the Science CRT. Students with sig-nificant cognitive disabilities in grades 4, 8, and 10 will take the CRT-Alt.

Featured Projects will be announced here when available.

Student Results
Printed individual student reports will be mailed from Measured Progress to Test Coordinators for distribution to parents/ guardians. Systems can expect to receive them in early September.

 

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There is no technology information for this assessment.

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CRT Development


CRT Alignment

Two external alignment studies have been conducted of MontCAS, Phase 2, the Criterion-Referenced Test (CRT) and Montana content standards.

August 2002
The Northwest Regional Educational Laboratory ( NWREL) prepared an alignment study of the foundation of the Montana CRT and Montana content standards prior to the development of the Montana CRT.   The foundation of the Montana CRT is a bank of items from Measured Progress, the CRT testing company.   These items are named Progress Towards Standards (PTS).   The alignment study conducted by NWREL provided the information for augmenting the PTS items with items specifically developed in Montana by Montana educators. (need to link)

March 2005
The Northwest Regional Educational Laboratory (NWREL) prepared an alignment study of the 2005 Montana CRT and Montana content standards.  

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Educator Involvement Opportunities

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Bright Ideas

The NCSC Alternate Assessment is a new online alternate assessment based on alternate achievement standards that address the inclusion of Montana’s students with the most sig-nificant cognitive disabilities in the MCCS.

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Pilot 2 Test
The Pilot 2 Field Test (ELA and Mathematics) is underway for the NCSC Alternate Assessment. 88 students and 45 teachers representing 20 districts in Montana are participating in the pilot. The pilot window is October 20-November 14, 2014.clear

NCSC Assessment Features

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Information will be posted here when available.

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How to Include Students with Disabilities

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Sample items can be found on the NCSC Assessment System Website . They are available in an online and PDF format. ELA Sample items are currently available for grades 4, 8, and 11. Math sample items are available for grades 3, 6, and 11. Available assessment features for the online sample items include alternate color themes, answer masking, audio player, line reader, and magnification.

 

The National Center and State Collaborative

Bright Ideas

NCSC: A New Alternate Assessment

Why: With the implementation of the Montana Common
Core Standards (MCCS) we have the need to create a new alternate assessment, based on alternate achievement standards that address the inclusion of Montana's students with the most significant cognitive disabilities in the MCCS.

What is NCSC? The National Center and State Collaborative (NCSC) is a project supported by a GSEG grant, led by five centers and 26 states, charged with building a new alternate assessment.

The Goal: To ensure that students with significant cognitive disabilities achieve increasingly higher academic outcomes and leave high school ready for post-secondary options.

A well designed summative assessment alone is insufficient.

NCSC Framework

A COMPREHENSIVE MODEL:

All partners share a commitment to the research - to - practice
focus of the project and the development of a comprehensive model of curriculum, instruction, assessment, and supportive professional development.

Key Ideas

ASSESSMENT DESIGN:

  • Assessment Triangle (Pellegrino, Chudowsky, & Glaser, 2001)
  • College - and career-readiness for SSCD
  • Evidence-centered design
  • Balancing standardization and flexibility (Gong & Marion, 2006)

CURRICULUM & INSTRUCTION:

The Timeline:

Timeline

  • Learning Progressions • Curricular modules
  • Big ideas/enduring understandings and
    prioritization of content
  • Alignment • Entry points

PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT:

  • Communities of Practice
  • Scaling up use of CCSS-aligned academic curriculum
  • Communication by Kindergarten/Communication Triage
  • Technology and training
 

For More Information:Explore media, upcoming events, a blog, and to connect with the Community of Practice (CoP), or Contact Yvonne Field, Assessment Specialist, 406-444-0748

 

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Opportunities will be posted here as they become available.

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ELP

In addition to the participation of limited English proficient (LEP) students in the statewide CRT assessment, an annual assessment of English language proficiency (ELP) for limited Eng-lish proficient students is required.

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Featured projects will be announced here when available.

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Documents and trainings are available on the WIDA website.

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Sample items are available on the WIDA website , accessible with a WIDA user account login.

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Test Administration Manuals are available on the WIDA website , accessible with a WIDA user account login.

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Trainings are available on the WIDA website , accessible with a WIDA user account login.

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World-Class Instruction Design and Assessment (WIDA) Consortium

The World-Class Instruction Design and Assessment (WIDA) Consortium is a coalition of state departments of education that acts in collaboration to research, design and implement a standards-based educational system that promotes equitable educational opportunities for students with Limited English Proficiency in pre-kindergarten through grade twelve.  As a member of WIDA, OPI will be a member of the governing board that makes decisions about test development and research to improve both the instruction and assessment of LEP students.  More information about WIDA is online at www.wida.us

Montana educators have access to:

  • W-APT, a placement test for determining appropriate initial placement of students with limited English Proficiency 
  • WIDA professional development opportunities scheduled through OPI
  • Research resources to inform state policy decisions
  • Member pricing on WIDA products, such as the resource guides
  • WIDA Help Desk
  • Serving on Consortium-wide committees, such as item review teams
  • On-line test administrator training

 

 

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Opportunities will be posted here as they become available.

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ACT

On Tuesday, April 28, 2015, all Montana public school juniors will have the opportunity to take the ACT Plus Writing on a school day in their high schools. The test will be provided for these students without cost. The Montana GEAR UP (Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Un-dergraduate Programs) Program received a $28 million grant to fund the ACT-Plus Writing for the next 4 years.

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My Access
Through the GEAR UP Grant, Montana Office of Public Instruction (OPI) has purchased 4,000 student licenses for the MY Access! writing application. MY Access! is a web-based, cross-curricular writing program from Vantage Learning.
Contact Ashley Makowski at 406.444.3511 or amakowski@mt.gov if your school is interested in taking advantage of this opportunity.

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Understanding Your ACT Plus Writing Results

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No technology information for this assessment.

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Opportunities will be posted here as they become available.

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JUMP newsletterJUMP Newsletters

Welcome to JUMP, the OPI online assessment newsletter. JUMP is published monthly— and weekly, as needed—throughout the year to announce important assessment and data events. It provides up-to-date information necessary for the standardized administration of statewide assess-ments and the accompanying data.

 

Are you a new system test coordinator? Are you a superintendent who has a new system test coordinator? Click here to let us know

September Checklist of Dates

2014-2015 Statewide Assessment Schedule
Assessment Window Assessment Grades
December 3, 2014-January 28, 2015 English Language Proficiency K-12
February 17, 2015 - March 24, 2015 CRT-Alternate Science 4, 8, and 10
March 3, 2015, - March 24, 2015 CRT Science 4, 8, and 10
March 18—May 27, 2015 Montana Smarter English Language Arts and Math 3-8, 11
March 30-May 15, 2015 NCSC Alternate English Language Arts and Math 3-8, 11
April 28, 2015 (Initial Test Date) ACT Plus Writing for Public School Students 11
April 28, 2015– May 12, 2015
(Accommodations Window)
ACT Plus Writing for Public School Students 11
May 12, 2015 (Makeup Day) ACT Plus Writing for Public School Students 11

 

 

OPI Assessment and Data Conference 2015

Learn to use data to better understand:

2015 Assessment Conference
  • each of your students
  • your entire class
  • your grade level
  • your school
  • your system

Intended Audience:

  • Curriculum Directors
  • Test Coordinators
  • Department/Grade Level Chairs
  • Teachers
  • Staff responsible for entering data into AIM

2015: OPI Assessment and Data Conference

Eastern Conference:
January 8-9, 2015, Billings, Crowne Plaza
Western Conference:
January 15-16, 2015, Missoula, Hilton Garden Inn

2015 Assessment & Data Conference Invitation and Flyer

2015 Assessment & Data Conference Agenda

2015 Assessment & Data Conference Sneak Peek

OPI staff who want to register for the conference, please contact Ashley Makowski at amakowski@mt.gov or 406.444.3511.

Please contact Ashley Makowski, Administrative Assistant, 406.444.3511 for more information or if you want to be a sponsor.

 

Registration and Lodging

Click here to register for the 2015 OPI Assessment & Data Conference.

Billings, Crowne Plaza: 406.252.7400
Missoula, Hilton Garden Inn: 406.532.5300

System Test Coordinators should have received a coupon for free registration on November 6. Please contact Ashley Makowski at amakowski@mt.gov or 406.444.3511 if you did not receive yours.

  • Single Person: $75
  • Team of 3: $190 (15% discount)
  • Team of 4: $240 (20% discount)
  • Team of 5: $285 (25% discount)
  • Team of 6: $215 (30% discount)

System Test Coordinator and Team discounts are only applicable to registrations made by December 31, 2014.

Registration windows

  • Regular Registration: November 1-December 31, 2014
  • Late Registration: January 1-January 4, 2015
  • Late Registration Price: $85 per person
  • Last day to cancel for a refund (less the $25 MSU Conference Services fee): December 31, 2014.

 

  • Administration Training for all statewide assessments
  • Test Security Guidance and Reporting
  • Technology/Troubleshooting
  • Accessibility and Accommodations
  • Practice Tests
  • Digital Library
  • Data Accuracy
  • Data Security

Sponsorship information coming soon.