Critical Updates for SAT in Michigan

Ben Mainka's picture

MASSP continues to work closely with MDE and the College Board to prepare for the administration of the redesigned PSAT and SAT this spring. Michigan educators have been helpful in raising questions, providing feedback, and making suggestions for continued improvement. College Board's Michigan Implementation Team have been great partners in this work and have worked diligently with MDE and the field to try and make this transition to the SAT and PSAT as smooth as possible.

However, as with any implementation, there have been some “pain points” that continue to be addressed. Fortunately, we have found the College Board very responsive to our questions, concerns and suggestions. Additionally, the concerns raised by those schools that went through fall testing are helping iron out a number of problems leading into this spring's statewide administration.

Below are specific updates based on our latest communication with College Board that will hopefully provide some answers for those districts experiencing problems and information for those—hopefully few—that run into similar situations in the future.

ELL/SSD Accommodations

Michigan's special education professionals have been doing a lot of hard work in getting accommodations properly submitted for both fall and spring testing. That is doubtless a large part of the reason why, to date, the College Board has approved approximately 92% of accommodation requests made by Michigan schools. According to College Board, these approvals were made giving substantial weight to the existence of IEPs and Section 504 plans and the student’s history of needing and using the requested accommodations.

The majority of requests were approved without schools and/or students having to provide any supporting documentation. With respect to a small number of requests, the College Board has not yet been able to approve accommodations. In these instances, the College Board has either: not yet received evidence that the accommodation in question is needed; or the accommodation in question is outside the scope of appropriate accommodations for College Board tests.

If you have students who fall into one of these two categories, there are a couple options to consider:

  1. Submit additional documentation for review.
  2. Contact the College Board’s Services for Students with Disabilities department and request to speak with a clinical reviewer that is available to discuss the specifics of the request with appropriate school personnel.
  3. Utilize State Approved Accommodations (SAA’s) for select students. The utilization of SAAs allows schools to provide any accommodations on the state assessment that they feel they are obligated to make available to a particular student, but in doing so excludes the scores from being reported to colleges. Prior to making this decision, we strongly encourage you to explicitly communicate to students and their parent(s)/guardian(s) that the use of of SAA’s will result in a non-reportable college score.

Based on conversations with Michigan educators, College Board is reviewing their accommodation policies, has already identified areas for improvement, and is committed to further refining and streamlining their SSD process. We hope and expect that you will experience improvements in the months to come.

Timeline for Delivery of Testing Materials for PSAT 9, 10 and SAT

College Board recognizes that this year’s shipment schedule provides a challenge to many schools due to their spring break schedule. However our state's contract with College Board states that test materials arrive 2 calendar weeks before test day, leaving the College Board with limited options. In instances where the delivery of test materials conflicted with spring break, the requirement was to provide materials at least 7 business days prior to test day for pre-administration activities. Consequently, the College Board will provide all schools their testing materials by March 23 for this spring’s administration.

Principals should be aware that Michigan test materials shipments will have answer sheets bundled separately from test books to allow pre-administration activities to begin without breaking any test book bundles. In addition, the College Board is exploring options to resolve this problem in future years while still maintaining test security.

Printing Student Labels in the Electronic Score Portal

The College Board development team released a printing patch on February 12 to address the label printing issues some experienced. The Avery file format 5963 (or other standard 4”x2” labels) will properly print now.

Student College Board Account Confusion

College Board is aware that some students who fall tested are having difficulty in accessing their scores. This is largely due to strict privacy protections that are in place to ensure that one student's account is not improperly matched to another student’s test results and information. College Board is exploring options for simplifying the matching process without jeopardizing student privacy. In the meantime, authorized school personnel can access and print a Roster Report in the educator reporting portal, which will generate a list of codes students can use to match their scores to their College Board electronic accounts.

Help Desk Hold Times for Parents and Students After PSAT Score Release

Some students and parents experienced lengthy hold times when they attempted to contact the College Board Help Desk following this fall's PSAT/NMSQT administration. In response, the College Board added extended customer service support hours for the Help Desk line following the release of scores to help students and parents get their questions answered. Additionally, their Michigan Implementation Team has been on the road throughout January and February conducting trainings on the score portal, with additional trainings set for June and August. Going forward, College Board is committed to reducing Help Desk hold times and the frustration students and educators experienced, as a result.

Reporting Portal

While College Board needed to delay the release of PSAT reports this fall, they remain confident that the spring assessment reports will be released in early June. The first redesigned SAT score reports will closely mirror the PSAT reports released in January.

Khan Academy (Reporting)

College Board is actively working to provide educators greater access to information about student skills progress in Khan Academy, as well as analytics (i.e., time spent using the tool, practice test scores, item analysis, etc.). Ultimately, they want educators to be able to view student work within Khan Academy, directly next to student performance on the SAT Suite of Assessments. A release date of new features is not set, but it is a top priority and they Michigan educators will be informed as soon as a timeline is set.

MASSP will continue to work closely with the MDE and the College Board to keep you informed as we fully transition to the SAT and PSAT and maximize the return on our investment as a state. We thank you for your engagement in this work and advancing learning through instructional leadership.