Frequently Asked Questions

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FAQ - AccessibilityAccessibility

  • No. This is done by either a DA, DC, or SC user role.

  • The DA, DC, or SC.

  • Any time prior to student testing in the administration of an Interim and/or Summative Assessment.

  • Not for the training and practice test, but accommodations need to be set prior to a student taking the Interim assessments.

  • Universal tools are access features of the assessment that are either provided as digitally-delivered components of the test administration system or separate from it. Universal tools are available to all students based on student preference and selection. The Smarter Balanced digitally-delivered assessments include a wide array of embedded universal tools. These are available to all students as part of the technology platform. Some universal tools may need to be provided outside of the computer test administration system (non-embedded).

    Designated supports for the Smarter Balanced assessments are those features that are available for use by any student for whom the need has been indicated by an educator (or team of educators with parent/guardian and student). Designated supports need to be identified prior to assessment administration. Embedded and non-embedded supports must be entered into the Test Information Distribution Engine (TIDE). Any non-embedded designated supports must be acquired prior to testing.

    1. Accommodations are changes in procedures or materials that increase equitable access during the Smarter Balanced assessments. Assessment accommodations generate valid assessment results for students who need them; they allow these students to show what they know and can do. Smarter Balanced states have identified digitally-embedded and non-embedded accommodations for students for whom there is documentation of the need for the accommodations on an Individualized Education Program (IEP) or 504 accommodation plan. Determination of which accommodations an individual student will have available for the assessment is necessary because these accommodations must be made available before the assessment, either by entering information into the TIDE, for embedded accommodations, or by ensuring that the materials or setting are available for the assessment for non-embedded accommodations.
    PLEASE NOTE: Any adjustments to the default of regular test Universal Tools (if you’re going to the next level of Designated Supports or Accommodations) must be entered into the TIDE system ahead of signing in for the test. A Teacher/Test Administrator (TA) will not have the credentials to change settings in TIDE – this needs to be done by a School Test Coordinator (SC), District Test Coordinator (DC), or District Administrator (DA) so it should be done ahead of time.

  • Yes, you will find them on the .xlxs or .csv format called StudentSettingsTemplate

  • This is a non-embedded Accommodation dictated by an IEP or 504. Voice recognition allows students to use their voices as input devices to the computer, to dictate responses or give commands (e.g., opening application programs, pulling down menus, and saving work). Voice recognition software generally can recognize speech up to 160 words per minute. Students may use their own assistive technology devices. Students who have motor or processing disabilities (such as dyslexia) or who have had a recent injury (such as a broken hand or arm) that make it difficult to produce text or commands using computer keys may need alternative ways to work with computers. Students will need to be familiar with the software, and have had many opportunities to use it prior to testing. Speech-to-text software requires that the student go back through all generated text to correct errors in transcription, including use of writing conventions; thus, prior experience with this accommodation is essential. If students use their own assistive technology devices, all assessment content should be deleted from these devices after the test for security purposes. For many of these students, using voice recognition software is the only way to demonstrate their composition skills. Still, use of speech-to-text does require that students know writing conventions and that they have the review and editing skills required of students who enter text via the computer keyboard. It is important that students who use speech-to-text also be able to develop planning notes via speech-to-text, and to view what they produce while composing via speech-to-text.

  • Print On Demand is an Accommodation for students with a documented disability in an IEP or 504. Print On Demand is a non-embedded accommodation consisting of paper copies of either passages/stimuli and/or items are printed for students. For those students needing a paper copy of a passage or stimulus, permission for the students to request printing must first be set in TIDE. For those students needing a paper copy of the test, the help desk must be contacted by the school or district coordinator to place an order for the student. A very small percentage of students should need this accommodation.

FAQ - AIR Test Delivery SystemsAIR Test Delivery Systems

  • The Online Reporting System (ORS) is the AIR system that provides score reports for each student who takes an assessment in TDS. ORS also has the rosters feature which allows users to create and manage rosters for analyzing aggregate score data for specific groups of students. ORS also allows users to download student data files containing test scores and demographic information. Users can download student data for a selected administration by district, school, teacher, or roster. The data includes students’ personal information, including enrolled school and district, grade level and the selected test scores.

    District and school-level users can see student scores for their entire district and/or school, respectively. However, teachers can only see student scores if they are connected to students through rosters. After teachers are associated to students via rosters, the teachers can create smaller groupings of students by creating additional rosters with those students.

  • Reporting provides student performance reports for Interim assessments. Reporting includes the Interim hand scoring tasks that were previously found in the Teacher Hand Scoring System (THSS).

  • The Data Entry Interface (DEI) is a component of the Test Delivery System (TDS) that allows users to enter student assessment data, such as question responses for students that required a paper accommodation, and survey answers through the Learner Characteristics Inventory (LCI) for students that may need to take the Alternate Assessments.

  • The Test Administrator (TA) interface is a component of the Test Delivery System that allows proctors to administer online tests.

    Note: Do not use the TA Interface for sample tests. To practice administering tests, use the TA Training Site.

  •  TIDE stands for "Test Information Distribution Engine." The TIDE system provides administrators with the tools to manage users and students participating in the ELA/ Math/Science ISAT Assessments, the End-of-Course Biology/Chemistry Assessments, and the ELA/Math Alternate Assessments. TIDE supports state, district, and school test coordinators throughout the testing process, from test preparation, to test administration, to post-administration. TIDE includes features to manage user and student information, monitor test progress, and execute administrative functions such as test resets or reopens.

  • TDS stands for "Test Delivery System." It is the online testing system that will be used for the sample tests, optional interim assessments and the summative assessments. TDS delivers Idaho’s online tests through a Secure Browser. TDS consists of sample test sites and operational testing sites, the Assessment Viewing Application (AVA) and the Data Entry Interface (DEI).

  • The Student will need the Secure Browser installed on their testing machine. Once the Secure Browser has been installed, the student will need their First Name, EDUID, and the test session number (generated by the TA).

  • Yes, the Idaho Help Desk is available 8:00 am to 8:00 pm, Monday through Friday, during testing. Contact the Help Desk at 1-844-560-7365 or

  • AIR does not wipe out user information from TIDE on an annual basis. DAs are responsible for reviewing and updating all users within districts. However, on an annual basis, passwords are cleared out and all users in the system will receive an email on August 5, 2020 with steps to reset their passwords.

    DAs, DCs, and SCs will continue to have the ability to add users at any role beneath their level. For example, SCs can add TEs and TAs while DCs can add SCs, TEs, and TAs.

  • It is up to the TA – either solution will work.

  • No, EDUIDs need to be entered on the machine the student will be using at the time of testing.

  • Yes.

FAQ - General InformationGeneral Information

  • The IDAA testing window is from Monday, March 15, 2021 through Friday, May 21, 2021.

  • The Learner Characteristics Inventory (LCI), accessible through the Data Entry Interface (DEI), is required to determine student eligibility prior to the administration of any Alternate Assessment. The LCI is available from Monday, February 1, 2021 through Friday, May 21, 2021.

  • Due to certain circumstances, a student may need to be enrolled in two or more schools within the same district or different districts at the same time. A student needs to be dual enrolled when a student takes one subject at one school and a different subject at another school. Once “dual enrolled,” students will be able to test at either location and scores will be available in ORS for each district/school. Refer to the Dual Enrollment in TIDE Quick Guide for detailed steps on how to add/edit students that need to be dual enrolled.

    Please note: only DAs, DCs, and SCs have permission to add students in TIDE.

  • This portal acts as the gateway to all your assessment systems. The portal provides links and resources to help students and educators take full advantage of CAI systems.

  • Calculators are not available at grades 3 through 4. For grades 5 through 11, the calculator will vary by grade as follows:

    Grade 5 - Standard Calculators

    Grade 7 - Scientific Calculators

    Grades 9 through 11 - Full Function Calculator

FAQ - Paper-Pencil TestsPaper-Pencil Tests

  • Student’s paper-pencil test responses are entered into the Data Entry Interface (DEI). If responses are not transcribed by the proctor into the DEI, student responses cannot be scored. Access the DEI card through the ISAT portal. 

  • The spring 2020 test administration window will begin on Monday, April 5, 2021 and end on Friday, May 14, 2021.

  • No, in addition to the Large Print and Braille paper-pencil tests, a limited number of regular print paper tests will be available for all Idaho Assessments, including ISAT By Smarter Balanced ELA/Literacy and Math tests and the Idaho Alternate Assessments for ELA and Math.  Paper-pencil forms are considered accommodations, and are available only for those students with documentation of the need through a formal plan (i.e., Individualized Education Program or 504).  Paper-pencil forms are fixed and do not adapt to show student performance across grade levels.

  • The paper-pencil tests order window is TBD. All orders will be received via the Regular Print, Large Print, and/or Braille Accommodated Test Books Order Form located on the home page of the ISAT portal.  

FAQ - Performance TasksPerformance Tasks

  • The Performance Task (PT) is a shorter segment on the computer. The ELA PT consists of two parts. It is recommended that each part be administered on separate days corresponding with the segment. In part 1 students will read sources and answer three research questions. During part 2 (the full write), students will provide a written response using those sources. Only in part 2 of the ELA PT may students have access to a hard-copy (non-embedded universal tool) or online dictionary or online thesaurus (embedded universal tools). The Mathematics Performance Task is administered in one session.

  • The assessments are comprised of two components (tests) for ELA and mathematics: a Computer Adaptive Test (CAT) and a Performance Task (PT) also given on the computer. Smarter Balanced recommends that students take the CAT and PT items on separate days. For each content area, Smarter Balanced also recommends that students begin with the CAT items followed by the PT. Districts/Schools may opt to administer in a different order if needed.

  • No.

FAQ - Sample/Interim/Summative TestsSample/Interim/Summative Tests

  • The purpose of the Smarter Balanced training test is to give students and teachers an opportunity to quickly become familiar with the software and interface features that will be used in the summative assessments.

  • Yes. It is also the same user interface as the interim assessments and the summative assessments.

  • Yes, the Sample Tests are unlimited.

  • No.

  • No, they are real tests, scored, and reported in the Online Reporting System.

  • No, they are optional.

  • Yes.

  • Yes.

  • No, the Interim tests will close before the Summative Assessment window. However, they will re-open for a Summer administration at the close of the Summative Assessment window. The Summer Interim Assessment window will be open through Wednesday, July 15, 2020.

  • Performance Tasks can be found in the grade level chosen within the Practice and Training Tests.

FAQ - Roles for Test AdministrationRoles for Test Administration

  • SCs determine which students are rostered to each TA or TE. The TA or TE will be able to access the roster designated by the SC.

  • Yes, in a small school the same person could conceivably be the District Administrator (DA), the School Test Coordinator (SC), and a Test Administrator (TA).

FAQ - ScoringScoring

  • Hand scoring can be done by district- and school-level users as well as Teachers. To score hand-scored items, students will need to be assigned to a Teacher’s (TE) roster. If students are not assigned to a roster, TEs will not see the tests with hand-scored items that need to be scored.

  • The Interim ICAs are mimics of the full summative and the CAT and PT components cannot be separated. Hand scoring is necessary for the ICAs.

  • Yes. The turn-around time to see results in ORS will depend on the school’s hand scoring process.

FAQ - Test AdministrationTest Administration

  • First, the test proctor selects tests and starts a test session. Students then sign in to the Secure Browser and select a test to take; this action sends a request for approval to the test proctor on the TA Interface. The test proctor then reviews students’ requests in the TA Interface and approves/denies the students for testing. Students complete and submit their tests. When testing is done for a session or for the day, students pause their test, then the test proctor stops the test session and logs out of the TA Interface.

    1. Preparing for testing: Log in to TIDE to manage users, student information, student test settings and tools, create/modify rosters and take the Online TA certification course available on the ISAT portal.
    2. Administering tests: The TA interface allows users to create a test session and approve students for testing. The Secure Browser delivers Idaho’s online tests to students.
    3. After testing: Use TIDE to manage non-participation codes and resolve testing discrepancies (available during the Summative window only). Use ORS to view/print student score reports and view district/school performance data. For Interim tests, users can also view additional reports and data in AIR Ways Reporting.

  • Scores for all tests will be populated in ORS within 10 business days of students submitting all portions of their tests in the Secure Browser. ICA and ELA/Math Summative test scores will only be available for a subject after both the computer adaptive test (CAT) and performance task (PT) have been completed by a student. For Interim tests, items that require hand scoring must be scored/reviewed in Reporting by a teacher. 

  • All summative assessments only allow one opportunity per administrations.  

  • No, not during this administration window. Juniors and seniors will be allowed fall and spring retest opportunities.

  • Yes.

  • Yes.

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