This week’s National Educational Computing Conference (NECC) marks the first public display of iAssessment’s Diagnostic Learning System. And the Mac compatible iAssessment, an application service provider (ASP) for the education marketplace, announced that its original client, the California Technology Assistance Project (CTAP), has renewed its annual contract with the company.
iAssessment will continue to provide online assessment services to more than 190,000 K-12 educators and 50,000 administrators in California, company spokesperson Elisa Cooney told MacCentral. The company will also help promote the state’s professional development resources. Financial terms of the agreement weren’t disclosed.
iAssessment simplifies the professional development process for educational institutions by providing Web-based self-assessment tools aimed at identifying educator challenges in all areas of teaching, Dan Cookson, co-founder of iAssessment, said. In total, over 325,000 K-12 educators in California, Indiana and Arizona turn to it to measure their skills and proficiencies.
Though Apple may have lost some ground in the education marketplace last year (a slippage the company plans to rectify this year), plenty of iAssessment users are Mac users, Cookson told MacCentral. In fact, the Mac OS accounts for almost 50 percent of the users with Windows users making up most of the other half with a smattering of Unix systems mixed in, he explained.
“As an ASP, we make sure that we’re compatible with a variety of platforms,” Cookson said. “And since it’s almost 100 percent Web based, it’s accessible anytime from any Internet-enabled computer. We’ve seen great performance on Mac OS 8.x, 9.x, and the public beta of Mac OS X.”
With the renewal of the CTAP service contract, iAssessment is supporting two new modules in its Diagnostic Learning System (DLS) for CTAP, including a demographic survey and a school administrator module.
CTAP2 utilizes iAssessment’s DLS and is based on the rubrics (criteria) outlined in the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing, “Factors to Consider.” These factors serve as California’s K-12 Technology Standard for a preliminary teaching credential.
Educators using iAssessment’s DLS, login to the CTAP2 Web site using individualized passwords and answer a series of questions divided into categories, such as e-mail, spreadsheets, presentations, and instructional technology. As each category is completed, users instantly receive results in a chart format ranking their skills as introductory, intermediate or proficient.
Once a teacher takes the assessment test and learns his or her proficiency level, the DLS recommends a personalized development plan featuring resources — many of which are created and provided by the California Department of Education — that are designed to help the educator bridge competency gaps and increase skill levels. This process allows better utilization and marketing of the continuing education offerings, which districts, regions and state education boards currently provide, Cookson said.
“CTAP2 has proven to be an effective assessment resource for California educators and administrators,” he added. “We are thrilled that CTAP has chosen to renew its contract and anticipate that the state’s educational institutions will continue to see an increase in the number of educators using CTAP2.”
Responses to CTAP2 are completely confidential, Cookson said. Individual results aren’t shared with supervisors, principals or superintendents. When users log in to CTAP2, they are asked for a four-digit Personal Identification Number and a password ensuring both their privacy and the privacy of other educators, Cookson said. The aggregated results of a school, district, county, region or the entire state of California are, however, available for all educational users and organizations in the state for comparisons.