We told you about Pulaski County High School a few months ago, and more great stories continue to come out of Kentucky and the Microsoft Imagine Academy.
Breckinridge County High School is in the top 10 certifying testing centers in Kentucky and two educators there – Angie Vessels and Kyle Melloy – have championed the program. They answered a few questions about their program for the KY Imagine Academy Newsletter and at Certiport we were especially pleased to see that our learning product, GMetrix, is helping their students find success. Here is the interview from the April KY Imagine Academy Newsletter:
What tests do your students take?
Our students are taking Microsoft Office Specialist 2013 exams. Kyle tests all of his advanced computer and technical applications students in Excel, Word and PowerPoint. Those that wish to do so may also test in Access.
How do you ensure students are ready to test?
After finishing a unit, we take a GMetrix practice test together as a class. This gives the students a chance to see what is going to be expected of them. Students then take their own GMetrix practice tests. They are not allowed to take a certification test until they receive a passing score on a practice test. If a student does not pass the certification test the first time, they must take another practice test before testing again. The reporting that comes from the GMetrix program provides the necessary information for teachers to work with the students on the objectives they didn’t do well on. These are great teachable moments and allow for a more personalized and differentiated learning experience for the students.
What advice would you give to other teachers who are not experiencing success?
Practice, practice, practice. In my opinion, the only way to truly prepare for a certification test is to practice in a testing environment. This can be done on a daily basis when the students are working on practices and projects. Students can split their screen to mimic the certification test. They have a work space at the top and the actual assignment on the bottom half of the screen. Since the tests are timed, it’s also beneficial to time the students on some class activities so they are familiar with that process. GMetrix has been an important tool in the success of my students. The software allows students to familiarize themselves with the testing format, and allows them to focus on specific areas in which they need to improve before certification testing. Teachers also need to be certified. When a teacher understands from personal experience what is expected on the test, he/she can better prepare the students, too.
Angie has some students currently testing. The students she spoke with said earning the certifications gives them a sense of accomplishment, as well as an upper hand in college and the business world. The teachers in the district who are testing in MOS have also set aside specific class days to practice together and use team building as a tool for being successful with each exam.