If you’ve already decided to participate in ICAS this year, what can you do to ensure test day goes smoothly? To help answer this important question, we interviewed ICAS coordinators from a handful of schools and distilled their expertise into five essential tips.
Before we jump in, it’s worth mentioning that we have an extensive library of up-to-date support content that covers every key stage of the setup process for ICAS. We strongly recommend that being your first port of call!
For now, here are the teachers’ most valuable tips on how to set up for ICAS.
1. Import your students early
If you pay for ICAS with your school’s funds (as opposed to using the Parent Payment System), your ICAS school coordinator will need to import participating students into the system. We provide templates to help with this, but it can still take a little time for you to move the data into the template and check its accuracy, so we strongly recommend doing this as early as you can to keep your stress levels in check.
If you need a refresher on how to import students, you can watch our video guide here.
2. Double-check licence allocations before test day
Every student who is taking ICAS needs to have a licence allocated, otherwise they won’t be able to complete the test on the day. Even if you’ve registered for ICAS using the Parent Payment System, we strongly recommend double-checking that every participating child has an allocated licence. This can be completed in the “Allocate test licenses” area of the assessments portal, where you can see exactly how many licenses are allocated for each ICAS test:
For former teacher (and current customer experience manager for Janison) Mary-Anne coordinated ICAS at her school, students would often be missing licences on test day, which meant they couldn’t complete the test (you can’t just use another student’s licence unfortunately), so it pays to double-check!
For more info on how to allocate licenses in the portal, check out this video.
3. Utilise the support from the ICAS team
Jennifer Walker, Head of Teaching at St Aloysius’ College in Sydney, takes full advantage of the support that we offer in setting up for the competition. This includes chatting to our team if needed, paying attention to any reminders that we send as the testing windows draw closer, and using any key documents on our support page. She rarely has issues as a result!
All our support content serves a purpose, but for test day itself, you may want to pay particular attention to the test supervision instructions. It contains a step-by-step workflow on what test supervisors need to do both before and on test day, and scripts on exactly what to say to students for each subject. Mary-Anne believes that it’s invaluable for supervisors and recommends printing a copy for every one of them prior to test day.
4. Set up devices ahead of time
As an online test, every student who participates will need their own compatible device. If you have the time, it pays to get these arranged and set up before test day, to reduce any problems on the day. That means ensuring you have enough devices, running the technical readiness test on each of them (just open this link on the device itself), and if you’re participating in the Writing or Spelling Bee tests, installing the required locked-down browser application to prevent cheating.
If you intend on running lots of tests at the same time, you should also talk to your IT person to confirm that your internet has the bandwidth to handle it.
5. Test across the entire window if you need
ICAS must be sat during specific 5-day windows for each subject, which means you can stagger the tests throughout this window if it helps you coordinate. For example, you may have your Year 2, 3, 4 and 5 students take ICAS English on the Monday, and the remaining years take it the following day. Provided they sit the tests within the allocated window for the subject, you can space them out to make things more manageable.
We hope these tips help with running the ICAS competition! As always, if you need any support at all with setting up and running the tests, please contact our support team. You can find our phone numbers and other contact info here.