TerraNova 3 – FAQs

Why did ACSI choose the TerraNova, Third Edition, for the Christian School Program (CSP)- ACSI’s achievement test program?
CTB (California Testing Bureau), the publisher of TerraNova, Third Edition, has almost 90 years of experience with proven research and development expertise in the educational measurement field. CTB’s research staff includes more than 20 doctorate-level research scientists as well as statistical analysts and research implementation specialists. CTB is well known and respected for the production and publishing of solid validity and technically defensible test score results.
In the summer of 2015, Data Recognition Corporation (DRC) acquired CTB’s statewide custom business and summative shelf assessment products, including TerraNova 3. DRC has provided customized, full-service assessment services to the K–12 education market for more than 35 years. The company is known for facilitating the transition to online assessment and delivering innovative, highly reliable technology solutions to state departments of education nationwide. This acquisition will expand DRC’s presence in the United States as CTB serves approximately 8 million students across the country.
TerraNova 3 is one of the most respected and widely used achievement tests, measuring mastery in the core subjects. Its design is fresh and user-friendly, and its content is current. TerraNova 3 provides detailed diagnostic information, norm- and criterion-referenced scores, and performance-level data.
Schools are able access test results online within about five days of the DRC/CTB Scoring Center’s receipt of test materials. Assessment Data Online and Assessment Data Online for Parents, the online reporting system, provides administrators and teachers with the graphic tools for disaggregation of individual and group data, discussions for school improvement, student growth and progress, and much more. A Parent Network, Assessment Data Online for Parents, is also available. Paper reports are shipped to schools within 10 days of the receipt of test materials at the DRC/CTB Scoring Center. Assessment Data Online and paper reports are both included in the Christian School Program Scoring Package.
We are excited about the enhanced services that this partnership provides. DRC/CTB has come alongside ACSI to provide ongoing professional development opportunities through the venues of webinars, regional and site workshops, and seminar conventions. Many of these activities are at no cost to participants in the Christian School Program.
Decreased cost for schools is another major reason ACSI chose TerraNova 3.
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Why did ACSI change to a different achievement test vendor in 2011–12?
ACSI’s goal is to provide a high-quality current assessment that includes helpful and technical resources at a minimal cost. With this goal in mind, ACSI researched testing companies and their products and services, and then made the decision to transition to a test that best fits these criteria.
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When was TerraNova 3 developed?
TerraNova 3 was published in 2007; it compares student performance using nationally representative, empirical, 2007 norms. In 2014 ACSI’s assessment program transitioned to updated 2011 national comparisons (norms).
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Is a cognitive abilities assessment also available in the Christian School Program?
Yes. There are two additional tests designed to measure cognitive skills and abilities: the Primary Test of Cognitive Skills (PTCS), for ages 5–7, and InView for grades 2–12. Schools can use results of these two tests to diagnose possible learning disabilities, to plan placement, and to develop effective instructional programs. When used with TerraNova 3, both tests provide anticipated-achievement scores.
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Does TerraNova 3, Christian School Program Edition, include a Bible assessment subtest?
Yes. The Bible Assessment Subtest was reviewed for question clarity and is included in TerraNova 3, Christian School Program Edition.
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How does TerraNova 3 align with state and national standards?
TerraNova 3 aligns to state standards and to the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) framework.
  • Reading item content aligns with the standards of the International Reading Association (IRA), NAEP, and the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE).
  • Language item content assesses students’ skills in the key components of language proficiency—understanding of language structure, familiarity with standard written English conventions and rules, and knowledge of syntactic constructions and paragraph development.
  • Mathematics assessments include items that are set in real-world contexts with contemporary topics suggested by teachers and students. Items are aligned to the standards of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM).
  • Science assessments are based on national science standards and frameworks. They assess student understanding relative to core science content areas: Life Science, Earth Science, Physical Science, and Nature of Science/Science Inquiry.
  • Social Studies assessments reflect the guidelines of the National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS) and emphasize the interrelationships of history, geography, governments, and economics.
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How does TerraNova 3 align with Common Core State Standards?
TerraNova 3 provides 2011 norms- the most recent empirical norms available in any norm-referenced test. Since it was developed in 2007, TerraNova 3 was not designed to measure or align to the Common Core State Standards (CCSS). The CCSS were developed in 2010, so in some grades (mostly upper) and subjects, TerraNova 3 will not closely match the common core.
TerraNova 3 is aligned as noted in the previous question and reflects a national consensus curriculum of what students should know and be able to do in each subject and at each grade level. There are many Christian, parochial, and public schools throughout the nation that use TerraNova 3 and will continue to do so.
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With what standards does the Bible Assessment Subtest align?
The Bible Assessment Subtest reflects a scope and sequence that was developed by researching the most commonly used Bible textbooks in Christian schools. As TerraNova 3 standards do not necessarily align with each individual school’s curriculum, neither will the Bible Assessment Subtest. ACSI publishes a valuable resource, The Bible Assessment Administrator’s Guide, which includes the test’s scope and sequence and helpful recommendations for connecting scoring data to Bible instruction. This resource is included in the schools test materials order.
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What kinds of scores are available for TerraNova 3?
The following are types of scores used to report the TerraNova3/InView test results:
  • Scaled score
  • National Percentile Rank and Stanine
  • Christian School Program Percentile Rank
  • Normal Curve Equivalent
  • Grade Equivalent
  • Cognitive Skills Index (PTCS and InView)
  • Anticipated Achievement Score (PTCS and InView)
  • Objectives Performance Index
  • Lexile for grades 1–8
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What kinds of score reports do I receive?
When your school chooses to have tests machine scored, you automatically receive the Christian School Program Scoring Package, which is described under the Assessment Support tab at www.purposefuldesign.com. Assessment Data Online is also included in the Christian School Program Scoring Package.
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Can my school exclude students from the traditional student results (i.e., home school students, students with learning disabilities, English language learners)?
TerraNova 3 was developed as an inclusive assessment, meaning that non-traditional students, e.g., English language learners, students with IEPs, are included in the norming process. These students were allowed to take the test using appropriate accommodations. For this reason DRC/CTB discourages schools from excluding students.
However, it is understood that schools may have legitimate reasons for wanting to view traditional student scores apart from non-traditional students. The Christian School Program provides two ways for schools to do this.
  • Complete the M Column codes in the student data section of the test booklet/answer sheet. Instructions are found in the Test Coordinator’s Manual. This information will allow schools to disaggregate groups of students within Assessment Data Online.
  • Follow the packaging instructions in the Test Coordinator’s Manual for “Excluded Students.” This process only effects group paper reports, not Assessment Data Online, and is not highly recommended.
Testing accommodations are also allowed and detailed in the Assessment Accommodations Supplement.
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Can schools compare TerraNova 3 test results to students’ previous results with the Stanford 10?
Yes. DRC/CTB developed a linking study for Stanford 10 (2011 ACSI administration) and TerraNova 3 (2012 ACSI administration). The study will be in the form of a table comparing performance levels using cut scale scores and percentiles. This table is accessible at www.purposefuldesign.com, under Assessment Support, and on Assessment Data Online.
Listed below are some reasons schools may observe a drop in scores from Stanford 10 to TerraNova 3:
  • Newer test norms – It is very common to see a drop in scores when shifting to new norms (although these are usually minor, single-digit shifts).
  • Differences in test design – SAT 10 is a more traditional achievement test design; TerraNova 3 is specifically designed to include more higher-order thinking skills than the traditional achievement test.
  • Differences in test content – Every test is a sample of the domain being assessed, so TerraNova 3 may have a challenging sample of possible items, or it may reflect that after years of administering the SAT 10, teachers naturally align their curriculum to the assessment they are and have been using. Switching from SAT 10 to TerraNova 3 provides schools with the opportunity to discover holes that have developed in their curriculum over the years.
  • Differences in scoring approach – SAT 10 uses a 1-parameter Rasch model; TerraNova 3 uses a 3-parameter Item Response Theory model. Three parameter IRT is considered to give more accurate results for individual students and groups with small numbers.
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Are Christian School Program norms available?
Yes. Each year student results are compared with the previous year’s Christian School Program results. Schools may also make comparisons to their ACSI region and partner organization results.
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How do I access Assessment Data Online?
Once your school’s tests are scored, DRC/CTB will send you an email providing Assessment Data Online access information. If you are unable to locate this email, you may call ACSI Care Team at 800-367-0798 for assistance.
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Which grade levels does TerraNova 3 test?
TerraNova 3 may be administered to grades K–12 (or Levels 10 – 22).
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Is TerraNova 3 a timed test?
Yes. TerraNova 3 is designed to minimize the effect of speededness* and maximize the validity and instructional relevance of the assessment results. To ensure the most valid and useful measures of achievement possible, DRC/CTB set appropriate administration time limits that facilitate student completion.
*The effect that results when a student may guess randomly or may be unable to demonstrate what they truly know and can do because of time constraints.
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Are the TerraNova 3 subtests all multiple-choice?
Yes. TerraNova 3 uses selected-response (multiple-choice) items to provide detailed comparative and diagnostic information.
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When is the Christian School Program testing window?
There are two testing windows: Fall testing which takes place in October and Spring testing which takes place in April*.
*Although spring testing is scheduled to take place between April 1 and April 30, testing may be scheduled earlier. The spring empirical window is equal to instructional days 136 through 160. If your school has completed 136 days of instruction for the year, it is within the empirical norm window and can begin testing. Schools that send their documents in for scoring earlier will receive their reports earlier. The scoring center must receive completed test books and answer documents no later than May 31. Documents received after June 1cannot be included in the Christian School Program norms.
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Is there a deadline for returning tests to be scored?
Yes. Tests must be received at the scoring center before June 1. After a very brief grace period, tests will be returned to the school unscored. Please note all important program deadlines. These can be found in the Test Coordinator’s Manual, and under the Assessment Support tab at www.purposefuldesign.com.
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How do I order TerraNova 3 test materials?
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What is the deadline for ordering TerraNova 3 test materials?
Schools will want to take advantage of previous year pricing by ordering before the early December deadline each year. Schools may order materials any time before spring testing, but need to understand that the earlier they order the better. Please note all important program deadlines. These can be found in the Test Coordinator’s Manual and under the Assessment Support tab at www.purposefuldesign.com.
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Are optional reports available? How do I order them?
Yes, optional reports are available and a list of these reports may be found in Online Enrollment and under the Assessment Support tab at www.purposefuldesign.com. Optional reports are ordered when completing OE, but may also be requested by contacting ACSI Care Team.
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What is Online Enrollment for machine scoring?
Online Enrollment (OE) is a required process for all schools using machine scoring and provides DRC/CTB’s scoring center with important information so that it can have a check system in place when tests finally arrive to be scored. OE provides for quality control and allows for more accurate processing and timely turnaround of scoring.
Once your materials order is placed, you will need to complete OE for machine scoring. You will receive an email from ACSI (sent to the email address that you enter on your materials order). This email will provide directions for accessing OE.
  • In OE you will be asked to provide some general information about your school and testing program.
  • If you purchase Precoding Services, you will enter student demographic data.
  • You may order optional reports (these are available in addition to your Christian School Program Scoring Package of reports that comes automatically to all schools in this testing program).
  • You may select to enter data in one of two OE windows, and you may enter and adjust data throughout that window. If you are testing in March, be sure to use the first window, so that your Test Coordinator Kit arrives in plenty of time before testing. In any case it is recommended that schools order materials and complete OE as early as possible.
  • Your school’s customized Test Coordinator’s Kit will be mailed from DRC/CTB shortly after the close of the OE window you use. The kit includes important information about administering the test, packaging instructions, and scoring center labels.
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Can our school send tests in to be scored without completing Online Enrollment (OE)?
No. OE is required for machine scoring. If tests are received at the scoring center without proper forms and labels, they will be returned to the school to repackage and ship.
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What are Precoding Services?
Precoding Services provide your school with student labels for test booklets/answer sheets that are precoded with student identification data, such as name, class, birth date, test level, school/campus, ID number, and other special codes. Schools may order precoding and enter student data for the precoded labels through Online Enrollment. DRC/CTB is providing several new options for entering your student biographical data. Please allow 4-6 weeks after the close of the OE window you use for the precoding process to be completed and bar code labels shipped to you.
Precoded student labels:
  • Reduce test administration time.
  • Eliminate errors in data entry of student information that could cost your school reprinting fees.
  • Simplify 6-digit entry of student ID numbers (Student ID numbers will allow you to observe individual student growth from year to year on ACSI Data Online.)
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Does DRC/CTB offer a scope and sequence for each grade level?
Yes. A resource entitled Teacher’s Guide for TerraNova, Third Edition includes a scope and sequence listing objectives and subskills for all subtests at all grade levels. The Teacher’s Guide may be purchased through ACSI.
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What kinds of resources are available for schools that administer TerraNova 3?
Through ACSI schools may access many DRC/CTB resources that help educators and parents make the best use of TerraNova 3 test results including the Teacher’s Guide to TerraNova, Third Edition, a comprehensive guide that explains the purposes of standardized testing and provides general guidelines for interpreting and using test results. Other helpful resources include Classroom Connections, the Instructional Resource Kit, and Beyond the Numbers.
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What kinds of assessment professional development are available through ACSI?
ACSI offers live and recorded webinars, and site and regional workshops. For more information visit www.purposefuldesign.com and select the Assessment Support tab.
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Are there diagnostic tests, school-readiness tests, career-guidance tests, language-proficiency tests, etc., available in this program?
ACSI continues to work with DRC/CTB to provide an array of testing products and services that will enhance a school’s capacity to evaluate student abilities. Currently optional assessments and tutorials include:
  • Early Learner- PreK – 3
    • Fox Letters and Numbers- Monitor early learners’ development of mathematics and reading concepts.
    • Fox in a Box- Provide insightful diagnostic information about students’ literacy and growth.
    • Fox Adds Up- Help every child succeed in mathematics.
  • LAS Links
    • LAS Links Online- Assess the academic and social language skills of English language learners in reading, writing, speaking, listening, and comprehension skills.
    • LAS Links Benchmark- This series of three benchmark tests provides valuable insight and information about language proficiency and progress at any point during the school year. Can be self-scored.
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If you are in need of additional assistance, contact the ACSI Care Team or call 800.367.0798