Making the World a better place - One assessment at a time!
2900 South 70th St.
Park One Building, Suite 150
Lincoln, NE 68506
and Technology Solutions
ALTS President and CEO, the honorable Dr. Dennison S. Bhola, is the featured speaker at the monthly luncheon meeting of the Lincoln, Nebraska Chapter of the American Society for Training and Development (ASTD). This meeting takes place at Southeast Community College in Lincoln, Nebraska. The lunch meeting is followed by a workshop that deals with how the human brain processes information and how trainers, teachers and professors could use this knowledge to prepare more effective lessons, and manage their time more efficiently during learning sessions.
Lunch Presentation: 11:30-1:00pm
Workshop: 1:15pm - 4:00pm
The location is Room 302 of the old Gallup Building at 301 S. 68th St. Place, Lincoln, NE 68510.
During May, ALTS delivered its Famous Five Foundational Day 2 workshops to the following schools in Trinidad: Naparima Boys’ College, St. Joseph’s Convent in St. Joseph, and Penal Secondary School (formerly Penal Junior Secondary School). The feedback from these interactive workshops with lots of hands-on activities was phenomenal and positive. Teachers from all of these schools mentioned the usefulness of the material and the professionalism of the ALTS presenters as hallmarks of the workshop, and confessed that it was a worthwhile use of their time. The administration of all of these schools made a commitment to continue the ALTS Famous Five Foundational Series with Day 3 during the next academic year. The ALTS President remarked that “the administration of each of these secondary schools is progressive, forward thinking and committed to taking action in the best interests of their staffs and students.”
ALTS gives back to the Oropuche Pastoral Region of the Presbyterian Church in Trinidad and Tobago. In a significant move, the three elementary schools in the Oropuche Pastoral Region of the Presbyterian Church in Trinidad and Tobago can together for a day of fellowship, learning and professional development. These elementary schools from Fyzabad, Rousillac and Siparia Road were led by Mr. Gabriel Kokaram, Ms. Christine Siboo, and Ms. Rehanna Ramlogan respectively. These principals proactively coordinated preparations for the professional development day, and about fifty teachers were the happy beneficiaries of the well-packaged ALTS Famous Five Foundational Day 1 workshop. The participating teachers remarked that this was among the best professional development experiences they have had, and booked the next workshop in the Famous Five Foundational Series for next term.
As part of his plan to “give back” to the measurement community in the Caribbean, ALTS President, Dr. Dennison S. Bhola, has invested substantial amounts of time teaching Educational Measurement concepts, principles, and hands-on assessment development techniques to a group of Master’s level scholars at the Oasis Graduate School, housed on the Anapausis Campus at Mohammed St. in Curepe, Trinidad. This select group, the first Measurement Masters Cohort, will graduate in December, 2009 with the skills and social responsibility to make a significant contribution to the quality of educational assessment in the Caribbean.
For over a year, ALTS has been investing time and resources in the Trinidad community. The main reason for this effort is that our founder was born on the Caribbean island and desires to create a feedback loop, rather than continue the incessant “brain drain”. With a doctorate in the field of Educational Measurement, and specialization in computer-based assessment, Dr. Bhola has created software and workshops designed to raise the assessment literacy levels of teachers, students and measurement professionals. Test development specialists at the Caribbean Examinations Council and the Ministry of Education in Trinidad and Tobago are particularly fortunate to have a professional with such a wealth of expertise and experience, make services and resources readily available to them for immediate use. Dr. Bhola has met, in person, with the Registrar of CXC, Dr. Jules and senior members of CXC’s Measurement Division, including Dr. Yolande Wright, the Senior Assistant Registrar for Measurement. He also made in-person visits to the Division of Educational Research and Evaluation (DERE) of the Ministry of Education in Trinidad and Tobago, and met with the DERE Director, Yvonne Lewis, as well as with several members of her test development team, including Mr. Harry Seecharan.
When interviewed, the ALTS CEO said, “Top decision makers at both the Caribbean Examinations Council and the Ministry of Education in Trinidad and Tobago are fully aware of the tremendous benefits to be derived from intelligent question banking and test construction software. Among the benefits are huge cost savings, improved test quality and reduction in the stress levels among those involved in the test development process.”
Furthermore the software designed by Dr. Bhola empowers teachers to put their classroom assessments online. This would be highly beneficial in help Trinidad and Tobago achieve the educational goals articulated in the 2020 Vision documents.
Presentation College, San Fernando, under the astute leadership of Errol Jaikaransingh has completed the Foundational Day 2 professional development workshop from the ALTS Famous Five Foundational Series. The principal and staff left the workshop excited to implement what they learned to align their assessments, instruction and curriculum for the long term benefit of the students of this well-known institution.
Mrs. Grace Ann Bradshaw is one of the most progressive and considerate school principals in the country. Over the past two years she has partnered with ALTS to ensure that her teachers receive the highest quality professional development experiences available to educators in Trinidad and Tobago. Her school, St. Peter’s Private Elementary School has already completed both the Foundational Day 1 and Day 2 professional development workshop from the ALTS Famous Five Foundational Series. At the end of the last workshop, the teachers unanimously agreed that they are two of the best professional development experiences they have ever had. Mrs. Bradshaw commented: “My staff, and by extension, my students are benefitting considerably from these workshops and we would like to have you come again soon! I will also recommend your services to my colleagues.”
In 2008 and 2009, ALTS has facilitated professional development experiences for educators in both the US and the Caribbean. This bulletin pertains to some of the work done in the Caribbean. Our customers include: Naparima Girls’ High School, Holy Faith Convent (Couva), Holy Name Convent (Port of Spain), St. Joseph’s Convent (St. Joseph), St. Augustine Girls’ High School, Naparima Boys’ College, Presentation College (San Fernando). Locals will recognize these as being among the most prestigious high schools in the country of Trinidad and Tobago. The high schools to which the majority of the population dream of getting access to when the take the 11+ Secondary Entrance Assessment. The widely help impression is that the leadership and staffs at each of these school are dedicated and excellent educators. While this is true, it does not preclude other high schools have dynamic, progressive leaders and teachers. Other ALTS clients who have demonstrated a commitment to learning include: Penal Secondary School, Diego Martin North Secondary School, Barrackpore Secondary School, ASJA Girls’ College (San Fernando), St. Stephen’s College, Vishnu Boys’ High School, Chinmaya High School, Bon Air High School, Moruga Composite, Princes Town Senior Comprehensive School, Pleasantville Senior Comprehensive School, and Palo Seco Secondary. At the elementary level our partners include the following highly successful schools: Montrose Government School, St. Peter’s Private Elementary School, Princes Town Presbyterian 1, Curepe Hindu School, Rosary Girl’s RC, and Rosary Boys’ RC.
ALTS declared its intention to respond to the Nebraska Department of Education.
The Nebraska Department of Education issued and RFP for the development of statewide assessments in Reading, Mathematics and Science. These assessments will be taken by students in grades 3-8 and one high school grade. Several of ALTS client schools contacted ALTS to find out whether intended to bid on the contract and provide encouraging advice to do so. The common questions were: “Who better qualified? Who with a better understanding of assessment issues in Nebraska schools? If not you…who? If not now, when?”
Dr. Bhola was invited by the Administration of Naparima Girls’ High School to address a meeting of parents on May 20, 2008. The meeting was scheduled to go from 4:30 – 6:00 pm. The question and answer session went on well after 7 pm and parents left with many answers to their questions. The administration and parents were pleased with the evening’s proceedings.
As he did on his previous trip in March 2008, Dr. Bhola again gave free workshops to the professors in the teacher’s college of the University of Trinidad and Tobago. He spent the morning with lecturers at the Valsayn campus and the afternoon with lecturers at the Corinth campus. The topic covered was Bloom’s Taxonomy and its use in unpacking the curriculum, and aligning assessment, curriculum and instruction. As happened in March, the workshops sessions were very well received. It seems likely that opportunities for collaboration and joint research will arise when bridges are built between educational researchers and educational practitioners.
In May 2008 ALTS conducted workshops for the following primary schools in Trinidad and Tobago: Princes Town Presbyterian #1, Rosary Boys’ RC and Rosary Girls’ RC. Teachers from other schools were invited to attend these workshops. Some, who were given the opportunity and the time off, did attend, and were glad they did! One such educator was Mrs. Donna Ramjohn-Khan, the principal of Guaico Elementary School. Mrs. Ramjohn-Khan was quite impressed and promised to let her school supervisor know about the excellent quality of the workshop with the recommendation that it be repeated in the county of Victoria so that more teachers would have the opportunity to benefit from this fantastic learning experience.
In May 2008 ALTS conducted two workshops for Naparima Girls’ High School. The workshops focused on: 1) Blooms Taxonomy and using it to decipher curriculum documents and syllabuses; 2) Creating a Table of Specification for test development and creating rubrics for scoring essays, performance tasks, projects, portfolios and short constructed response questions.
ALTS President, Dr. Dennison S. Bhola met with Research Directors at Kenexa to discuss joint research ventures and the possibility of using ALTS assessment Management software for running data analysis on some of Kenexa’s online assessments. Kenexa deploys over 900 online assessments and some of these assessments are taken by over 1 million test takers annually. ALTS Assessment Management software would save Kenexa considerable time and money as they use existing data to improve their online assessments for future use.
ALTS President and CEO, Dr. Dennison S. Bhola visited Nova Southeastern University in Florida. Nova is a world leader in college instruction for graduate credit delivered in one of two formats- online only; and blended, which is a combination of in-person and online instruction. At the end of this meeting, Dr. Bhola agreed to teach a blended course for doctoral students in one of Nova’s graduate programs. Of course, the topics involved research methods and statistics.
The Chinmaya Mission in central Trinidad was the happy recipient of a one day workshop on how the student brain learns. Brain compatible teaching strategies and assessments were also discussed. The session was attended by all of the teachers and students of this private Hindu school. They discussed the role of the mind as opposed to the brain in the learning process. The principal and members of the school board also attended.
The ALTS President and CEO was featured on national TV in Trinidad and Tobago. He was interviewed by TV 3’s morning edition anchor, Dr. Keith Clifford. During the session, members of the general public were allowed to call in with questions to receive answers on live TV. Several callers took advantage of this opportunity. Later that same day, Dr. Bhola meat with Mr. Arnott West at the Ministry of Education’s office, Alexandra Street, St. Clair. Mr. West, the Director of the Secondary Education Modernization Program (SEMP), is responsible for the deployment of useful teacher- and student-friendly software to all secondary schools in Trinidad and Tobago. He agreed that the formative assessment modules were likely to be of tremendous value to teaching and learning. He understood the role of immediate feedback in the learning process and promised to stay in touch with ALTS to explore further possibilities.
ALTS conducted a workshop for lecturers in the Veterinary Medicine Department of the University of Trinidad and Tobago. The workshop was conducted on the Omeara campus and included faculty from Mt. Hope and ECIAF. On March 6th a similar workshop was conducted with lecturers at the University of Trinidad and Tobago’s Valsayn campus. Similar positive sentiments were expressed at the end of these workshops to those expressed at the end of the workshop conducted on February 28th at the University of Trinidad and Tobago’s Corinth campus.
ALTS conducted workshops for the following schools: Naparima College (March 4), Naparima Girls’ High School (March 7) and St. Augustine Girls’ High School (March 11). These progressive schools had teachers who were very excited to engage the workshop facilitator with questions and examples from their own experiences as classroom teachers. The lively learning sessions resulted in excited teachers leaving the workshop sessions with the self-professed intention of implementing what they learned to increase learning in their own classrooms. It was truly a rewarding experience for both the workshop facilitator and the participants.
Senior officials from Trinidad and Tobago’s Division of Educational Research and Evaluation (DERE) of the Ministry of Education, including Yvonne Lewis and Harrilal Seecharan meet with Dr. Dennison S. Bhola, the CEO and President of ALTS. Their discussions focused on the technology currently used by the DERE for developing large-scale, high-stakes assessments like the SEA and National Examinations. The officials of the DERE who were present at this meeting saw demonstrations of the ALTS Assessment Management System™ software. They were particular impressed with its item banking, test development, data analysis and reporting capabilities. It would be beneficial to both parties for a thorough review to be done of the DERE’s item banking and test development practices with a view to putting systems in place to increase efficiency and reduce the stress levels of all DERE personnel involved in test development. The DERE promised to contact ALTS regarding next steps. The ALTS president was very pleased by the reception and said that he sincerely looks forward to doing this review.
ALTS conducted a workshop today for the University of Trinidad and Tobago. The workshop was held at the Corinth campus in south Trinidad. Over 200 students and teachers attended. The session focused on creating brain compatible learning environments. The preservice teachers, in particular, were very excited to learn about teaching strategies they could use to facilitate learning in brain compatible ways. Only faculty attended the afternoon session where the focus was on questioning strategies and assessments for different purposes .Although the workshop should have ended at 3 pm, the room was still full at 4 pm and many of the lecturers at Corinth stayed well beyond 5 pm to interact with the workshop leader.
ALTS visited the Caribbean country of Trinidad and Tobago and conducted a workshop for the Ministry of Education at the Rudrunath Capildeo Learning Resource Center (RCLRC). The topic of the workshop dealt with how the student brain learns and how teachers could use this information to increase learning in their own classrooms. This workshop was attended by curriculum officers from the Ministry of Education. Several questions were raised by the curriculum officers and lively discussions regarding the integration of assessment, curriculum and instruction marked the day. The topic was well received.
ALTS has been commissioned by the Teacher Preparation and Teacher Performance Improvement Unit of the Ministry of Education of Trinidad and Tobago to deliver a workshop, for in-service teachers, at the prestigious Arthur Lok Jack Business College facility in Mt. Hope. The topic is “Connecting assessment, curriculum and instruction through an understanding of how the student brain learns.” According to senior officials from the coordinating unit: “this session, planned for 100 teachers is already oversubscribed by over 100%.” Repeat sessions are therefore likely. Be on the lookout for another in October 2008 or February 2009, after Carnival.