Frequently Asked Questions

SIS Data

Is there anyway that the course #’s that are being pulled from our SIS could be renamed? They are a set of numbers and not reflective of the hour. Example “Science MS17760” It would be great to be 1st hour, 2nd hour, etc.


Technically this not impossible or our tech team to do as a special request. However, Empower takes its cues from the SIS, so the simplest way to resolve this is to rename the courses there and let Empower sync. Any changes you might make to them yourself in Empower, will only be overwritten on the next sync.




Is there a way to import into SIS at the end of semesters to it can be uploaded to the state for reporting?


Generally no.
Most SISs allow us to pull data but not to push it. The big question is what kind of scores do you need? Aggregate scores for a course? Standards Scores? ABCDF scores? Many schools pull scores from Empower to Excel and then manipulate them into an aggregate and a format that you need for the SIS and then enter them at the end of the term into the SIS.




Why can't I delete a user?


Students' historical scores are kept in Empower and are associated with the teacher who gave the score. Deleting a teacher would affect this data, so instead of deleting users, they can be deactivated by administrators.




In the drop down of available teachers, there are old staff members showing. Do I change that manually or is that an issue with our data being pulled from the SIS? I am trying to figure out who to help straighten out our data.


If Empower is syncing with your SIS, we will want to make most changes in the SIS and let them sync over to Empower. If you are sure everything looks right in the SIS, then please create a helpdesk ticket with specific examples of data that is not as expected and we can help you troubleshoot what's happening.





Admin Tools

Can users' social media rights be restricted?


Yes. Administrative users have a tool called Social Networking Manager which can be used to restrict social media rights for users as well as to populate the "Bad Word Filter."




How can I monitor what my students are saying in Empower's social media tool?


There are 2 good ways to do this.

The first is to use the Empower Student Home Page tool in Educate Links to view Empower as any of your students. From there you can see everything they see.

The second is the Social Networking Manager which has a tool that allows you to search messages any user has posted.




How should I make sure I'm ready for the new school year?


This will help you diagnose your readiness and figure out what to do.

https://www.adultcapacity.com/blog/new-year-prep




What is the Plus Delta and how do we set it up?


Read all about it here.

https://www.adultcapacity.com/blog/plus-delta




How do schools handle setting starting places/ levels for new students?


This video will help explain some concepts and options on this topic.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sR6-JwUvFzw





Trouble Shooting

I am locked out of my account, what do I do?


Contact whomever your district has designated as an Empower administrator. They can pull up your account and unlock it. This may happen when you enter a wrong password too many times. The Administrator can also give you a new password if you think you may be mistaken about yours.

This video will help them.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tl9M6JghyTY




I forgot my password. What can I do?


On the log in page, there is a "forgot password" button. Clicking that will send an email to you with your password in it. If you don't have an email associated with your account, contact whomever your district has designated as an Empower administrator and they can reset your password manually. There is also the option of signing in with Google single sign-on if you have linked your google account.




When creating a user, I get this error:

In trying to put a new student into Educate, this message keeps coming up. Violation of UNIQUE KEY constraint 'UQ_SCHOOL_STUDENT_ID'. Cannot insert duplicate key in object 'dbo.STUDENTS'. The duplicate key value is (). The statement has been terminated.


This means that the student ID you are trying to use is already in the system. Sometimes this happens because when you push save after entering their info, it takes a few seconds for the program to think, but it is working. Often (I do it all the time) we hit that button a few more times cause we are impatient. The program then tries again even tho it worked the first time, then when the page does refresh it shows you the result from your 3rd or 4th hit. To find out if this is the issue, check and see if the student you were trying to create actually did get created. Then also try again and this time show a little patience, yeesh! :) Hit the button just once and see if all goes smoothly.




It says Google App Not Verified....


This video will help explain it.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=we91D4Z3gs8





Instruction

Can others edit the activities I create?


Not unless you give them edit rights. If you have shared an activity, another user can edit a copy of it, but your original will remain intact.




When creating an activity and sharing it, how much of the activity can be seen by teachers, parents, and students?


Everything will be visible except for steps which you toggle to green on the action tab. Do that by clicking the little icon of a student on the step and turn it into a green teacher icon instead.

Look for the blue button at the top of the page which will allow you to See Student View in order to get a peek at what you're building as your learners will see it.




Are the activities useable by other teachers? Are all activities automatically shared with others?


In the activity creation tool, there is a drop-down box labeled "Share." There you can select if you want to keep the activity private (which is the default) or share it with others. Keeping it private does not mean it can't be assigned to students, it means that it will not appear in the database when other uses search for activities and they will not be able to assign it themselves. To enable users to view and assign the activity, select their demographic from the drop-down menu. Look for this button in the upper right corner of your activity.




Why would I want to keep an activity private?


One good reason is that not all activities will be useful to others. If you create a quick activity that says, for example, "read outloud in class" just for the purpose of making that activity gradeable, there is no need to clutter the database with all activities of that kind. Another reason would be selfishness.




Do we need to enter every activity we do into Empower?


Any activity you want to score needs to be created in Empower and aligned to a learning target. This doesn't have to be complicated, you may want to simply pop a score into Empower using the Quick Activity button as shown in this video.




Why is there a copywritten button on quizzes?


This has no automation or functionality aside from a chance for you to alert users that you may be copying information which is owned by, say, the textbook company and should not be reproduced for use outside of your school/district.




If a teacher decides to add a question and a student has already taken a quiz, can they?


If a teacher makes changes to a quiz, Empower will alert them that kids have scores on it already and prompt them to rescore the quiz based on the changes.




Is there a way that when you lock quizzes or activities and the student completes it successfully…can that proficient score automatically unlock the next item in the playlist?


Not presently, no. Locking and unlocking are controlled manually by the learning facilitator (teacher).




Is there a feature on the quizzes that if a student doesn’t pass with a proficient score, is there a way that they can retake the quiz until they are proficient without the teacher having to reopen it all of the time?


No, not at present. Retakes are controlled manually by the teacher (LF) in the control panel.

You may consider putting several instances of the quiz in a Voice and Choice and set it so that the student need only pass 1 of the quizzes. That would not preclude them from trying a few times if they need to. Then all attempts would be recorded as well instead of being erased as happens when a student does a retake.




Can we print the action steps?


Yes. Download as a PDF (see image) and print from there.




What is the difference between the playlist types?


Instructional- Run of the mill playlist. For delivering instruction to students.

Gradebook- Same as above, but also creates a gradebook on the scoring tab.

Course- Same as the previous 2 but also makes this playlist an official Course

Strand- Very similar to course playlist, but a different kind of bucket to associate standards in. Sometimes districts that use courses want an additional system to report out on that is more topical.





Scoring

What advice do you have when a student reassesses on a standard? Is is best to create a new column or override the score? If we override the score can you ever see that again?


On the evidence side: Overwritting the score erases the previous score. Gone forever. On the standards side: Historical scores remain underneath. The concept is that evidence is what it is, if your essay is good, then you get a good score, to put it simply. That won’t grow and change. A Standards (summative) score will. Now if the essay changes, then the score should change and that’s fine. If you want to keep the old score as well, then you can add a quick evidence column and pop in the new score without changing the old score. Whichever works for the case, just keep in mind that the idea isn’t to punish kids for mistakes, but to answer “what does the student know.”




Does an M affect the overall score?


Not at all. It isn’t a zero or anything. It is just not accounted for. Remember that school is no longer about jumping thru teacher’s flaming hoops. It is about real learning: “what does the student really know.” So a missing activity doesn’t contribute to our understanding of that question at all. The M alerts everyone that this wasn’t turned in and if teacher or parents want to have the student do it, then they can. But Empower doesn’t care to put it frankly. The trends are based on evidence. Not lack of evidence.




If we create an evidence that only some students need to complete, does leaving a students blank affect the overall score?


We expect different students to do different work and thus the system doesn’t punish blanks. It isn’t a zero or anything. It is just not accounted for. Remember that school is no longer about jumping thru teacher’s flaming hoops. It is about real learning: “what does the student really know.” So a missing activity doesn’t contribute to our understanding of that question at all. Putting a score of M (missing) alerts everyone that this wasn’t turned in and if teacher or parents want to have the student do it, then they can. But Empower doesn’t care to put it frankly. The trends are based on evidence. Not lack of evidence.




If we set a quiz score to practice. Can we view student results on the control panel?


Yes.




How are quizzes scored?


Empower looks at all questions from the quiz which are alligned to the same Standard and MAS. It uses a weighted average (weights are based on point value assigned by teacher to each question) to calculate a single score for the student on each Standard and MAS as follows:

ScorePercent = (Total Correct Points / Total Points ) * 100.00

The default grading criteria is this: GradeMinimumPercent = 75% (System Resource driven value and it can configured via the Resource Editor)

If ScorePercent >= GradeMinimumPercent Grade = MAS
Else Grade = Not Meet (NM)

Let's take an example: the Maximum Achievable Score (MAS) is set 3.0 on 10 questions. The student would need to get 8 of them correct in order to get a 3.0. Otherwise the student will get an NM (Not Met) score.




How do I get rid of the Learning Target (Standard) scores that were put in last year?


There is a delete button in the pallet of tools in the Grading Spreadsheet.
BUT NOT SO FAST! We do not recommend deleting old scores.

To enter a new score, there is no need to delete an existing one.
Empower tracks students' historical scores, so when a current score is entered over an older score, that information can still be viewed in the student's portfolio.




Do student's scores follow them? Are scores from previous years accessible/viewable?


Yes. Scores follow students year to year and become part of their learning portfolio.




I created an activity and assigned it, but I don't see it in my Evidence Gradebook


Activities will only appear in the Evidence Gradebook if they have been alligned to a Standard which is covered by that Gradebook. Please double check that you selected at least one standard that is also included in the Gradebook.




If I have already graded a task can a student go in and upload a picture of the completed work after the grade was posted?


Yes. Via their locker.




Can MAS be default to 4.0 vs. 3.0?


I wouldn’t recommend that.
MAS is a misnomer, in a sense. Even though it may be set to a 3.0 you still CAN give 4.0 score. Think of MAS as the Goal Score. And it is important not to set a goal of 4 if that’s not the goal because Empower will then count a 3 as less than expected when it does certain calculations and the student status will show that they didnt’ meet expectation.




How does the Marzano True Score Esitmator work?


Here is an article discussing the True Score Estimator

https://www.adultcapacity.com/blog/score-estimator-calculations




How do I enter a quick evidence into my gradebook?





Why does the overall score automatically become a 2.0 when I enter the first evidence?


Look at example 1 on this document.





General

How do I create a custom group?


To create a group, look for the plus sign image next to the group dropdown on the scoring tab.
Watch the tutorial
or
Read the full article here




Does Empower have the capacity to store/provide a place for curriculum maps?


Empower is a curriculum map but perhaps not in the traditional sense you refer. Since we are competency based, all core skills and content taught is built into the target browser. Processes employed and assessments used for each subject/grade level have homes as well. I'm sure you are familiar with the target browser which maps essential learning by development/grade level. You can further map content into "courses" as needed by using the "course playlist". So yes, Empower manages all curriculum but not in a traditional matrix which I'm assuming is your question.

Curriculum mapping is a process for collecting and recording curriculum-related data that identifies core skills and content taught, processes employed, and assessments used for each subject area and grade level. The completed curriculum map then becomes a tool that helps teachers keep track of what has been taught and plan what will be taught.




Password Encyrption


Here are few considerations on this topic:

1. At the very bottom level passwords ARE encrypted and those encrypted hashes are stored in database;

2. Some our clients do need non-encrypted values for reports. For example they print report of parents and their student login/passwords and give them personally when meet in school. For this purpose we duplicate un-encrypted values and also store them in database. However, we do have an option to turn it OFF. When it is turned OFF, those reports cannot be used.

3. Also, some clients asked us for ability for global Admin to see (visually) un-encrypted passwords. This is also controlled by the same option as above and can be turned OFF. In this case, global admin will never know real password of the user.

4. Even though passwords are stored as encrypted hashes, when clicking "Forget password", they could be un-encrypted, because we use such 2-way encryption-decryption security method.




What are the basics for new users?


We always recommend the Scoring tab as the best place to begin. This video will cover the basics. If you can do this, you're doing fine.




Can Standards and Rubrics be changed?


Yes. Administrative users have a tool called the Standards Manager in their suite which can be used to create or edit curriculum. For a more in-depth discussion of how to do that, watch this video.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Y8JOHsUeGM




Can new Standards and Rubrics be added?


Yes. Administrative users have a tool called the Standards Manager in their suite which can be used to create or edit curriculum. For a more in-depth discussion of how to do that, watch this video.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Y8JOHsUeGM




Which users can communicate in Empower's social media tools?


First of all, these rights can be granted or restricted by administrative users to entire demographics or individual users in the Social Networking Manager tool. Barring that, its good to know that all teachers and all students from the same school can communicate. Teachers and students will not be able to communicate with teachers or students in schools to which they do not belong. Parents can only communicate and see messages from their own children and their children's teachers. Even in a thread with a large group, parents won't see any messages from children who aren't their own, nor will those children see theirs.




Can the Progress Report/ Parent Portal be changed from Content Areas to courses or visa versa?


Each school at the district can decide to either display Content Area or Course. Request a change in a ticket.




Can the Student Portal be changed to display Content Areas or Courses?


No, the Studnet Portal is always organized by classes/groups. Students can view the Progress Report if they want to see their data organied by content area or course.




I'm having trouble scrolling...


This article will explain why and how to fix it. Pretty simple, don't worry.

https://www.adultcapacity.com/blog/common-scrollbar-issues




How does Empower determine, on the student portal, how many/which standards are being covered in a Class/Group


Ff the class/group has a course playlist, standards from the course playlist.

If there is not a course playlist it is based on standards within assignments assigned to the class/group.

One reason learners wouldn't see them, besides not having assignments in that class, would be if the standards assigned aren't in their PLP.




What is a Walkthru?


A Walkthru in Empower is a step-by-step guide to complete a specific task.





Reporting

What is the difference between Score Evidence and Score Standards? Do they work together?


They do work together.

Evidence is the day-to-day work you do with learners in the classroom: worksheets, projects, book reports, quizzes. These pieces of evidence inform us about what learners know about the standards associated with the learning.

Once we have gathered evidence, we will use that to make an overall (summative) decision about what they know in the standard. The question is, "What does the student know now?"

I recommend watching our tutorial on Evidence and Standards Scoring for a deeper discussion about how we make these decisions.




Will the report card be generated from the Evidence of Standards scores?


Standards Scores.




Will the report card show Standards scores?


Generally. There are different kinds of report cards that Empower can generate. Some can be created to translate the grades into a more traditional format, some show an overall content area score instead of each standard, but some do display the scores acheived in each Standard.

See examples of them here.

https://www.adultcapacity.com/blog/printable-progress-report-examples




Can we create a custom report card which Empower will print.


Yes, this is possible. Please contact your Empower representative to discuss this process and the costs associated with it.

But Empower does already have a pretty nice spectrum of reports to choose from. Most of the time one of these fits the bill or can be tweaked for your purposes.

See examples here: https://www.adultcapacity.com/blog/printable-progress-report-examples




When we go to print a report, we get a blank page.


A blank page means Empower searched for data within the criteria you se set and found nothing.

A key thing to understand with the reporting is the importance of the dates. When you set up the start date and end date of the progress period, students scores will only show up if the scores were entered between the progress periods start and end dates. Let's say Trimester one has an end date of 12/19/2018 an a teacher enters scores on 12/20/2018. Those scores are outside the end date so are not considered part of Trimester one.
Make sure the students you are picking have the kind of data your selected report reports on, within the dates you've selected and on the standards you've selected. Otherwise you will get a blank page.




How do I create or edit progress reporting periods?


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_7EZnaXTQPc




What about email pushes to parents?


This is a new feature, which can be set up via our helpdesk by request.

Parents will get scheduled alerts about missing activities, etc..

Please excuse the lack of audio in this video, but it may be helpful until an official video is created.

https://screencast-o-matic.com/watch/cFjQ12q1ps




Can you assign the same comment to multiple students or do you have to post each one individually? Blanket scores/comments? Are there “Canned” or generic comments that can be accessed?


On the gradebook or on the report card?

The answer is yes in either case.

At the top of the report card comment tool, for example, there is a default comment box which you can use to post to all kids generally. And if you want canned comments there, we do have that, you just need to request that that dropdown be added to the Report Card Comment Tool.

There are not canned comments for the gradebook, but any comment entered in the comment box on the toolbar will be attached to any scores given while that comment is in the box.




Where can I see examples of possible reports?


Right here

https://www.adultcapacity.com/blog/printable-progress-report-examples




I tried to print a report, but don't see my school as an option or I don't see any progress periods?


You need to create Progress periods and make sure your school is associated with them. This is done by local admins in Empower. The below video shows you how to do that.




Can one course playlist be aligned to two different course numbers?


Yes. In the Big Idea where you enter the course numbers, you can put multiple numbers separated by a comma with no spaces.




How is pacing calculated? Can pacing be turned off?


Pacing Goals For the student home page the way pace is calculated is as follows: 1. If a teacher entered a student's pace manually in the Progress Report comments page, then it overrides everything below. 2. If Not #1 above, AND If a student has goals setup specifically in Goal Setting tool, then home page will show the same pacing which is based on this goal. This is the same that is shown on Goal Dashboard tool. 3. If Not #2 above, AND a Course is associated with a Course Playlist, then it will calculate pacing based on course duration (days), current date, and number of total/scores standards in the Big Idea. This is the equivalent of setting a goal automatically based on the course playlist info. 4. If None of the above, then no pacing will be shown. Pacing Calculations 1. If manually set, there are no calculations that are being used to calculate pacing. 2. For numbers 2 and 3, all scores are taken into account when calculating growth and the student pace through the content. Because of this, we do not look at standard completion, we instead just look at all progress that a student has made. With this model, students are not penalized because they have yet to reach proficiency on their class work. As long as they are making enough overall progress, they have the chance to show "On Pace". Of course, if they have not made enough progress, then the truth of the matter is that they are actually not on pace to finish the course or reach their goal in the time that we expected them to. 3. (Same as above) 4. If there are no goals, or course playlists, there are no calculations or pacing displayed.



For example, let's say there are 10 targets and the student has 10 days to complete them. After day 1 it expects the student to complete 1 target to be on pace. So the formula is (goal targets/total goal days) * days passed to get expected progress a student must be at to be on pace. So 10/10 = 1 as our daily growth rate of 1 target a day and since only 1 day has passed then the student is expected to have 1 target completed (1*1 = 1). Day two will be 2 (1*2 = 2) and so on. Things to note ...
1) Weekends and holidays are not counted, so expected growth does not increase on these days.
2) Even if a student does not complete a standard but they get let's say a score 1.0. This still counts towards expected learning and can keep a student on pace.
3) Targets can be weighted, meaning if a student makes progress on a target that is more heavily weighted it will accelerate the accomplished growth.
4) If a teacher overwrites the pace by manually entering it using the Progress Report Comments tool, then the system will use the teachers entered pace for the parent and student home pages and on the progress reports.

5) Teacher enters pace in the context of a reporting period. Once the period is over the pace is no longer 'held' for the new period. To disabled pacing either don't enter a pacing goal for a student or overwrite the automated pace with a teacher manually entered pace.



a bit more on Course Pacing:

When a student doesn't have goals setup in goal setting tool, and the teacher did not enter manual pacing,we have another possibility, which is called "Course pacing."

It works if your corresponding playlist is marked as a "Course playlist."

In this case pacing depends on the total course duration, and today's date. For example, course length is 4 months: 1 September - 31 December. Let's say you are checking student progress report on the date of 1 October. That means that 25% of the course duration has passed (ratio is calculated correctly based on days count). Let's also say that the course contains 8 standards. 25% of 8 would be 2 standards. So, if the student completes 2 standards by the date of 1 October, he will be "On pace",if he completes 3 or more, then he will be "Ahead of pace.




How do I run a progress report for a student that is withdrawn?


Select Withdrawn as the status of the list of learners to show. Otherwise, print as normal.