Postsecondary Assessment

Postsecondary Assessment

Testing Resource Information

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Mississippi Community College Board logo

Dr. Scott Kolle

Director of Curriculum and Instruction


The MS-CPAS, or the Mississippi Career Planning and Assessment System, is the test given to secondary and postsecondary CTE completers, and the results are used to measure technical-skill attainment, which is one of the core indicators of performance required for Perkins IV reporting.

A blueprint is a document that outlines the subject matter on an assessment. The MS-CPAS blueprints provide the number of total test items, number of items based on each course or unit, the number of field-tested items, and the reporting categories. Blueprints for each program area can be found on the RCU download curriculum page.

The MS-CPAS is designed to test the core technical courses or units in a CTE program. This means that secondary units such as orientation, employability skills, safety, or tools units are normally not tested and no postsecondary elective courses are tested.

All assessment questions are written by CTE teachers teaching in the state of Mississippi.

Assessment items are selected using classical test theory, item statistics, and qualitative analysis.

Reliability is calculated using Cronbach's Alpha.

The MS-CPAS is a criterion-referenced assessment and uses criterion-related validity. Previously, the MS-CPAS used teacher ratings as the criterion; however, in 2010, the MS-CPAS began using the program grade as the criterion. The assessment center calls on teachers to align test questions to curricula competencies. This alignment is also used for validity.

The MS-CPAS fulfills the technical attainment portion of the Carl D. Perkins Vocational and Technical Education Act. CTE programs that do not have a recognized licensure or certification take the MS-CPAS to comply with the federal act.

MS-CPAS assessment items need to be peer-reviewed on a regular basis in order to ensure alignment and relevancy. If you are interested in participating in a peer review session, please contact the RCU Assessment coordinator or consult the RCU calendar of events.

The best way to prepare students is to ensure that your students have mastered each competency in the curriculum. The teaching method, textbooks and resources you use have not been shown to make a significant impact on test scores. If you would like the RCU to research your teaching method, textbooks or resources and how they affect student scores, please contact us or your instructional design specialist at the RCU.

Improving MS-CPAS scores involves looking critically at past MS-CPAS reports. Training is available through the RCU professional learning department. Please contact the RCU in the professional learning department for more information.

At this point students cannot retake the MS-CPAS. The MAC is working with MDE to establish rules for retaking the MS-CPAS.

Computerized assessments are not as easy to control as paper and pencil assessments. Classroom management must be enforced from the beginning of the assessment until the last student submits his or her assessment. Professional development in the area of classroom management can be requested from the professional learning department at the RCU.

The results can be interpreted in many different ways; therefore, the RCU has published an interpretive reporting guide, located in the resources above. If you have questions about interpreting scores, please contact us at

The cut score is the score that students should obtain on the test if they have mastered part of a Career and Technical Education pathway.

The cut score is established annually by the MDE. Please contact the Office of Career and Technical Education to request this information.

Testing procedures are updated yearly in the testing manual. Training on these procedures is held prior to testing. Contact the RCU to find out more information regarding upcoming training.

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