Frequently Asked Questions about Administering HSA-Alt
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Frequently Asked Questions about Administering HSA-Alt

When is the testing window?


Below is a table showing the School Year 2021-2022 HSA-Alt operational testing windows:


Online Interim Testing in All Subjects

November 2, 2021 – July 22, 2022

Online Summative Testing in All Subjects

February 22 – May 27, 2022

Paper/Pencil Summative Testing in All Subjects

February 22 – May 20, 2022


What happens if I did not receive my user name or password to access the HSAP systems?


Be sure that your HSA-Alt Test Coordinator has entered you into the TIDE database as a Test Administrator (TA). (An employee identification number or school email address is required to set up a TIDE account.) If you were already entered into in TIDE prior to the 2021-2022 school year, you would only need to request a new temporary password for the current school year. If you need assistance requesting a new temporary password for the current school year, contact the HSAP Help Desk at 1-866-648-3712 or


Test Administrators who will administer the paper/pencil version of the summative HSA-Alt will need to be entered into TIDE as a Test Administrator (TA) in order to access the online stimuli and items that match the paper response options that come with the paper version of the assessment. The paper version is a fixed form in which only the answer options and visuals are paper-based.


What is the default method of summative test administration for the HSA-Alt?


The summative and interim HSA-Alt for English Language Arts (ELA), Mathematics, and Science (NGSS) are delivered to students via the online Test Delivery System, which is accessed by using the HSAP Secure Browser on an iPad, Chromebook, laptop, or other tablet or computer.


The summative HSA-Alt for ELA, Mathematics, and Science (NGSS) will be available in paper/pencil test kit format in Spring 2022 after Test Coordinators submit a verified test kit request. For the 2021-2022 school year, the paper and pencil test kit version of the assessment will use the online interface to present items to the students alongside the printed answer option cards and test visuals for student response selection. TAs who would like to request the paper and pencil test kit for one or more of their students will need to contact their school Test Coordinator (TC). TCs will be responsible for requesting a paper/pencil test kit for any HSA-Alt eligible student in their school who is identified for the paper/pencil version of the summative assessment. Please note that the Translated Test designated support requires that the student receives the paper/pencil test kit. If one of your students requires the Translated Test designated support, remember to request the paper/pencil accommodation and test kit.


Full information about the Paper/Pencil Test Kit may be found in the HSA-Alt Test Administration Manual and the HSA-Alt Test Coordinators Manual, available using the “School Year 2021-2022” and “Test Administration” filters in the Resources section of the HSA-Alt portal website at


Do I need to complete the Learner Characteristics Inventory (LCI) for my students?


Yes, the Learner Characteristics Inventory (LCI) must be completed online for all HSA-Alt students prior to their first summative assessment content area test session opportunity. (The LCI is not a required component of the interim assessment.) The summative assessment LCI contains separate sections for teacher inventory of student characteristics, teacher rating of student skills in each content area, and teacher rating of student readiness for transition. 


It is critical that the information that is provided in this inventory comes from the certificated school staff member who works most closely with the student in the academic content areas. Full information on completing the LCI may be found in the HSA-Alt Test Administration Manual, posted in the Resources section of the HSA-Alt portal website at


How does the Test Administrator access the Navigation Bar in the Online Testing System?


Test Administrators will need to open the Navigation Bar in the Online Testing System in order to move between the different sections of the LCI, pause a summative or interim test, change the Zoom level on a test, access the digital calculator tool on mathematics tests, and/or submit a test before the test administration window ends.


To open the Navigation Bar the Test Administrator must tap (or click) the small gray box in the upper left corner of the student’s testing screen. A pop-up box will appear asking for a password. The password to open the Navigation Bar is always the legal first name of the student being tested. This is the name used to log the student into the test on the Secure Browser. The Test Administrator will enter the password and tap or click “Ok”. The Navigation Bar will appear.


Once the Test Administrator has completed use of the Navigation Bar they must tap or click the “Full Screen” button to close the Navigation Bar before returning the iPad (or other digital device) to the student for continued testing.


Does the student need to read the reading passages or any of the test questions, independently?


No. The online testing system will read aloud all test questions and answer options, including reading passages. Full information about using the online testing system may be found in the 2021-2022 Guide to Navigating the HSA-Alt Online Administration, which will be posted in the Resources section of the HSA-Alt portal website at in late October 2021.


What non-embedded accommodations and designated supports are available for the HSA-Alt and how do I get them?


There are twelve HSA-Alt non-embedded accommodations that are available for the HSA-Alt: Alternate Response Options, American Sign Language, Calculator, Concrete Materials, Digital Math Manipulatives, Multiplication Table, Paper/Pencil Test, Read Aloud, Reinforcement System, Scribe, Tactile Sensitivity, and Visual Descriptions. Eleven out of twelve can be set in TIDE by school personnel.  Only the Paper/Pencil Test requires request form submittal and State review. 


There is one HSA-Alt non-embedded designated support that is available for the HSA-Alt mathematics and science assessments: Translated Test. (Note this designated support is not available for the English Language Arts assessment.) As a non-embedded designated support, Translated Test may be set in TIDE by school personnel.


For more information on the accommodations and designated supports that are available for the HSA-Alt see the HSA-Alt Test Administration Manual.


Do I need to administer all items to each student?


Yes, in order for a student to receive the most reliable score, a score that best captures what the student knows and can do, it is essential to administer all items to the student.


The summative HSA-Alt is a computer adaptive test that presents items to the student based upon the accuracy of their last response. Test items each student sees may be different based upon the student’s earlier responses, however the total number of items a student will receive will be the same regardless. The number of items for the current test year will be between 50-60 items per subject area test.


For students approved for the paper/pencil test kit, the student will be administered a fixed form test using the online delivery system and printed response cards and test visuals presented by the student’s Test Administrator.


What happens if the student is unable or unwilling to respond to a test item?


This assessment has an option of recording a No Response (NR) score to an item if the student does not respond. Full information on recording a No Response (NR) may be found in the 2021-2022 Guide to Navigating the Online HSA-Alt Administration. An Early Stopping Rule will be available for students taking the summative assessments who are non-responsive to the first eight items on each summative content area test. Students and Test Administrators must follow the administration guidelines as outlined in the HSA-Alt Test Administration Manual.


What is a “Test Session Observer” and is this observer required for HSA-Alt Assessments?


A Test Session Observer must be present for students who will stop the summative test early due to the implementation of the Early Stopping Rule. If a Test Administrator anticipates that their student will not exhibit evidence of a response during the summative assessment(s), they must make sure to set the Scribe accommodation and locate a second staff member to serve as the Test Session Observer before summative testing begins. A Test Session Observer is required to meet the Early Stopping Rule Requirement. This Test Session Observer will need to be present for at least four of the first eight items in a summative content area test. Two separate sessions on two different days at two different times of day must be used for each summative content area test if the Early Stopping Rule is to be enacted. For the Early Stopping Rule guidelines, procedures, and form see the HSA-Alt Test Administration Manual.