Classroom license helps California Partnership Academy satisfy state requirements

A new tool helped one school budget for important exams.

The Westlake Information Technology Academy (WIT) is a California Partnership Academy that combines high quality academic instruction with work-based learning experiences. WIT is a unique “school within a school” at Westlake High School near Thousand Oaks, Calif.

As part of the WIT Academy’s mission to provide a more specialized and personalized high school experience through this program, every WIT student must achieve an industry certification such as Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS) to fulfill the California’s Partnership Academy requirements.

However, MOS Administrator David Tyler has faced a significant challenge meeting these requirements at Westlake High School: budgeting for student certification exams.

While a large majority of WIT Academy students pass the MOS exam easily on their first attempt, a few need extra review sessions to brush up on the skills they need to pass the exam. The pressure of passing the exam on the first try gets the best of some test takers, and Tyler estimates that approximately 10 percent of WIT students end up having to retake the exam.

“Certification is a big deal for a lot of these kids and sometimes they get a little anxious,” Tyler added.

Budgeting for the right number of exam vouchers was challenging without knowing exactly how many students would need to retake the exam, and Tyler did not like making some students wait to take the MOS exam for the second time.

“We had to buy the exam vouchers in blocks,” said Tyler. “We had a few vouchers to accommodate the students who didn’t pass the first time, but when we ran out, the students had to wait until the next semester to take the exam again when additional funds became available.”

In order to eliminate the hassle of counting vouchers and allow students to take MOS exams more than once without feeling added pressure, Tyler and the WIT Academy took advantage of Certiport’s MOS Classroom License. The Classroom License simplifies budgeting by allowing Westlake High School to administer a high volume of exams for one flat annual fee.

Laura Ascione

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