Northstar Manual

Table of Contents

Part 1: Admin portal overview Part 2: Step-by-step guides to using Northstar for proctors Part 3: Step-by-step guides to using Northstar for administrators Part 4: Step-by-step guides to using Northstar Online Learning for learners Part 5: Northstar dictionary
Part 6: Codes of conduct Part 7: Northstar curricula resources

Part 1: Admin portal overview
The where and what of the admin portal

Tab summaries

Location Selection Landing Page

Proctors or administrators of multiple testing locations will first be allowed to select a location. Those who are affiliated with one testing location only will not see this page.

Your Info Tab

This is the first page most people will see upon entering the admin portal. It is your primary reference for some important information you will frequently use: your Location PIN and your personal Proctor PIN.

Learners Tab

The Learners tab is where you can manage Northstar Online Learning (NSOL). In this tab, you can set up new learner accounts, manage current learner accounts, and check on learner progress. You can also view and download usage reports that show how many hours learners are using NSOL both at and away from the testing location.

Assessments Tab

This tab gives you access to specific test taker results. It offers filtering options to view assessment results from groups or individuals. After a proctor or administrator chooses a filtering option, it displays a results page that includes each test taker's name, time of test, module name, proctor, number correct, score (with passing/failing mark), badge status, and certificate generating options.

Reports Tab

This tab offers a Summary Report as well as Detailed Reports. The Summary Report offers a big picture view of percentage and number of assessments taken broken down by modules. It also offers a graph measuring assessments passed by module. The Detailed Reports offers specific information about each module (but not individual test taker results) including a question-by-question breakdown of each module.

Location Info tab

The Location Info tab allows access to edit testing location information, to manage staff (administrator and proctor access), and to modify your billing contacts. This tab is available only for Administrators. Proctors will not see this tab displayed.

Resources Tab

This tab provides various resources for Northstar locations, including access to this manual, video links, the curriculum, the resource library, and the form to create a support ticket for specific help.

My Locations Tab

If you are a proctor or admin at multiple Northstar locations, this tab features a drop-down menu you can use to switch between tabs.

Personal Profile

Click on your name to open a dropdown menu that allows you to edit your personal information (including to generate a new Proctor PIN), navigate to the Northstar homepage or Northstar Online Learning, and log out of your account.

Your Info Tab details

Here you will find:

  1. Access to all tabs
  2. Your Location PIN
    • The Location PIN is a four-character sequence of letters and/or numbers that uniquely identifies your testing location. Using this PIN ensures that all your test results will feed into your location's reports.
    • There are two ways to use the Location PIN.
      1. Enter the Location PIN below the assessment list on the main Northstar website before beginning any assessment. The PIN can be posted for easy reference in a computer lab or office.
      2. Bookmark the location-specific URL that appears on the Your Location tab on any computer your test takers will use for assessments, and/or share the link with your test takers. This will bypass the PIN prompt.
  3. Your Proctor PIN
    • Every proctor is assigned a unique Proctor PIN.
    • This PIN allows proctors to launch a proctored assessment. Enter the Proctor PIN after clicking the Proctor Mode switch to turn Proctor Mode on.
    • This PIN should remain private and secure as it validates a proctored assessment and eligibility for a certificate.

See the PINs in action in this video:

Learners Tab details

Here you can find information about your learners’ accounts, and make new learner accounts.

  1. Making learner accounts (YouTube video available)
    • We suggest you make a learner account for yourself to see how learners experience Northstar Online Learning. You can use the same email address as your admin/proctor account.
    • To make a new learner account, click Invite New Learner.
    • Enter the learner’s name and email address. They will receive an email invitation to set up their account.
    • If learners cannot locate the email, encourage them to check their spam/junk folders. You can also click the envelope button to resend the email.
    • If learners still have trouble activating their account, you can manually activate a learner’s account. If the account is still pending, click the lightning bolt. Then, set the learner’s password. Make sure to do this with a learner’s permission.
  2. Viewing learner progress (YouTube video available)
    • You can search for a user by their name or email address.
    • Click anywhere in a user row to view that learner’s assessment history, and their progress in Northstar Online Learning topics.
    • Click anywhere in a Module row to view the learner's last assessment results, including standards mastered and standards needing improvement. This view also shows whether the learner completed the practice lesson that corresponds to each standard.
  3. Editing learner accounts
    • Click the Pencil icon next to a learner’s name to make corrections to their name, email, or password.
    • Make sure to get permission from a learner to make changes, especially when changing their password. If you change a learner’s password, they will receive email notification that their password has been changed by you, but you will have to tell them the new password.
  4. Collecting distance-learning data
    • Some testing locations track data on the amount of time learners spend on NSOL away from their testing location (distance learning hours).
    • To change this feature's setting, click Location Info in the Admin Portal and then click Edit Location Info.
    • Then, answer the question “Ask users whether they’re on-location or off- each time they log in?”
      • If you select Yes, learners will be prompted to indicate their location every time they log in.
      • If you select No, learners will not be prompted to indicate their location and all time will be logged under Unknown Location in your usage reports.
    • Save your changes
  5. Viewing usage reports (YouTube video available)
    • In the Learners tab, click View Usage Amounts to see how much time learners spent using NSOL At Your Location and Away from Your Location.
    • Note: If your site does not ask learners their location, all hours will be displayed under the column Usage with Location Unknown.
    • Click Filter Results to limit the output by date.
    • When you have the data you need, you can download an Excel spreadsheet file to sort, format, and save it.
    • The spreadsheet has two different tabs. The Summary tab shows each learner’s total time for the date range you selected. The By Datetime tab shows the time for each usage session separately.
  6. Exploring Northstar Online Learning
    • If you make a learner account for yourself (using the same email as your admin/proctor login), you can easily toggle back and forth between the Admin Portal and NSOL. To do this, click your name at the top right and select Northstar Online Learning.

Assessments Tab details

Here you will find access to test taker assessment results and multiple ways to search for them.

  1. Search assessments by test taker name.
  2. Filter by general result category:
    • Proctored Only (Only shows results of assessments that were proctored)
    • Passing Only (Only shows results of assessments with passing scores)
    • Proctored-and-Passed Only (Only shows results of assessments that were both proctored and passed)
  3. View all results (Allows the option to filter them after)

Every option takes you to an Assessment Results page. There you will find:

  1. Results Top Bar
    • Results Number: This number reflects the total module results you are currently viewing. The number can be reduced by filtering more specifically.
    • Filter Results/Modify Filter Button: The Filter Results Button allows you to filter as specifically as you wish.
    • Download CSV Button: The button to Download a CSV spreadsheet of all results currently listed.
  2. Individual Test Taker Data Quick View, with each row offering a quick view of the main assessment details
    • Name of test taker
    • Time and date the assessment was taken
    • The module and version (new or legacy)
    • If the assessment was proctored or not, and, if the assessment was completed after V 2.0 launch, the proctor's name.
    • Number correct
    • Score as a percentage and whether that is a passing score (checkmark icon) or not (X icon)
    • Whether a badge has been claimed
    • If a certificate is available

Here's what you can do with the buttons on the Assessment Results page:

  1. Filter Results/Modify Filter Button This button expands an area where you can:
    • filter by test taker name(s) by entering it in the box. You can leave this field empty if you only want to filter by other criteria.
    • choose a proctoring option
      • Proctored only assessments are those assessments taken in a proctored environment.
      • Non-proctored assessments are those assessments taken using your location-specific assessment-launch page (link available in the admin portal), but not given in a proctored environment.
    • filter by module. The default setting is to show all modules in the results page. Uncheck the boxes for modules you do not want displayed.
    • filter more specifically for each module by clicking on "show versions."
      • Most modules offer results for both legacy and new versions. The default setting includes both versions in the results.
      • Unselect the version you no longer want results from.
    • set a date range: Select a beginning date and/or an end date to set the range. You can select either by typing in a date (yyyy/mm/dd) or by clicking on the calendar icon and selecting the correct date.
    • set a score range: Choose between All scores, Passing Scores, Failing Scores, or a Custom score range. Enter the lowest score and the highest score to set the range.
    • click the Apply Filter button at the bottom of the Filter Options when you have all the filters set the way you want them.
    • click Cancel to revert to your previous filter selections.
    • click Clear Filter to reset the filter options to the default positions.
  2. Download CSV Button
    • This button downloads your results page into a CSV file that can be opened with Microsoft Excel or another spreadsheet software.
    • It honors the filter options that are currently applied.
    • Save the CSV file to your computer and then open it to view results.
  3. Certificate Button
    • A gray certificate button means that a certificate has previously been generated. It can be re-issued without a problem.
    • A blue certificate button means that a certificate has not yet been generated.
    • The "plus" button next to the Certificate button allows proctors and administrators to combine certificates.
    • When one or more Plus buttons have been selected, a Review Certificate button appears. Click it to review the information to be printed on the certificate.
    • Click Download Certificate on the Certificate Options review page to download a pdf file for printing.
    • See Merging certificates for more instructions on merging two or more certificates together.
  4. Information Button By clicking on an assessment result's Information Button you can access detailed information about the assessment result. (You can click anywhere in the result row to reach the same page.) The assessment details page offers more options than are provided in the quick view, including:
    • Edit test taker's name (Note that you can edit the test taker's name a maximum of two times for an assessment)
    • View the time the test taker required to complete the assessment
    • View the Record ID
    • View the Verification Code
    • Invalidate an assessment (in the status row)
    • View a list of the assessment standards, both skills mastered and skills to improve
    • View a list of missed questions, or of all questions
    • View a screenshot of each question (by clicking on question numbers)
    • View the results page that's displayed for the test taker at the end of their assessment. This is how test takers can claim a badge later if they did not do so upon finishing.
    For more details on how to use these tools, see Changing a test taker name and Invalidating an assessment result and watch this video:

Reports Tab details

Here you will find two different ways to view assessment data for your location.

  1. Summary Report
    • A graphic representation of collected data
    • Makes it easy to see the popularity and usage of the modules relative to one another, as well as an overview of your test takers' abilities in different skill areas
  2. Detailed Reports
    • Focuses on the data related to individual modules

Summary Reports

There are two reports that appear under Summary Reports.

  1. Assessments Taken: A graph representing how many assessments have been taken at your location grouped by module
    • The default setting of this graph is show all assessments taken at your location.
    • Holding your cursor over a module pie segment will show the exact number of assessments taken.
    • Holding your cursor over the module name in the key will highlight the corresponding slice of the pie graph.
  2. Assessments Passed: A graph representing each module's pass rate at your location
    • The default setting of this graph is to show all assessments taken at your location.
    • Holding your cursor over a bar in the graph will show the exact passing percentage for that module.

The Filter Results button expands an area where you can filter the data that make up both graphs.

  • You can filter by Proctored or Non-proctored assessments.
  • If you filter by Proctored assessments, you can also choose to filter more specifically by the particular proctor(s) involved.
  • You can filter by a date range.
  • You can filter by both options or just one.
  • Click Apply Filter to view your filters applied to the graphs.

Detailed Reports

The first screen under Detailed Reports shows each module in a quick view table.

  • Each row includes an overview of that module's use: number of record (times taken), number of passing assessments, and percentage of assessments that were passed.
  • The module reports are separated by module version (new versus legacy versions).
  • The quick view version of reports on this page can be filtered by proctored/non-proctored and/or date using the Filter Results button.
  • By clicking on the View Report button for a module, you can view that module's report in more detail.

Clicking View Report brings you to a screen with three sections.

  1. Intro Table
    • This first section includes the same summary information the Quick View offers, and adds the average duration of the assessment.
    • The default setting shows all results from your location for the selected module. You can use the Filter Results button to filter by Proctored/Non-Proctored and/or date. If Filtering by Proctored assessments, you can also filter by specific proctor(s) involved.
    • Click the "View Listing" link in the Total # of Assessments row to see details about every module attempt.
  2. Question Performance Graph
    • This bar graph shows the rate of correct responses for each question in the module.
    • The green indicates the number of assessments with the correct answer for the question.
    • The red indicates the number of assessments with the wrong answer for the question.
    • By holding your cursor over a bar, you can see the question number, and the exact number of times the question was answered correctly or incorrectly.
  3. Question Detail Table
    • Below the Question Performance Graph is a table that communicates the same information as the graph, but in the form of the percentage of correct responses for each question.
    • By clicking on the Summary link for each question, you can see a screenshot of that question from the module.
    • The top 5 questions that test takers most often answered correctly are noted with a green check mark.
    • The 5 questions that test takers most often answered incorrectly are noted with a caution symbol.

Location Info Tab details

The Location Info Tab is only available for Administrators. It will not be viewable to proctors.

If you are registered as an administrator you have three capabilities that proctors do not: editing testing location information, managing staff, and editing billing information.

  1. Click Edit Info to edit and save changes to the testing location information that is publicly viewable on the Northstar website, including:
    • Testing location name
    • Testing location website
    • Email address
    • Phone number
    • Address (City, Country, State, and Postal Code)
  2. Click Manage Staff to view, deactivate, or add new proctors and administrators. Here are some useful things to know:
    • Proctors get a unique proctor PIN for use in proctoring assessments. They also get access to assessment results and reports in the admin portal.
    • Administrators have full access to the admin portal, including assessment results, reports, management of staff, and editing of public information (contact info, etc.). However, they are not assigned a Proctor PIN unless they also add themselves to the system as a proctor.
    • There must be at least one administrator active, though two are preferred in case of difficulty contacting one. Three are allowed within the user interface. (But Northstar staff can manually add one or two more upon request of a current admin.)
    • There is no limit to the number of proctors a testing location admin can add.
    • The status reflects if the staff person is active (currently have access to the admin portal) or inactive (historically had access to the admin portal but no longer does). Proctors in "training" mode cannot yet log into the portal or set up assessments. Once they pass the proctor training, they're marked as active for all test sites that they're a proctor for, and being added to a new site won't require going through training again.
    • Adding a new proctor or administrator requires their first and last name and an email address. The system will send them instructions for setting up their account by email.
  3. Click Edit Billing to edit your testing location's primary billing contact person's name, email, and phone number.

Resources Tab details

Here you will find:

  1. Our Quick Start Guide: Videos demonstrating tasks and processes in the Northstar Admin Portal
  2. A link to this Northstar Manual
  3. Northstar Curriculum: links to the PDFs of all curriculum lesson plans (see Curriculum section for more information).
  4. A link to create a support ticket
    • A support ticket is a way to obtain help with a question, to report a bug or problem, or to suggest a new feature.
    • Please view available documentation and video support before submitting a ticket.
    • Support tickets are answered by email, not phone.
  5. Other Resources: various additional resources, including our Northstar standards, Codes of Conduct, flyers testing locations can display, and paper screeners that can be used as pre-assessment tools.

Personal Profile details

To access your personal profile information, click on the Personal Profile link in the dropdown menu under your name in the upper-right corner of the admin portal window. There, you can edit your personal information.

  • Name
  • Email
  • Phone number

You can also generate a new Proctor PIN if yours has been compromised. The new Proctor PIN will replace the old one on the Your Info Tab and will then need to be used to open any new proctoring sessions.

Part 2: Step-by-step guides to using Northstar

Proctoring assessments

Northstar features two methods to proctor assessments:

For proctoring large groups or remote proctoring, proctors can start a proctoring session via test taker request. Using this method, test takers request to start a proctored assessment on their computer. Proctors approve the request in the Admin Portal from their computer.

For proctoring small groups in-person, proctors can start a proctoring session on test takers’ computers using a Proctor PIN. Using this method, proctors enter a special code onto a test taker’s computer to enable proctoring mode.

Both of these methods are described below.

Proctoring an assessment via test taker request (for remote proctoring or large groups)

  1. On the proctor’s computer, log into the Admin Portal. Then, click on the Assessments tab.
  2. Click Start New Proctor Session.
  3. Check the test taker's photo ID.
  4. Ensure the test taker is on a computer with audio capabilities.
  5. Assist the test taker in navigating to your location’s testing launch page through either of the following options.
    • Option 1: Start from Type your four-character Location PIN in the field above the assessments and click Go.
    • Option 2: Start from your bookmarked location-specific assessment-launch page. When using this URL, no Location PIN is necessary. You may want to share this link in the chat window for remote-proctoring sessions, e.g. in Zoom.
  6. The test taker enters their name as it should appear on their certificates in the first and last name boxes and then clicks Continue, or the test taker logs into their Northstar Online Learning account.
  7. The test taker clicks Join Proctor Mode. The screen will now read, “Waiting for Proctor Response.”
  8. On the proctor’s computer, click on Start Proctoring next to a test taker’s name to enable proctoring mode. Each proctoring session must be enabled individually.
    • Tip: the proctoring page will auto-refresh regularly to show you the latest information about test takers. However, if a test taker’s request is not appearing quickly enough, click the Sync button at the top to refresh the page immediately.
    • On the test taker’s computer, the screen will now read, “Proctor mode is on”.
  9. Give test takers a verbal introduction to the assessment and procedures, and allow them to read the codes of conduct.
  10. Test takers select the assessment they wish to begin.
  11. When test takers finish, you can click Stop Proctoring next to their name to end their individual proctoring session. Alternatively, test takers can click to disable proctoring mode on the assessment-launch screen where the session began.
  12. At the top, click End Proctor Mode to end the proctoring session for all test takers. (Note: if any test takers are still taking assessments when you end their session, an alert will appear telling them that their proctoring session has ended, and their assessments will be saved as unproctored if they choose to complete them.)

Watch the process here:

Proctoring an assessment using a Proctor PIN (for small group in-person proctoring)

  1. Check the test taker's photo ID.
  2. Assign the test taker to a computer with audio capabilities.
  3. Open your location’s testing launch page through either of the following options:
    • Option 1: Start from Type your four-character Location PIN in the field above the assessments and click Go.
    • Option 2: Start from your bookmarked location-specific assessment-launch page. When using this URL, no Location PIN is necessary.
  4. The test taker enters their name as it should appear on their certificate and then clicks Continue, or the test taker logs into their Northstar Online Learning account.
  5. Click the button labeled Validate Computer via PIN.
  6. Type in your six-character Proctor PIN.
  7. Click Authorize. The screen will now read, "Proctor Mode is On."
  8. Give test takers a verbal introduction to the assessment and procedures, and allow them to read the codes of conduct.
  9. Test taker selects the assessment they wish to begin.
  10. When they've completed their assessment(s), click End Proctor Mode on the test taker’s computer to turn off proctor mode.

Watch the process here:

Viewing Proctor Sessions in Progress

  1. To view active proctor sessions, log into the Admin Portal, click on the Assessments tab, and then click on Proctoring to open a page with all past and active proctor sessions.
  2. Click View to see the details of a proctor session.
    • Your active session will be highlighted in green. Active sessions for other proctors will be highlighted in blue.
  3. View shows the status of your proctor session and the status of each test taker, including assessments in progress and completed assessments.
  4. To end a proctoring session for one test taker, click Stop Proctoring next to their name. If the user has not finished taking an assessment, a pop-up will appear on the test taker’s screen notifying them they may complete the assessment unproctored.
  5. To end the proctoring session for all test takers, click End Proctor Mode at the top.

Watch the process here:

Viewing and downloading results

In admin portal: Assessments tab

  1. To view all results, select the View All Results button.
  2. To filter, there are three options.
    1. Select any of the shortcut filter buttons (Proctored Only, Passing Only, Proctored-and-Passed only).
    2. Select View All Results and then select the Filter Results button at the top of the results page to refine your search.
    3. You can also view a specific test taker's results by typing their name into the Search field.
    Note: You can access tools to modify or clear a filter you've set, including a searched name, by clicking the Filter Results button within the results page.
  3. After the results have been filtered to the ones you need, you can download the data in a spreadsheet. To Download a CSV file, click the Download CSV button at the top of the screen.
    • This button allows you to download the results page into a CSV file that can be opened with Excel or another spreadsheet software.
    • It includes only the results included by your current filters.
    • Save the CSV file to your computer and then open it to view results.

Watch the process here:

Printing a certificate

In admin portal: Assessments tab

Print a certificate for a single passing assessment result.

  1. Find test taker by using the filter options or Search field. Selecting the Proctored-and-Passed Only button ensures that all results are eligible for certificates.
  2. View the results.
    • The results are displayed with most recent records first.
    • Only proctored assessments with passing scores of 85% or higher will display a Certificate button on the results page.
    • A blue certificate button indicates that no certificate has been printed yet (since the time of the new website's release in Oct 2018), while a gray certificate button indicates that a certificate has already been printed (but can always be reprinted again).
  3. Click on the Certificate button to download a PDF certificate.
  4. Open the downloaded file.
  5. Print the PDF certificate.

Watch the process here:

Merging certificates

In admin portal: Assessments tab

Merge certificates when a test taker has passed multiple modules that they want displayed together on one certificate.

  1. Filter for name and Proctored-and-Passed Only. (You can click on this filter option under the View All results button or you can wait until you are viewing the assessment listing page to filter by "Proctored Only" and "Passing Scores Only" in "Filter Results.")
  2. Click the plus sign for each module you wish to include in the test taker's certificate.
  3. Click the Review Certificate button at the top.
  4. Make sure you have chosen the correct assessment results.
  5. Click Download Certificate.
  6. Open the downloaded file.
  7. Print the merged PDF certificate.

Watch the process here:

Changing a test taker name

In admin portal: Assessments tab

Change a test taker's name if it includes a typo or if their name has changed.

  1. In the Assessments tab, filter by test taker name.
  2. Click anywhere on the assessment result.
  3. Click Edit in the Name row.
  4. Change the test taker name and click Save.

Watch the process here:

Changing a test result from your location to proctored

In Admin Portal: Assessments Tab
Change a Test Taker's Result to Proctored if it was Proctored at your Testing Location but is not Displaying as Proctored

  1. In the Assessments tab, filter by test taker name. (Note: You will only be able to find results from assessments taken at your agency, with the Location PIN entered. If you cannot find the results, you should re-proctor the assessment.)
  2. Click anywhere on the assessment result.
  3. Click Edit in the Proctoring row.
  4. Add the proctor's name from the drop down list.

Invalidating an assessment result

In admin portal: Assessments tab

Invalidate an assessment when the test taker has cheated or otherwise violated the test taker code of conduct.

  1. Find the assessment result you need to invalidate by searching by name or using other filter options.
  2. Click on the Info icon for the assessment (or anywhere else in the result row).
  3. Scroll down to status.
  4. In the status row, click "Invalidate."
  5. Click Ok.

Watch the process here:

Generating summary reports

In admin portal: Reports tab

  1. Click on the View Summary Report button.
  2. Click on the Filter Results button and apply filters according to the data you want included in the report. See Reports Tab details for more information.
  3. If you like, you can print from your computer.

Generating detailed reports

In admin portal: Reports tab

  1. Click on the View Detailed Reports button.
  2. Click on the Filter Results button and apply filters according to the data you want included in the report. See Reports Tab details for more information.
  3. Print the page to print a comparison of module information with the number of records, number passing, and percentage passing.

Getting help

In admin portal: Resources tab

Northstar offers help in three main ways:

  1. This Northstar Manual (links available on the main website and in the Resources Tab of the admin portal)
  2. Specific videos showing various processes for proctors
  3. Creating a Support Ticket

Claiming a badge

In admin portal: Assessments tab

Test takers who pass any assessment can claim a digital badge at the time they complete the module. If a test taker passed an assessment through your testing location, you can also help them claim a badge later.

  1. Filter assessment results to find the test taker and specific assessment.
  2. Click anywhere in the assessment result row.
  3. Click on View Results Page in the top right corner.
  4. Click on Claim Badge.
  5. Follow the directions that appear.

Watch the process here:

Part 3: Step-by-step guides to using Northstar specifically for testing location administrators

Editing testing location information

In admin portal: Location Info tab

  1. Click Edit Location Info.
  2. Make any needed changes.
  3. Click Save Changes.

Managing staff

In admin portal: Location Info tab

  1. Click Manage Staff.
  2. View administrator and proctor names, emails, and statuses in the system (active, deactivated, or training for those proctors who have not yet completed the required proctor training).
  3. To deactivate staff who are no longer involved at your testing site, find their name and click Deactivate in that row.
  4. To add additional staff, follow this process:
    1. Click Add New Administrator or Add New Proctor.
    2. Fill in the fields with their first name, last name, and email address.
    3. Click the Create Administrator or Create Proctor button. The system will send the new staff person an email with instructions for setting up their account.

See Location Info Tab details for more information.

Watch the process here:

Editing billing information

In admin portal: Location Info tab

  1. Click Edit Billing.
  2. Make any needed changes.
  3. Click Save Changes.

Part 4: Step-by-step guides to using Northstar Online Learning for learners

Setting up an account

  1. Check your email for an invitation to Northstar Online Learning.
  2. Click the link to confirm your learner membership with the testing location, and make a password. An email that contains a link to confirm the membership and set the password
  3. If you cannot find the invitation, check your spam/junk folder.

Logging into your account

  1. On the Northstar homepage, click the Log In button in the upper-right corner.
  2. Enter your email address and password and click Log In.
  3. The site may ask if you are at your learning location or away from your learning location. Some locations use this data to get funding for their programs.


  1. When you log in, you will see the Dashboard.
  2. The Dashboard shows the results of the assessments you’ve taken and your progress on the learning and practice for each topic.
  3. The lock icons in the learning and practice progress ring indicate the status of each section’s review questions.
    • Locked means you haven’t finished the practice yet.
    • Unlocked means the review questions are available.
    • Checkmark means the review questions are complete.

Viewing module progress

  1. Click on Details or the module name to see more information about your progress.
  2. The Practice tab below shows a list of lessons and the standards they cover. A checkmark means you’ve finished the lesson.
  3. The Standards tab shows your mastery of each standard, as of the last time you took the assessment.
    • A red X means you got at least one question about that standard wrong.
    • A green checkmark means you got the assessment question(s) for that standard correct.
    • On the right, the Practice column shows whether you completed the relevant practice lesson.
      • If you have not finished the practice lesson, you can click the Practice button to start practicing.
  4. The Assessment History tab shows your assessment history, including certificates and badges you’ve earned. Click anywhere in a row to see your result page for that assessment.

Using practice mode

  1. To start practicing, click Start Practice on the top of the page. You can also click on lessons in the Practice tab or the Practice buttons in the Standards tab.
  2. Each lesson has something to read, to watch, or to do.
  3. The Next button at the bottom goes to the next screen.
  4. CC turns on text for the audio.
  5. The audio button turns sound on or off.
  6. The expand button makes the content fill the screen.
  7. If you need to go back, click the back button in your browser.
  8. The rewind button starts the audio again.
  9. The menu button opens a navigation menu to go to different sections of the module.
    • A green checkmark means that lesson is complete.
    • When you have completed all of the lessons in a section, the Review Questions unlock.
    • If you get a Review Question wrong, an alert icon will appear next to the lesson you can review it to help learn that content. After you are confident in the material, you can retry the Review Questions to complete the section.
  10. To go back to the Dashboard, click the Northstar Online Learning logo at the top of the screen.

Part 5: Northstar dictionary

Main public website The Northstar website. Where assessments are taken, both public and proctored.
Admin portal The administrative website, specific to your testing location, where admins and proctors can log in with their email address and password. Here, admins can add proctors, run reports, and edit location info. Proctors can see test results, print certificates, and more.
Testing locations
Individual agencies/organizations—what we used to call "Sponsor Sites"
Northstar Manual
This document. Detailed manual with instructions on all things Northstar
Quick Start Guide
One page document with links to short videos on getting started with v 2.0 of Northstar
People who are the main administrators for their Northstar account and responsible for managing proctors at their site.
People who proctor the assessments. They also have access to assessment results and the ability to print certificates.
The core team of Northstar employees based in Saint Paul, Minnesota
Multiple testing locations that are connected, such as branches of a library system or an associated group of nonprofits
Network Admins
People who are the administrators for an umbrella organization, overseeing the administration/reporting of many related Northstar test sites. These users will be accessing the same URL as admins and proctors, but will see a different set of options for what to explore, since their reports will include summary data and multiple sites.
User Portal: Coming Soon!
A forthcoming part of the Northstar website for test-takers to use the Learner Management System

Part 6: Codes of conduct

Test Taker Code of Conduct

If a test taker violates the code of conduct, the proctor will ask the test taker to stop the assessment.

  • Test taker must listen carefully to all instructions given by proctor.
  • Test taker must treat others with courtesy and respect during the assessment process.
  • Test taker should ask questions prior to the assessment if they are uncertain about the certification process.
  • Test taker should inform the proctor in advance of any accommodations needed.
  • Test taker must represent themself honestly during the assessment.
  • Test taker must put away all electronic devices and notes during the assessment.
  • Test taker should inform the proctor if the assessment conditions affected the results.
  • All test takers planning to take the assessment must present a current identification with their name and photo before being allowed to take the assessment to gain certification.
  • Acceptable forms of ID include passports, foreign and domestic state-issued ID cards, school ID cards, human services cards, military ID cards and similar identification.

Proctor Code of Conduct

  • Proctors should provide a clean, quiet, and appropriate space for the assessment session.
  • Proctors should never leave an assessment session unsupervised.
  • Proctors should observe test takers without being intrusive.
  • Proctors should end the current assessment session for any test takers caught violating the Test Taker Code of Conduct.
  • Proctors will not allow any test taker violating the code of conduct to retake assessment in the same session.
  • Proctors will start test-taker check-in and the assessment at the scheduled times.
  • Proctors will respect the confidentiality of all test takers.
  • Proctors will interact with all test takers in a courteous, fair, professional and nondiscriminatory manner.
  • Proctors and testing locations must make reasonable accommodations to ensure equitable access for clients with disabilities.
  • Proctors should be knowledgeable about computers to assist with any technical problems that might arise.
  • Proctors are only allowed to answer questions about the assessment setup or mechanics when administering assessments.
  • Proctors may not answer content-related questions as they would jeopardize the validity of the assessment.

Part 7: Northstar curricula resources

Accessing Northstar curriculum

You can access the curriculum a couple of ways. The curriculum is accessible as a resource to subscribing testing locations. In order to access the curricular resources you have to be a registered proctor for your testing location. For the steps to become a proctor, see Part 3, Managing Staff.

What is the Northstar Digital Literacy Curriculum?

  • The curriculum is aligned with Northstar Digital Literacy Standards and supports adult learners in meeting the requirements of the Northstar Digital Literacy assessments.
  • The Northstar Digital Literacy Standards are Minnesota Adult Basic Education Content Standards, along with the College & Career Readiness Standards for Adult Education (CCRS) and the ACES Transitions Integration Framework (TIF)
  • Lesson plans are learner-centered and interactive. The lessons give learners multiple opportunities to build digital literacy skills through practice tasks.
  • Lesson plans are independent of each other and are not required to be taught in sequence. They can be taught in order, or teachers may choose lessons for their class based on desired instruction for specific Northstar Digital Literacy Standards.
  • As of January 2021, there are ten units available for instructors: Basic Computer Skills, Internet Basics, Using Email, Windows 10, Mac OS, Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Career Search Skills and Supporting K-12 Distance Learning. We continue to develop additional curricula. Each unit contains 7-9 two-hour lesson plans. The Career Search Skills unit contains 15 lesson plans to support the expanded standards of that topic.

What do you need in order to teach the Northstar Digital Literacy Curriculum?

  • The lessons were written to support classroom teachers, as well as volunteer tutors working with small groups. Lessons may be adapted by teachers for one-on-one instruction.
  • Access to computers, a projector, and internet are necessary to facilitate the curriculum in person.
  • Northstar provides tips for teachers to facilitate the lesson remotely. Please see Northstar Tips for Remote Teaching.

What level learner will the Northstar Digital Literacy Curriculum support?

  • The lessons were written to support adult learners at an intermediate English reading comprehension ability or higher; this reading ability is also required to complete the Northstar Digital Literacy Assessments.
  • The curriculum will support adult English language learners at an Intermediate Level, as defined by the NRS (National Reporting System) as a CASAS reading level 211, or higher, or a TABE (11-12) Reading Score of 501 or higher. These scores equate to an approximate 4th grade reading level. Because of the predictable structure of the curriculum and because we explicitly identify and give guidance to teach digital literacy vocabulary to support learners reading at an intermediate ESL level, teachers/programs have successfully adapted the lessons on their own for lower level-English learners.

How should I use the Northstar Digital Literacy assessments in conjunction with the curriculum?

  • We suggest that instructors give learners the corresponding Northstar Digital Literacy assessment module as a pre-test before beginning instruction in order to assess the standards on which their learners need additional practice.
  • Instructors should also give the corresponding Northstar Digital Literacy assessment module as a post-test after teaching curriculum content relevant to the learners.
  • We discourage use of the assessments with low-literacy learners with minimal experience using the computers. For these learners we recommend instead using a paper-based screener. These screeners are provided as a quick and easy way to determine whether low-literacy individuals have the level of computer skills needed to take the Northstar assessments in a meaningful manner. If individuals have very low skills, it is best to provide some instruction prior to having them take the assessments, so they do not become frustrated by attempting to complete assessments far above their skill level. There are two versions of the screener for each module, one for large group screening and one for one-to-one screening. The use of these screeners is not required, but recommended for use with low skills. You can find these screeners in the admin portal under Resources -> Other Resources.

How should I use the new Northstar Online Learning resources in conjunction with the curriculum?

  • Northstar Online Learning provides the ability for testing locations to create individual learner accounts, which include direct links to online instruction and practice resources as well as a display of completed assessments with scores. There is a robust reporting mechanism for ABE programs wanting to claim proxy hours for out-of-class work completed by learners.
  • The Northstar Online Learning instruction and practice resources, like the Northstar Digital Literacy Curriculum, are aligned with Northstar Digital Literacy Standards and support adult learners in meeting the requirements of the Northstar Digital Literacy assessments.
  • As Northstar Online Learning releases additional instruction and practice resources, direct links to complementary interactive practice tasks will be integrated into some Northstar Digital Literacy Curriculum lesson plans.
  • Watch for this logo in the curriculum to link to Northstar Online Learning instruction and practice tasks:
  • Please note: When directed through curriculum links to Northstar Online Learning, learners will not be asked to sign in to the Northstar Online Learning platform. In order to save their work, learners must have a Northstar Online Learning account and click the 'Log in to save results' link in the upper-right corner of the interface.

How does the Northstar Digital Literacy Curriculum support the College and Career Readiness Standards (CCRS)?

  • The CCRS include standards that require digital literacy, but they are broad and do not detail specific digital literacy competencies. The Northstar Digital Literacy Standards support learners’ development of specific digital literacy competencies needed for learners to meet the academic content standards of the CCRS.
  • Across the English Language Arts (ELA) standards of the CCRS, there are multiple references to digital texts and tools, such as engaging with text across “diverse media and formats,” incorporating multimedia components in presentations, and using web features such as electronic menus, hyperlinks, icons, and search tools to comprehend and analyze texts. Standards such as these demonstrate the intersection of digital and print literacy, and require learners to complete tasks that rely on both sets of skills. To meet the standards, learners must develop their print and digital literacies simultaneously. Teachers who have not taught digital literacy in the past are often unsure how to begin incorporating these skills into their ELA instruction. The Northstar Digital Literacy Standards and Northstar Digital Literacy Curriculum provide guidance for teachers on what skills to teach, and how to make those skills accessible to their learners.
  • One of the key instructional shifts outlined in the CCRS is Complexity: Regular practice with complex text and its academic language. Digital texts such as websites are, almost by definition, complex texts. In addition to print, they may include images and infographics, video and audio components, and interactive components. Furthermore, in order to address the other key shifts of the CCRS (using evidence and building knowledge), learners must be exposed to a rich variety of nonfiction text. Here again, digital texts are powerful. Much of what we read online is nonfiction text: news and information of all kinds. All of these features make the use of digital texts in the classroom a powerful tool for shifting ELA instruction towards the rigor of the CCR standards.

Where can I give feedback or comments on the Northstar Digital Literacy Curriculum?

  • Once you have used the curriculum, you are welcome to provide feedback at Feedback will be periodically checked, consolidated, and reviewed by the Northstar team.
  • We appreciate your feedback. Please understand, we are a small staff, so changes and edits may take some time.
  • It is also important to note, Northstar Digital Literacy Curriculum is used in many different classroom contexts, so we may not make a change if it is disadvantageous to other settings.

What resources are available in the Admin Portal to support Remote Instruction of the Northstar curricula?

  • Tools & Tips for Teaching Northstar Lessons Remotely: This resource supports teachers connecting with learners for remote digital literacy instruction. It provides ideas for setting up a virtual classroom, scheduling and inviting learners, tips for teaching remotely using the Northstar curriculum, and best practices for proctoring the Northstar assessments from a distance.
  • Sample Plan for the First Virtual Class Meeting: This plan gives teaching tips to onboard learners to remote learning platforms.
  • Remote Learning Resource Pages: For each lesson plan in the Northstar curriculum, we have compiled a page that includes handouts and other essential visuals to screen share with learners during remote instruction. Some teachers may want to share this resource page with learners prior to instruction through email, or by posting to a class webpage, for example. Remote Learning Resource Pages are available for all completed Northstar curriculum units and can be accessed in the admin portal.