ERIC Number: ED561009
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2014-Mar-13
Digital Advances Reshaping K-12 Testing. Technology Counts, 2014. Education Week. Volume 33 Number 25
Edwards, Virginia B., Ed.
Figuring out how to use digital tools to transform testing requires a willingness to invest in new technologies and the patience to experiment with novel approaches, a commitment to ongoing professional development and reliable technical support, and an openness to learn from mistakes. Whatever bumpy ride this technological journey takes, experts insist that online assessments--for both high-stakes tests and classroom exams--are the undeniable wave of the future. They see online tests, and adaptive ones in particular, as a key tool for building personalized learning programs that address students' individual strengths and weaknesses. And with only about a year to go before students in most states are scheduled to take new, online assessments aligned to the Common Core State Standards districts are still taking stock of whether the technology they have on hand will meet their needs. Many schools are now seeing, late in the game, that the gap between what they have and what they need is troubling. A recent report by the State Educational Technology Directors Association, in Glen Burnie, MD., suggests that concerns about schools' technological readiness for common-core testing are justified. It found that 72 percent of schools do not meet the basic Internet-bandwidth requirements of 100 kilobits per second per student set by the association-- essentially the minimum of what's required for a schoolwide 1-to-1 computing environment. That lack of preparation for the common-core online tests could be a major missed opportunity for many schools, experts point out, because the digital upgrades put in place for the common core could fuel the use of technology to transform testing in other ways. Having a stronger technology backbone in place could also set the stage for wider use of assistive technologies. Once seen as primarily for students with disabilities those technologies are now merging into the broader testing world, especially as more states and districts embrace online testing. Computer-based exams provide an opportunity to allow all students to tap into accommodations that could aid comprehension and focus. The rich multimedia content and interactive experiences in games and simulations provide an opportunity for deeper insights into the nuances and complexities of how students solve problems. Even so, some experts advise schools to stay focused on integrating technology into assessments in thoughtful ways that have an impact on learning. "Technology Counts 2014: Digital Advances Reshaping K-12 Testing" examines technology developments that have prompted a rethinking of assessments. Discover what districts are doing to find the technology that fits their testing needs, particularly in relation to new common assessments. Articles in this issue include: (1) Testing Digital Advances (Kevin C. Bushweller); (2) Building Better Feedback Loops (Benjamin Herold); (3) "Playlists" Tailor Curriculum (Benjamin Herold); (4) Automating Writing Evaluations (Caralee J.Adams); (5) Assistive Tech for Everyone? (Michelle R. Davis); (6) New Tools Evolve to Address Autism (Michelle R. Davis); (7) Testing Students in Simulated Worlds (Benjamin Herold;(8) Moment of Truth for Common Core (Sean Cavanagh); (9) Collaborating on Testing (Sean Cavanagh); (10) Taking the Pulse of Digital Literacy (Robin L. Flanigan); (11) Districts Tackle Technology Gaps (Amanda M. Fairbanks); (12) Preventing Digital Cheating (Michelle R. Davis); and (13) Playing Games, Evaluating Skills (Robin l. Flanigan).
Descriptors: Elementary Secondary Education, Technological Advancement, Testing, Computer Assisted Testing, Adaptive Testing, Feedback (Response), Automation, Writing Evaluation, Assistive Technology, Autism, Pervasive Developmental Disorders, Common Core State Standards, Computer Simulation, Computer Literacy, Cheating, Internet, Access to Computers, Disadvantaged, Computer Games, Individualized Instruction, School Districts
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Publication Type: Collected Works - Serial
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Authoring Institution: Editorial Projects in Education (EPE)