Many school districts in states that have adopted the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) are raising concerns about their technological preparedness when it comes to administering online assessments in two years. In a time when human and capital resources are scarce, uncertainties surrounding funding and infrastructure needs abound.
Two consortia, the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium and the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, or PARCC received federal funding to create CCSS online tests; both intend to use technology for interactive test questions, simulations, new graphics, and faster exam results. Both are currently developing technology guidelines which indicate the needs for having specific technologies in place, such as computing devices that have at least 1 gigabyte of computer memory, a screen display size of 9.5 inches or greater, and Internet accessibility. Technology Readiness Data collection is underway for states participating in the CCSS. Thus far, the findings suggest that there is a vast range of common-core technology readiness among states. What can be done to bring more school districts into “ready” status?
Some states already conduct their testing administrations on-line while others are still administering paper/pencil tests. Although Virginia has not adopted the CCSS, in the year 2000, the state adopted a plan to administer all of the State Standards of Learning (SOL) Tests online for all grade 3 – 12 by the year 2014. Currently, Virginia is on track with this initiative and will fully implement on-line testing with the Writing tests administered in grades 5, 8 and 11 in Spring 2013.
The takeaway here is that we can learn from those states who have already implemented online assessments. Our leaders need to come together and discuss what worked and how to avoid what didn’t. Policies need to be carefully crafted and diligently implemented to have the most positive outcomes for our treasured students.