South Dakota’s position as a leader in using technology in the classroom soon may include online administration of its state-level achievement tests. If a measure passed by the state legislature Feb. 28 is signed by the governor, South Dakota will revamp its entire student achievement test program, and education officials say the revamp will include moving to an internet-based test.

State officials and executives at EdVision, which is helping South Dakota develop its online test programs, cite three key advantages to online testing:

  • Adaptability. If a student performs well on a set of questions, the test automatically increases the level of difficulty.

  • Detailed information. The tests give educators more information about a student’s specific strengths and weaknesses than they receive from traditional paper-and-pencil tests.

  • Ease of distribution.

South Dakota is an ideal place to try an extensive roll-out of online testing. Every classroom in the state is wired with a high-speed internet connection, and the state has been pilot-testing online exams since last year. The state’s education department estimates that the full program will cost about $500,000.