Hawaii public schools have begun testing a new online version of the state’s annual assessment exam, which officials say will be a better gauge of student progress than the current paper-and-pencil test once it is rolled out next school year, reports the Honolulu Advisor. The online version of the Hawaii State Assessment is also being touted as a tool that will reduce the chance for errors in scoring, save money—potentially 40 percent from the present $10.1 million annual cost for the paper test—and give teachers immediate feedback on how their students are comprehending math, reading, and science concepts. Perhaps most beneficial for individual schools, students will be given three opportunities to take the exam over an eight-month period, with only the best of the three scores counting toward the school’s measurement of progress under the federal No Child Left Behind law. That change could help many schools see improvement in their quest to make “adequate yearly progress.” However, that expanded testing window—to eight months from three weeks now—and the ability for students to take the test up to three times, have given rise to concerns about overtesting. The number of available computers on a school’s campus is also of concern for some larger schools…

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