With online testing on the horizon, infrastructure could be a challenge

That has some cash-strapped districts worried.

“We have lots of concerns, but not answers,” Kettering, Ohio, Superintendent Jim Schoenlein told the Dayton Daily News for a recent story. He said the state could choose to pick up the cost itself or pass it on to districts.

“I surely hope that, if they are going to mandate statewide testing, … they pick up the financial responsibility for that,” Schoenlein said. “But that’s surely no guarantee.”

Ohio is part of the PARCC consortium. If the state decides to pass on the cost of supplying the necessary infrastructure for online testing to local districts, taxpayers would have to foot the bill.

While Ohio has federal Race to the Top money to develop and implement the Common Core standards-based testing, it is uncertain how much of that money will be used to help districts install the technology they need to administer the new tests, Ohio Department of Education spokesman Dennis Evans said.

“How things are implemented and what resources there are, that’s a conversation that is still ongoing,” Evans said.

Trotwood-Madison, Ohio, Superintendent Rexann Wagner met with her district curriculum and technology directors about the subject earlier this month.

Trotwood-Madison officials are trying to determine how many computers they’ll need and if their wireless capability is sufficient so there isn’t a system crash during testing time. “All of those things are part of our discussions,” Wagner said.

Some schools welcome the new testing, regardless of the challenges it might entail.

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