Tips for making the move to online assessments


Tech support: “Make sure you have enough to respond to any issues students or staff may have,” Honore said.

Testing: Although online assessments are intended to be more revealing and easier in some aspects, they still will require staff time. Testing environments should discourage cheating and be arranged in a way to minimize cheating opportunities.

The Race to the Top Assessment Program has awarded funding to two consortia of states to support the development of high-stakes, computer-based assessments that are aligned with the Common Core State Standards.

In 2010, the SMARTER Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) and the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) received a total of $330 million to develop such assessments. But some education leaders have expressed concerns about the school technology infrastructure that will be necessary to deliver the tests online.

The State Educational Technology Directors Association (SETDA) is working with PARCC and SBAC on issues of school technology readiness and launched a website, Assess4ed.net, to help schools address the transition, said SETDA Executive Director Doug Levin.

“By moving testing online, it guarantees that technology will be pervasive in schools and classrooms and can be used for learning all year,” he said.

In creating a smarter system of assessments, technology must be used to the maximum extent feasible to develop, administer, score, and report on results, Levin said. Online assessments also will enable new and innovative item types that capture complex student learning, such as sections that test critical thinking and problem solving and move beyond multiple-choice questions. The system also will adhere to common interoperability standards.

Laura Ascione

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