Are clickers a solution to high-stakes headaches?

Triton Data Collection System offers a new take on clickers and online assessments

clicker-assessmentsOne of the many concerns that school IT leaders have about the shift to online assessments is whether they’ll have enough computers and bandwidth for students to take high-stakes exams—and the steep costs this would involve. Now, one company is working on a solution that would let students take high-stakes tests using less expensive “clicker” technology, which raises the question: Are student response systems a viable way to test students?

Turning Technologies of Youngstown, Ohio, has developed the Triton Data Collection System, a personal response system designed to support high-stakes assessments in a secure manner, with little or no internet connection required.

Here’s how it works: A handheld clicker takes the place of traditional paper answer forms. Questions are still delivered on paper, and students can use this paper to work out answers to math problems or make notes.

The Triton Data Collection System features Triton Web, a web-based interface to help administrators create and control tests; Triton Receiver (with proctor software) to deliver the tests; and ResponseCard NXT, which students use to answer the test questions. Responses go to the proctoring software, which then sends them to Triton Web.

Data are transferred from the student response systems to the receiver using radio frequency technology, which is a useful alternative to sometimes unreliable internet connections during testing, Turning Technologies says. Answers can be sent to the receiver or server at a later date if there are connection problems during testing.

The test responses are backed up in triplicate, the company says: They are simultaneously stored and encrypted on the clicker, the receiver, and—if an internet connection is available—on Triton Web. All clickers and receivers have a unique ID that is visibly printed on the device, as well as stored electronically, to make the data more traceable.

(Next page: Michigan pilots clickers with assessments)

Laura Ascione

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