Triton supports multiple test versions and question types, according to the company. The software notifies users of skipped questions with a direct link back to these questions, and a timer displays on each device with a “pencils down” stop functionality. Administrators can set up the testing with customizable rules using the Triton Web interface.
In a first-of-its-kind program, the Michigan Department of Education partnered with the Michigan Association of Secondary School Principals last year to pilot the Triton system on the ACT Explore, which the state uses with eighth- or ninth-grade students to test academic readiness, said Bruce Umpstead of the state’s Office of Educational Technology and Data Coordination. A one-year pilot program took place with 8,000 students using the Triton system.
Umpstead said the response from local schools was extremely positive. At first, he said, he was skeptical that a clicker company could make a move into high-stakes assessments. But one of the most positive things about the pilot, he said, was the effort that went into preparing the state’s teachers.
“First, Turning Technologies simplified the one-click interface. … Second, the training focused on the teacher and increasing the comfort level for deploying the clickers and assessments,” he said. “The built-in troubleshooting really alleviated educators’ concerns.”
Participating students reportedly had no trouble at all.
“The students? They were excited,” Umpstead said. “In the classrooms I visited, the students were saying things like, ‘Cool—I get to text my test!’”
Triton has “become the icon of where we feel testing could go,” said Tina Rooks, senior vice president and chief information officer at Turning Technologies. The company says it examined the high-stakes testing field and noted that tests were delivered on paper or online, but both methods presented issues with equipment, bandwidth, and security.
That’s where the idea for Triton formed: What if a bubble answer sheet could be replaced by a clicker with multi-purpose functionality, serving as a high-stakes assessment device but also as a year-round formative assessment device?
“It truly wipes out bubble sheets,” Rooks said, adding that all pilots have shown zero data loss.
Currently, the Triton system can accommodate multiple choice, matching, fill-in-the-blank, and short response items. Essay functionality is forthcoming, Rooks said—and it will be necessary as states move toward Common Core testing that measures more complex skills.
Turning Technologies has conducted approximately 200 pilots with Triton, and Rooks said the company is in discussions with several states that have experienced significant testing problems in the past.
“What you don’t want to fail is collecting that data,” Rooks said. “There are people who say clickers won’t work in high-stakes assessments, and I would agree with that—the average clicker won’t work. This isn’t your average clicker.”