New toolkit for school districts offers crucial guidance on how to implement Common Core online assessments
Common Core online assessments are scheduled to begin in districts across the country in the spring of 2014 through 2015. However, many districts still struggle to implement these online assessments, thanks to inadequate bandwidth and lack of technology infrastructure. National consortia and multiple school districts have offered eight key recommendations to help districts in their implementation efforts.
“Online assessments are important for the future, regardless of participation in Common Core States Standards,” said Tom Ryan, CEO of eLearn Institute, Inc. “These assessments are substantially different from other current online assessments because of significant writing, simulations and higher-order thinking skills, and the requirement of new infrastructure and human capacity.”
The comprehensive toolkit, “Raising the BAR: Becoming Assessment Ready,” was developed by the Consortium for School Networking (CoSN), Education Networks of America (ENA), and the eLearn Institute as part of overall efforts to ensure all districts can make the transition to online assessments smoothly.
“Right now, 99 percent of districts need additional bandwidth and connectivity in the next 36 months,” said Ryan. “And 43 percent of school districts indicated [in our study] that none of their schools can meet SETDA’s goal of 100 Mbps of internet access per 1,000 students today. There’s work to be done.”
Based on observations from a series of case studies from large and small districts, interviews with experts and feedback from the consortia, a list of 8 key recommendations for becoming online assessment ready was created.
Each recommendation is accompanied by a checklist of items for school districts to consider as they prepare for online assessments. The checklist, says the consortia, will help school districts “not only learn from the experience and key observations of other school districts, but also be intentional and comprehensive in their own planning process.”
(Next page: Recommendations 1-4)