Education officials move away from computer-based tests in light of worries about technology capacity

exams-onlineThe affluent Highland Park-based Township High School District 113 near Chicago has all the modern technology, bandwidth, computers and technicians it needs to administer new online state exams this spring — but it opted to go with old-fashioned paper and pencil tests instead.

Likewise, some of the state’s largest districts have switched to paper exams, fearing technology glitches could create headaches for students and teachers alike. Some officials believe such distractions could skew results on the new Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers exams in reading and math.

“Our concern was really that the results of this testing taken online wouldn’t necessarily give clear data on what students know and should be able to do,” said District 113 spokeswoman Jennifer Waldorf.

With the main spring testing season just days away, hundreds of Illinois schools are eschewing the PARCC computer exams that include videos, drop-down menus, drag-and-drop exercises and other online functions, adding to the already-brewing controversy over state testing both here and across the country.

Next page: Illinois districts weigh in on their decisions