While most large-scale assessments are moving toward online delivery, many still integrate a traditional pencil-and-paper element. In today’s digital world, paper may seem comparatively low tech, but there are high-tech tools available to help manage all that paper. Here are five ways to help your paper assessment systems run more efficiently by using an online test-management platform.

1. Use a pre-identification (Pre-ID) system. Pre-ID systems improve the accuracy of student data collected during testing and make distributing test materials more efficient. Use student data from the district’s student information system to prepare a Pre-ID data file and supply it to your testing vendor or printer. The assessment vendor will print the student-identifying data on the answer sheets or prepare barcode labels for the answer sheets.

Hand-bubbling student data onto scannable answer documents is error-prone. Because this information is used to identify student test results and is sometimes merged with existing data sets, accuracy is critically important. Occasionally hand-bubbling data on a document is necessary, but using Pre-ID for the bulk of your students will greatly improve accuracy.

5 tips for managing low-tech assessment with high-tech tools

To make the job of distributing test materials prior to testing easier, be sure to identify how you want the preprinted answer sheets or labels sorted. Generally, testing vendors are flexible in providing sorting options, such as by school, grade, and alphabetically by last name. Identifying your desired sort order means your answer sheets or labels will be packaged ready for distribution, and supplying your teachers with their test materials should be quick and easy.

(Next page: More ways to streamline assessments)

About the Author:

For the last 22 years, Caroline Fahmy has served as president and CEO of Educational Data Systems, responsible for the success, growth, and development of the company. For 11 years prior to that, she was vice president, responsible for the company’s finance and accounting departments and directing the statewide assessment division. She has managed many large-scale assessment and research projects, including multiple statewide assessments in Maine, Massachusetts, Oregon, and California, and the research and development of new software products and services.

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