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

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.

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)


4 ways technology can improve SEL skills

Today’s classrooms are full of immersive high-tech tools—but at the same time, schools and districts are being pushed to promote social-emotional learning (SEL) and improve school climate. Since spending too much time looking at various screens can hinder the direct connection between people, here are four real-world examples of tech helping students connect on a human level with their peers, their teachers, and the world around them.

Howard Vogel: Confronting students’ fear of public speaking

When teaching the 21st-century skill of communication, many schools focus on reading and writing, but spoken communication is just as important to students’ success in school and in life. At J.M. Grasse Elementary School in Perkasie, Penn., where I am the principal, we use technology to make students more comfortable with public speaking.

The fear of public speaking affects 75 percent of our population. To help curb students’ fear of talking in front of an audience, teachers at my school use handheld microphones and the Lightspeed Redcat audio system multiple times a day to give each student the opportunity to speak and be heard by the entire class. Students use these microphones during morning meetings, when reading out loud, and when doing mini-presentations. Not only do they love speaking into the microphone, but teachers enjoy having students that are attentive and engaged.

(Next page: More ways to promote SEL skills)