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Computerized state assessments to save time, money


Kansas is requiring its students to take math, reading, and writing tests on a computer this year, reports the Wichita Eagle. Having all schools use the computerized version of the test saves the state money in printing costs—about $350,000 a year—but the switch is mostly for expediency, said David Bowman of the Kansas Department of Education. With paper tests and the mailing and scanning required to process them, schools didn’t see scores until the beginning of the next school year. Now, Bowman said, they can expect official results in May. “That’s the big advantage,” he said. “Teachers can start planning for next year” before the school year ends. Kansas schools have been able to use the computerized form of the assessment since 2004, and Bowman said three years ago the state told the schools they would need to be able to administer it to all students on the computer by this year. “The big switch for some districts… has been the capacity issue—access to that many computers,” he said. Although the state saves some money, the cost burden of switching to computerized assessments falls on local districts…

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