Technology means assessments can focus on more than just multiple-choice. Can testing keep up?
When we imagine the future of assessment it’s easy to envision all sorts of impressive ways to help gauge what students know and what they can do. Gaming and simulations, especially, create all kinds of possibilities.
But the major focus of assessment technology in recent years, of course, has been on efficiency of test delivery and administration—with little true innovation making it to students’ test booklets or computer screens.…Read More
Homegrown online assessments prove invaluable to one district
Assessments are critical to our efforts to improve instruction in K-12 education. Yet, in an age when students are accessing a vast array of resources on computers, tablets, and mobile devices, some school districts are still hesitant to take their assessments online.
At Hopewell Valley Regional School District (HVRSD), we began the transition to online assessment more than three years ago. Across the district, our teachers have created a number of online assessments—individually and through their work in professional learning communities—for use in our district. Since then, we’ve found that online assessments offer several distinct advantages over paper-and-pencil assessments.
Within just a few hours of the first test being administered, it became clear that the district wasn’t as ready as it thought it was. “The first day of testing can be described as nothing short of a disaster,” says Clough. “Now that the first round of testing is complete, we’ll have to start unpacking things and figure out exactly what went wrong.”…Read More
An elearning pro shares how to prioritize to make the transition to online assessments smoother
As with anything in life, certain tradeoffs must happen in order for schools to spread already-thin resources across all critical projects. Schools already face this challenge on a daily basis, and now they must become Common Core assessment-ready at a time when resources are especially tight.
“In the end, there have to be some projects and/or expenses that receive lower priority within the district,” says Thomas Ryan, Ph.D., CEO at eLearn Institute, Inc., a nonprofit that helps districts prepare online learning strategies. “At this point, any prioritization that takes place really has to be based on district-wide, long-term decisions.”
Transitioning to a data-driven system
In looking at the digital education shift as a whole, Ryan says some schools are “holding onto the old way of doing things” even as they realize that the shift to online assessments is going to have to happen. “Trying to support a paper-based instructional model and a digital-based model is just too expensive,” says Ryan. “Unless there’s a stream of new funding coming in, schools really need to start putting [digital] transition plans in place.”…Read More