Implementing online assessments

Posted on Monday, 1/20/2014 2:27 PM

With approximately 40 states implementing the Common Core State Standards for the 2014-2015 school year, administrators, teachers and students must prepare for the switch to online assessments. Before ditching written tests, states and districts have several preparations to make, including ensuring institutions have proper facilities and support systems in place.

States currently implementing online testing
Four states that have paved the way for other school districts are Delaware, Idaho, North Carolina and Virginia. All four states use online assessments and serve as leaders for the rest of the country. Virginia, the state that pioneered online testing, first adopting it in 2001, has moved to deliver all forms of end-of-course examinations in high, middle and elementary schools online, with the State Educational Technology Directors Association, or SETDA, reporting that their districts administer more than 3.2 million online tests per year.

Since receiving a grant of $50 million in 2011, Michigan has moved toward training personnel, obtaining faculty and student software and installing proper infrastructure to ensure the state is ready to administer online testing to its 1.5 million students in 2014. While the state has not yet implemented this form of assessment across the board, it has moved to testing science and social studies online.

The Technology Readiness Infrastructure Grant that Michigan has been using to fund their online initiatives has four goals for the state's future implementation including creating an interconnected network to support online learning and establishing collective purchasing for digital materials. Through the use of these funds to further technological education and the switch to greater use of online assessment, Michigan has helped ease its transition to the CCSS.

Resources available for educators
The SETDA recently released its 2013-2016 Strategic Plan, which details how school districts can best prepare for and implement this new form of testing. In this plan, the SETDA details the creation of Implementing Online Assessments: Pathways to Success, an online database which aims to educate curriculum directors as how to best move districts toward online testing. 

The initiative pioneered by the SETDA has five core areas in which educators can familiarize themselves: preparing, piloting, needs, infrastructure and communicating. Visitors to this faculty software can choose a topic, which then links visitors to pamphlets, studies, success stories and reports that serve to assist in the transition process. 

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