Instead of using paper to conduct Indiana’s standardized testing, technology is taking over. The Indiana Department of Education is requiring schools to transfer from paper to online testing for at least one grade level during this year’s spring ISTEP testing.
Chief Assessment Officer for the Indiana Department of Education, Wes Bruce says instead of waiting weeks for scored exams, content is available with the press of a button. He says not only is the process faster, but online testing gets students prepared for the college environment.
“We thought that it might be useful if you’re trying to really get kids ready for the 21st century and make sure they’re college and career ready, we should probably at least try and test them with 20th century technology rather than 19th century technology.” says Bruce. “Paper tests have been around forever.”
Although online testing yields faster results, there are setbacks to the strategy. Bruce says the department is unsure of the availability of computers that could accommodate a large group of students. Schools must have enough network capacity to allow many students to take the test simultaneously.
“It’s making sure that the infrastructure actually exists. We’re sure that the first year we’re going to find some places that have the computers but may not have the appropriate backbone.” Bruce said. “Their network infrastructure internally may not be sufficient to give students a valid testing experience.”
The State Department of Education tested 5-percent of students online last year, with the majority preferring computerized testing. By 2014, all students must have sufficient computer skills to be able to take an online version of the Common Core Assessment exam.