Currently, the state Department of Education mandates that students in the highest grade level at each school take the test online. But the DOE hopes that by 2014, all I-Step testing will be web-based. Monroe County Community School Corporation Director of Secondary Education Janice Bergeson says that change could prove problematic.
Bergeson says she doesn’t know if there are enough computers for every student to take the test online. “We’ll only be concerned if in the future it goes further and we aren’t able to keep up with the technology requirements.” Under the present arrangement, the system is not posing any problems,” said Bergeson. “Right now we are able to keep up with it but we don’t know if well have enough computers if every single student has to take it online.”
Education experts say going to an online-exclusive model could better assess testing trends and even the test itself. Indiana University School of Education professor Curt Bonk says automation, if properly used, can improve education. He says having the test online would also extend its reach and help with remediation.
“Anytime we can automate something in education and make it more widely available for people whether its resources to prepare, or resources to assess, or resources to re-mediate. If properly used we have a chance to improve education,” said Bonk.
That improvement Bonk says would come after education leaders use the online records to exam trends and apply what useful information they gather to the classroom.
“Again, there’s more ways to highlight trends. If you can highlight the trends that are happening you can find ways to build remedial activities around it for people who haven’t passed,” Bonk said.
The success of the online testing this spring will help DOE officials decide if the 2014 timetable for full online deployment is feasible.