Technology Counts 2014: Digital Advances Reshaping K-12 Testing

March 13, 2014

Students in Patrick Kilty’s U.S. History class, which combines online and face-to-face learning, use tablets to do work.
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This Issue
Vol. 33, Issue 25
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Online assessments—for high-stakes tests and classroom exams—are the undeniable wave of the future and a key tool for customizing instruction, experts say.
Summit High School in Oregon is experimenting with a mix of new technologies to build teacher-student feedback loops that help personalize instruction.
Sometimes called "curriculum playlists," the concept centers around the idea that content should be unbundled so that users can reassemble it according to their preferences.
Teachers are eager for new tools to help students develop into better writers, but critics question the ability of the software to critique writing.
The growing use of computer-based assessments is opening the doors for all students to tap into accommodations once reserved primarily for students with disabilities.
Assistive technologies for students with autism have progressed with the help of iPads, tablets, and apps that assess learning, social skills, and communication, according to experts.
Simulations designed to make students communicate and work with others to solve problems are receiving new attention in K-12 testing, despite questions about cost, reliability, and validity.
State and district officials acknowledge that they face many unknowns about their technological readiness for new online assessments for the standards.
No longer just about how to use digital tools to measure abilities in core academic areas, many educators say assessments should also evaluate technology skills.
The gap between districts that appear to be well prepared to put digital instruction and assessment in place and those that aren't is significant.
As schools put the technology in place for online assessments, they are looking carefully at how to use new technologies to prevent cheating.
The feedback from students' performance provides a deeper insight into how they solve problems, allowing educators to identify their strengths and weaknesses quicker, experts say.
Arthur C. Graesser, a University of Memphis professor of experimental and cognitive psychology, says "you have to be very subtle in smuggling in serious content."