In a federal study that could shed light on the potential uses of computers for large-scale tests, researchers have found that computerized tests can effectively measure large groups of students’ skills in problem-solving with technology—skills that cannot easily be tested with paper and pencil.
The study, released Aug. 16 by the National Center for Education Statistics, an arm of the U.S. Department of Education, was intended to provide information on how computer technology can be used most effectively on the National Assessment of Educational Progress, according to Randy Elliot Bennett, the lead author of the study and a distinguished scientist for the Princeton, N.J.-based Educational Testing Service.
The researchers based their findings on computerized tests given in 2003 to a nationally representative sample of 2,000 8th graders, featuring questions with a strong emphasis on physical science. The directors of the study administered the test to students via the Internet in schools that had strong technology resources; in other cases, laptop computers were provided to schools.
A version of this article appeared in the August 29, 2007 edition of Education Week