Survey Reveals Worries About Schools’ Readiness for Online Testing

By Sean Cavanagh — June 30, 2014 2 min read
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While schools’ access to technology continues to increase, roughly 60 percent of K-12 officials surveyed by an industry group do not feel their schools have the bandwidth or devices to make them ready for summative, online testing.

The results are based on an Internet survey completed by about 1,000 K-12 officials nationwide. The survey was sponsored by the Software & Information Industry Association and released here at the ISTE 2014 conference.

The Vision K-20 survey, as it is called, is not based on random sampling and is not meant to be a “formal sample” of the entire education marketplace, but the SIIA says the trends it shows have generally been reliable in the years since it was first conducted in 2009. About half the respondents to the survey identified themselves as teachers or instructors of some kind.

Overall, the results of the survey show “really slow, steady progress,” in districts’ adoption of technology, including the adoption of bring-your-own-device programs, Karen Billings, the vice-president of SIIA’s education division, told Education Week.

Roughly 60 percent of those surveyed said their institutions do not seem “highly prepared” for online summative assessments, in terms of having either the connectivity or the devices to carry those tests out. Those results would seem to speak to school officials’ anxiety about administering computer-based tests aligned with the common-core standards.

Many schools and educators are used to adjusting their schedules, when needed, to ensure that students’ online connectivity isn’t interrupted by outages due to over-demand, Billings said. But with online tests, the survey results show that teachers are worried that “there’s a lot that has to happen at once,” she said.

Other findings:

  • Sixty-six percent of respondents from secondary schools said their schools are currently using bring-your-own-device efforts or will roll them out over the next year, an increase from 60 percent in 2013. The numbers at the elementary level, however, were relatively stagnant; and
  • Not surprisingly, the portions of secondary school officials who said their schools currently allow mobile devices, 52 percent, was much higher than among elementary school officials, 19 percent. But nearly half of elementary-level respondents said they expect mobile devices will be allowed in the near future.

Full results can be found here.

Follow @EdWeekSCavanagh and @BenjaminBHerold and for live updates from ISTE 2014.

A version of this news article first appeared in the Digital Education blog.