Put yourselves in the shoes of a school or district technology director or specialist in a CCSS-adopting state. Not only are you responsible for optimizing your schools technology scope, infrastructure, and devices, but now you must also ensure each school, teacher, and student has the necessary technology means to test online by 2015 (via the PARCC or Smarter Balanced Common Core-aligned assessments). I bet youre stressed already just from reading that!
Dian Schaffhauser of T.H.E. Journal recently spoke to education technology directors who have faced Common Core stress points and put together a great piece listing tips, recommendations, and things-to-look-for when beginning your online testing technology initiatives. Below are quick bullets of some of the helpful tips found in his article.
Online Testing Tips of the 'Educational Technology' Trade
Instead of preparing solely for the online Common Core tests, Laurence Cocco, Director of New Jerseys Office of Educational Technology, says schools should focus on implementing technology soundly on a general scale. Doing so gives your teachers and students the ability to holistically prepare for the tests throughout the whole year.
Jon Cohen, executive vice president of American Institutes for Research (AIR), insists schools must stop shutting down to test. The online tests offer pause capabilities, so the idea of testing non-stop for a week or two should be thrown out. Instead, schools must take student testing fatigue and anxiety into account and space the testing out more evenly.
Hawaii made the big shift to online testing in 2011. David Wu, assistant superintendent for Hawaii's Office of IT services, suggests to make a "leap of faith" and make a quick change over from paper tests to online. Wu understands that not all schools are ready to go with premier tech resources. The key, he says, is to work with the technology and devices your school has on-hand and then constantly build and improve from there.
The article mentions knowing your school/districts network compatibility and capabilities in-and-out when making software and hardware purchases. Its much more effective to make purchases that fit within your tech infrastructure than altering your infrastructure to support the technology.
Administer practice tests and mock testing periods to structure and refine your information technology strategies and operations. Additionally, keep an eye on the skills students need to complete the online tests (click, drag, enter numbers with keyboard, etc.) and help your teachers find methods and programs that replicate and model these digital skills. This is especially important for the younger grades.
For more on the Common Core technology challenges facing districts and schools, be sure to check out Dians full article at the link below.