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Districts With Limited Internet Connectivity Suffer During Common Core Testing

Districts with Limited Internet Connectivity Suffer From Online Common Core Tests

As new standardized tests continued to be rolled out and administered online, rural and low-income districts that don't have access to high-speed internet struggle through what is being called a "tech divide."

According to the Associated Press, districts such as New Cuyama in California have struggled this test season to overcome technical challenges stemming from low-quality internet access in order to have all students successfully complete the required online standardized exams.

In New Cuyama, "the district of 240 students in a valley of California oil fields and sugar beet farms faced a challenge. New Cuyama has no access to fiber optic cables. Some residents live entirely off the grid, relying on solar power and generators. The local telephone company provided a few extra lines, but that only bumped speeds a few megabits," the article said.

Schools in such predicaments have had to resort to bussing students to other schools, limiting internet access while exams are being taken, and testing in small groups.

But experts continue to tout the importance and benefits of administering tests online despite these early challenges.

"By administering the tests online, educators can test more skills. Students can be asked, for example, to demonstrate how they would conduct a science experience or solve a math problem, rather than just bubble in an answer," the article said.

Last year, the Federal Trade Commission "approved a $1.5 billion spending cap increase for school broadband and Wi-Fi," and although it will likely take a year to get started on initiatives to boost internet connectivity across the country, thousands of schools are anticipated to be helped.

Read the full story here and comment below.

Article by Nicole Gorman, Education World Contributor

05/12/2015

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