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Increase in Online Standardized Testing Likely to Create Difficulties This Year, Report Finds

Increase in Online Standardized Testing Likely to Create Difficulties This Year, Report Finds

A new report from EdTech Strategies titled Pencils Down: The Shift to Online & Computer-Based Testing has found that the majority of U.S. students will be completing standardized testing online in the 2015-2016 school year, with only 15 percent of tests still being offered in a pencil and paper format.

According to the report, with the new reliance on technology for administering exams will come several issues that districts and schools need to watch out for.

Last year alone, seven states experienced “significant technology-related test administration failures” when attempting to roll-out new online tests or “significant new online test functionality.” Because 10 more states are working to deliver new online tests this year, the report says some of them are likely to experience technical difficulties as they implement the change.

The report also says that online testing brings the issue of equity and access to the forefront. The report says:

The equity concern speaks to two related issues: (1) the unethically long testing windows supported by state departments of education, which – in some states – allow school districts to administer end-of- year summative tests to students several months before the end of the school year, and (2) the uneven access of students to high-quality, subject-specific instruction in modes related to how students are tested (i.e., for online testing, with teachers who have the support to effectively integrate technology into their academic lessons).

Administering tests primarily online can also pose significant security concerns. Last year, two states “experience significant statewide disruptions of testing due to repeated DDoS (distributed denial of service) attacks on their vendor’s test administration servers by unidentified parties."

"Given the charged environment surrounding testing, it is reasonable to expect that every node in the online test administration network could be a target for those interested in causing mischief (whether initiated external to school systems or internally).”

Read the full report here.

Article by Nicole Gorman, Education World Contributor

11/09/2015

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