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Standardized Tests Yield Tech Challenges, Concerns

Standardized testing in K-12 schools across the country hasn’t yielded a universal satisfaction across the board. In fact, it’s exposed certain concerns and technical challenges for some districts.

“Standardized test season in K-12 classrooms has been dominated in some states by widespread technical problems or by parents allowing their children to opt out,” according to the Bismarck Tribune.

“But testing officials say the rollout this spring of new standardized tests taken by computer in many U.S. public schools has been without major problems in much of the country.”

A new program never exists without out some technical problems and concerns. In order to address the changes from the previous standardized tests to the new batch in spring, some of the 29 states as well as the District of Columbia have been forced to upgrade the Internet connection as well as the devices they use in the classroom.

The added spending comes with a promise that technology will change the way students learn for the better, but how has it been working thus far?

“Testing was disrupted in the Smarter Balanced states of Nevada, Montana and North Dakota because of technical issues associated with open-source software,” reports Kimberly Hefling and AP Education Writer.

“In Nevada, states officials notified vendors they were in breach of contract.

"Right now we have postponed the test until the vendor delivers a 'cure,'" Clark County Superintendent Pat Skorkowsky told parents according to the Bismarck Tribune article.

While officials continue to implement technology in classrooms and fit them hand in hand with standardized testing, there are still some setbacks to work through. Slow Internet connectivity and glitches within the system may possibly frustrate students in turn frustrating their parents as well.

These growing frustrations have caused some parents to opt their children out of programs that rely on heavy standardized testing.

“Under federal law, 95 percent of a state's students are required to undergo an annual assessment,” says Hefling.

“As the opt-outs potentially put some states at risk of not meeting that threshold, Education Secretary Arne Duncan told reporters the federal government has ‘an obligation to step in.’”

While the spring batch results of the standardized tests have yet to be announced parents are being warned about their children’s scores.

New tech, while extremely useful in many cases, gets a little complicated with the implementation of required standardized testing. These issues will should force companies like Smarter Balanced to go back to the drawing board to make the experience better for educators, students and teachers.

Read the full story and comment below.

Article by Navindra Persaud, Education World Contributor

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