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Students Who Use Paper and Pencil for Common Core Test Scored Higher Than Those Who Used Computers

Students Who Use Paper and Pencil for Common Core Test Scored Higher Than Those Who Used Computers

Though only one in five students used the old-fashioned pencil-and-paper method to take the PARCC last year, those students seemed to have better odds to perform better than those who used computers.

Education Week "reported that in some cases the differences were substantial enough to raise concerns about whether scores on the exam — the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers test — are valid and reliable enough to be used for teacher evaluations or school accountability decisions,” said The Washington Post.

Experts who have looked at the percentage of students who scored proficient in the pencil-and-paper test versus the online test have concluded the advantage is significant.

"Baltimore County middle-grades students who took the paper-based version of the PARCC English/language arts exam, for example, scored almost 14 points higher than students who had equivalent demographic and academic backgrounds but took the computer-based test,” the Post said.

"Jeff Nellhaus, the chief of assessment for PARCC, acknowledged the difference in test scores in an interview with The Washington Post on Wednesday, and said that PARCC had tried to suss out whether the differences were due to the format of the test itself, or to differences in the abilities of students who took the two exam types.”

Nellhaus told the Post a big factor behind the differences in test scores could have a lot to do with student familiarity with the platform. Since many students who used computers to take the assessment aren’t used to doing so, that could account for a lot of the difference.

Nellhaus said as students become more familiar with the online testing platform, scores are likely to increase.

For teachers who have evaluations riding on the assessment scores in the present, this is especially upsetting to hear.

Read the full story.

Article by Nicole Gorman, Education World Contributor

2/5/2016

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