Standardized Tests Moving Online For Colo. Students
KREX News Room
GRAND JUNCTION, Colo.- Starting in the spring of 2014, students can say goodbye to the familiar Scantrons, as all Colorado schools will be required to take their standardized tests online.
Grand Junction High School student Nathan Gavernick is one of many who would be happy to see paper tests go.
"The handwriting is a lot slower. I don't think it goes as fast, and I think the computers are a little more accurate," said Gavernick.
Starting next school year, science and social studies standardized tests will be online.
In 2015 language arts and math will also make the move online.
Along with trading in their No. 2 pencils for computers, Colorado Department of Education officials say they may also incorporate audio and video elements into the new standardized tests.
The goal is to engage students by using technology that they are already very familiar with.
"As our students become more and more technologically proficient, it only makes sense for our assessment to be consistent with what their instruction and their day-to-day lives look like," said Joyce Zurkowski, executive director of assessments with the Colorado Department of Education.
School District 51 already uses some online testing, and officials say they have noticed a positive reaction from students.
"The focus is still on the curriculum and what kids need to learn; the technology here is the tool to get them there," said Christy McGee with School District 51.
Currently, there are 9,000 computers available for the district's 22,000 students.
"The first step is going to be an evaluation of what system and equipment we have in place to even handle and be capable of doing online testing," McGee said.
In November, school districts across the state will have to survey what equipment and bandwidth they need and what resources they already have available to effectively make the transition.
Officials say another positive aspect of online testing is the ability to get results faster.
If teachers are able to see how their students perform more quickly than they're able to with paper tests, it allows them to use more class time to focus on areas needing improvement.