New York Lets Common Core Computer-Based Testing Deadline Slip

The New York State Education Department still has a goal of having all students use computers to take state tests—but no longer has a deadline. 

School districts will not be required to administer the annual assessments online in 2014-15, as the state had originally planned.

That's a good thing for local districts—a June poll by the New York State School Boards Association found that most of its members didn't think their districts had the capacity to do all the state testing on computers next year. 

The state has not set a new timeline, SED spokesman Jonathan Burman said last week. 

"We continue to work with districts to help ensure they have the capacity -- in terms of bandwidth, hardware, and software -- to meet their instructional needs," Burman said. "The Board of Regents and the State Education Department have set a course to prepare the State’s P-12 education system for a future that includes computer-based testing as an extension of these district investments."

Education reformers agree: technology is a powerful tool to personalize learning, and equitable access to it is essential. However, thinking of technology as a productivity center instead of a cost center is difficult when school budgets are constrained, as they have been for much of the past decade, the Consortium for School Networking points out.

In 2012, the state Board of Regents, which oversees education, set a goal of transitioning to online testing in 2014-15. New York joined the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC), a multi-state consortium which is developing computer-based assessments aligned to the Common Core. 

But as of June 2014, fewer than three out of 10 school trustees who responded to the poll said their districts were ready, NYSSBA found. Another 27 percent were not sure.

“School board members are waving a red flag over full implementation of online testing,” said NYSSBA Executive Director Timothy G. Kremer in a written statement. “While some schools were able to handle the lower bandwidth and hardware requirements for field testing, they are not yet ready for full scale implementation.”

Burman said that SED's goal was not focused on testing but on taking advantage of modern technology to enhance teaching and learning. 

"Districts should not invest scarce resources simply for the purpose of administering online exams -- but should consider the overall benefits that can be derived from investments in educational technology," he said.

Joann Giovino Fagiolo June 23, 2014 at 11:05 AM
and that's a good thing..!


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