Blog #3

Title: Online Student Assessments

Part 1: Summary

We are now living in the digital age, however it seems that as far as education is concerned we often cling to old and archaic systems in lieu of newer improved upon systems.  In North Carolina they are attempting to usher in the digital age of testing in schools.  North Carolina is developing a digital learning plan, with the goal of taking advantage of the modern technology available and using it to further students education.  The most striking of these and the subject of the article I am reviewing is the transition of state testing from paper and pencil to online.

Testing online has several benefits over the standard paper and pencil tests.  The first of these is the speed with which schools and students are able to receive their results.  Online testing has shortened this wait period from 8-10 school days to a mere 72 hours.  Another potential benefit raised by this article is the ease to which students can engage the test.  Children today are subjected to much more technology than in the past, and are often times more comfortable operating a tablet than a book.  Online testing seeks to take advantage of this by dispensing the test through a medium with which the students are better accustomed.  This familiarity is beneficial to the students and can help eliminate decreased performance due to issues arising outside of the course material, such as errors in filling in scantron sheets.

I think this is a good move, however it must be approached with caution.  One question this raises for me that was not addressed in the article is how exactly the testing procedure is carried out.  If properly proctored I think this is a effective, streamlined way to assess students.  I do however see potential for abuse of this system by a select few students.  As we move further into the digital age, student’s understanding of technology is slowly eclipsing that of some educators.  If left unchecked I feel this could be exploited by the more “tech-savy” students and make cheating on these standardized tests more prevalent.

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