Computer Based Testing is Coming But At What Cost?

The school year just started in San Franscisco, CA and the 4th grade students are already taking practice tests. This time, they are doing so using new computer based testing systems. Basically, free child labor for the testing companies. College students can take practice tests also, but they will receive a stipend for it.

The “cost” of moving towards CBT involves way more than just money: new technology equipment purchases or upgrades, bandwidth upgrades, additional testing “security” mechanisms, additional teacher/admin training, support, and administering, resource planning for “glitches”, and on and on. Many states are struggling to figure out how to implement these new “mandates”. The article linked here explains that some states have been trying to 10 years to figure this out. Yet, in the San Fran area they are trying to setup this up in a measly one year.

I am all for new technology integrated in an effective manner into our kids curriculum. I am not for new purchases of tech equipment simply to take new tests or facilitiate that mandate.

Take a look at the great summary of PARCC written by Chris Cerrone (@stoptesting15) here. From his post: “Bottom line is PARCC assessments will harm our schools educationally and financially and we need to end this madness.”

Additionally, the PARCC Consortium seeks a bid for Common Core testing platform (or “an ambitious array of technology services”) worth potentially up to $17 million. Any takers? See here, oh, and by the way…it appears you have one year to get this ready for live online test deployment. My immediate hope is that New York pulls out of PARCC and decides not to use them.  My second hope is that my kids will grow up to love using technology to create, contribute, communicate, and curate and that they will not grow up to despise it because it is overused as the implementation tool of choice for high-stakes testing.

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  1. The list of NY schools PARCC field testing for spring 2014 can be found on Chris Cerrone’s blog here


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