Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Joplin, Missouri schools ready for computerized standardized testing

(From the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education)

A new report shows that a majority of Missouri's public schools (including East Middle School) have the technology necessary to conduct computer-based achievement testing set to begin during the 2014-15 school year. 

Missouri schools reported in a survey that about 95 percent of their computer devices provide the level of technology necessary to handle the testing.

"We were pleased to see that most schools in the state have been able to invest in the technology they need to help prepare students for the future," said Commissioner of Education Chris L. Nicastro.

The new tests will be given to students in grades 3-8 and grade 11 and are aligned to the Common Core State Standards for English language arts and mathematics, adopted by the State Board of Education in 2010.

The report, Smarter Balanced Technology Strategy Framework and System Requirements Specifications <http://www.smarterbalanced.org/smarter-balanced-assessments/technology/#specifications>, will help states and school districts across the country determine if their current computer technology - including desktop, laptop and tablet computers - meets the requirements needed for the new tests. 

Online assessments offer states and school districts clear advantages, including more types of questions, timely feedback to inform instruction and improved accommodations for students with special needs.

Nearly 98 percent of schools in Missouri provided information about their computer technology prior to the October 2012 cutoff date for the report. However, schools can continue to submit their technology information to determine their ability to administer the tests.

The Department is currently working with schools across Missouri as they prepare to implement the state's new academic standards. The new standards, which will be assessed beginning with the 2014-15 school year, are designed to better prepare students for college, other postsecondary training and careers.

College and career readiness is a primary goal of Missouri's Top 10 by 20 initiative, which calls for education in Missouri to rank among the top 10 states in the country by 2020.

More information about the Smarter Balanced Assessment can be found at <http://www.dese.mo.gov/divimprove/assess/sbac.html>.

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