Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Technology Skills for Online Standardized Tests

In recent years, there have been quite a few changes in education. That is an understatement. Perhaps one of the more significant changes has been in the way our students are assessed. State assessments have moved from the fall to the spring; students are assessed based on the Common Core State Standards (CCSS); results will be available much more quickly; assessments are completed on the computer rather than on paper.

This last change should be the least significant change for students. Students use technology often in their personal lives and, for the most part, are comfortable with computers and even enjoy using them. However, what would be somewhat detrimental to demonstration of our student achievement is if students' technology skills (or lack thereof) got in the way of the student demonstrating what they know. And for that reason, teachers are worried about now assessing new standards, the increased rigor and change in the types and formats of questions on the assessment and the technology skills needed to complete the assessment.

Below, I have attached a checklist created by Middletown Public Schools Technology Department. They used other published technology skills checklists as well as observations during the Smarter Balanced field test last spring. Theirs is a very comprehensive list, and a bit overwhelming at first. But, students may already possess many of these skills. Observations of students on keyboarding devices may begin to narrow down skills they've mastered and ones they still need to work on.

These skills apply not only to the SBAC (now called the Badger exam) but also to other online assessments such as the ACT Aspire for 9th and 10th graders. At this time, the ACT Plus Writing and ACT WorkKeys, now required for all 11th grade students, are still on paper for 2015, but it would not be surprising to see them transferred online in the future.

As teachers utilize mobile devices, such as Chromebooks, in their classrooms and take advantage of time in the computer lab, keep these skills in mind. Pick a few skills to concentrate on each week and talk about with students. And know, that while you are doing that, you are working on assessment skills, life skills, and job skills all at one time.



  1. Well articulated, Sarah, and a great resource. Thanks!

  2. I feel like most of our kids have this stuff down!