Articles: Assessment

The upcoming PARCC and Smarter Balanced online assessments require students to use secure, locked-down machines. When district leaders invest in this equipment, they should also consider selecting devices that will support increased student achievement and college and career success, such as Google Chromebooks.

Whether assessments administered in a district are producing useful data can be determined through establishing a comprehensive assessment plan. Assessments should support a district’s strategic plan and determine student progress according to Common Core State Standards.

The Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) were finalized in April 2013 after a lengthy research and development process by the National Research Council, the National Science Teachers Association, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Achieve and a group of 26 states. Not a set of curricula, the NGSS serves to provide teachers with guidelines for teaching practical, more in-depth science.

To meet the Common Core State Standards, students must develop the 21st-century skills needed for college and career success. Districts must adapt their curriculum to ensure students are being taught these digital skills.

Whether using the internet safely or preparing for a nationwide assessment that will be completed on a computer, students at a Long Island, N.Y., district are conquering the digital world. The district’s 5,800 students in grades K-8 are using EasyTech, a web-delivered curriculum from Learning.com that allows teachers to seamlessly integrate digital literacy skills into math, science, language arts and social studies instruction.

The Common Core State Standards assessments will be implemented in the 2014-2015 school year. To prepare, district technology leaders need to look at their networks and systems. Changes may need to be made to handle the challenges of online assessments.

The need for high-speed internet in schools is growing exponentially. District Administration spoke with four administrators from around the country about what is driving current bandwidth-consumption trends, what impact increased bandwidth has on tight budgets, and what the future of bandwidth looks like for K12 schools.

JIM RARUS

Educators too often treat instructional software for students like physical therapy for the injured: You get diagnosed for your specific injury, you undergo a physical therapy regimen, and one day you’re healthy again.

In Arizona’s rural Cottonwood Oak Creek School District, 70 percent of students receive a free or reduced-price lunch. Because many students do not have the resources at home to learn about and interact with technology, the team at Cottonwood wanted to foster improved technology skills, while also promoting student engagement in class.

Frequent formative assessment provides teachers with the tools to prepare students for high-stakes testing, as well as the data to make enlightened changes to instruction along the way. With the right technology, such as eInstruction’s suite of products, teachers can increase their efficiency and success to drive student performance.

In this web seminar, originally broadcast on October 4, 2012, education technology experts and practitioners from K5 schools described how they are utilizing adaptive instructional technology as part of blended learning models to individualize and differentiate math instruction in the classroom.

With tight budgets, scarce resources, and rigorous state and federal standards, it seems that providing individualized math instruction would be a challenge for many schools. However, by taking advantage of appropriate technology and allowing for flexibility, many schools across the country are developing IEPs for every student. In this web seminar originally broadcast on September 13, 2012, expert speakers discussed the keys to successfully creating these IEPs.

In 2007, as part of their goal to meet technology literacy standards passed by the state of New York, administrators at the Longwood Central School District on Long Island were looking for a tool that would help them both integrate digital skills into core curriculum, and assess whether those skills were being taught effectively.

James Dent knew ST Math would help the students at the charter school he co-founded two years ago because he’d seen its power at other schools. But he had no idea how effective it would be with teachers.

Almost everyone I meet who deals with education technology has the same misconception about learning. We all think that the promise of technology is that students will be able to whiz through more content in a shorter period of time. With adaptive software-based instruction, there’s nothing stopping ‘em, right?

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