Colorado schools prepare for 2014 online tests




Colorado schools are gearing up for future assessments that will drop pen and paper in favor of computerized testing.

Districts statewide will work on surveys in November that will help the Colorado Department of Education determine how ready districts are to administer online assessments. A new wave of standardized science and social studies tests to be introduced in spring 2014 will likely be administered on computers or related devices, according to a presentation at last week’s Colorado Board of Education meeting in Denver.

The new tests are part of the transition from the Colorado Student Assessment Program. New tests in reading, writing and math will be introduced in 2015 and may be online as well, according to CDE spokeswoman Amy Skinner. Students will continue to take Transitional Colorado Assessment Program tests this spring and will take TCAP reading, writing and math tests along with new science and social studies tests in 2014.

The state’s technology survey is being distributed to all Colorado districts to give the state a sense of how many computers districts have, the ratio of computers to students and how knowledgeable personnel are about online testing. The surveys also ask about the age and components of district network infrastructure and bandwidth capacity.

Skinner said the surveys will help inform decisions such as when to schedule tests and how many students should take them at once. She said online testing is “the way things are moving in general,” but items that require human grading, such as essays, are likely to stick around.

District 51 spokeswoman Christy McGee has counted 8,900 laptops and desktops, including ones for staff.

The transition may be helped by the district already offering some online testing, including STAR tests that track student progress in certain concepts and the online program Grande River Virtual Academy.

“It won’t be an entirely new concept to kids,” McGee said.


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