If you are a teacher, school administrator, or parent, chances are you have noticed the many ways school has changed since you were a kid. While many of us can remember clapping chalkboard erasers together and turning the handle on manually-operated pencil sharpeners, our kids don’t have the slightest idea what we’re talking about! Technology has changed the school classroom experience over the past two decades, especially when it comes to school testing processes. Here are some ways that standardized testing has evolved in the past twenty years, thanks to the continuous forward march of technological progress.
Number 2 Pencil…?
Remember showing up for school on standardized testing week and receiving an official yellow Number 2 pencil from your teacher? After an explanation from our teacher about the correct and incorrect ways to fill in the right bubble on the multiple-choice answer sheet, we would break the seals on our test question booklet and begin. Nowadays, kids don’t need pencils or paper when it’s testing time. Most schools administer standardized tests on computers, with children entering answers with a single click of a mouse. Kids today will never know the joy of that freshly-sharpened pencil smell on Test Day, but they also won’t have to cope with the consequences of a sloppily-bubbled test sheet either!
Listen and Learn
Standardized school tests almost always include an audio portion, in which children must listen to a short story or a paragraph about a nonfiction subject and then answer questions about the passage. This test indicates a student’s comprehension and listening skill levels and can be predictive of many strengths and weaknesses in the student’s learning process. Our audio testing was carried out by a teacher reading the passage while we bubbled in the answers on the ever-present testing sheet; however, our children are taking similar tests with school classroom headphones or disposable headphones plugged into an electronic testing module. By using technology to test students on comprehension, listening skills, and other extraordinary abilities, the testing process is more accurate and fair and ensures that every student receives precisely the same experience.
Technological advances in computing, use of premium-quality school classroom headphones, and sophisticated classroom tools like smart boards may have changed the face of the classroom, but the same goals that were in place when we were in school remain. Teachers and parents are dedicated to helping their children succeed, learn as much as possible, and graduate with the skills and knowledge they need to be successful, productive, members of society. Thanks to the role technology play in the ongoing evolution of school testing, we will continue to discover increasingly effective ways of educating our children, so they can have the tools that pave the way for the future.