As a part of the second largest school district in the state of California, I have had exposure to a variety of assessment tools that have been both effective and ineffective across the past 14 years. The school district that I am a part of has mandated that the annual standardized testing be done virtually, rather than on paper. This process was piloted at a few schools initially, then pushed forward to all schools across a three-year process.
Along with the implementation of the virtual testing, the district also received federal funding to purchase technology to implement the testing. This was a perfect opportunity for we teachers to utilize the technology in our classroom also. The tablets that the district sent are used for testing in the spring only. This allowed for we teachers to use the tablets for the duration of the year. At my school site, our school received additional funding, and purchased Chromebook carts for many classes to share. Although we did not have a one-to-one ratio of student-to-computers, we did have a sufficient amount to share the carts and use them regularly.
Many teachers like myself utilize a variety of apps and websites to assess our students both formally and informally. We can conduct polls, review sessions, and submit projects/writing samples, etc., all using our technology. The assessments that I administer the most using technology are informal. I conduct review/study sessions with websites like kahoot.com. This website is cost free, and allows you to do so many things. The website allows you to create a variety of assessments. Most importantly, if you are stretched for time, you can duplicate and manipulate the Kahoots of other users and save them within your own collection.
Many times, I am unable to dedicate instructional time to fun review sessions that involve all students at all ability levels. Students may work in group or alone. You can also see the statistics of the responses to gauge areas of concern for reteaching. This assessment tool really helps with saving planning time and appeals to the technology savvy student. If your school does not have technology on-site, students may link up to the assessment with their own devices also.
Using technology regularly allows us to prepare the student for the use of technology for the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) standardized testing. Preparing our students is important when it comes to their success. The system that is used to test our students is not user friendly and complicates things for many. Exposure to the tablets and regular use eases anxiety for the students yielding a calmer and more productive testing environment when taking the virtual assessment.