Standardized tests have been around for decades and adapt to each generation’s needs. In today’s classroom, technology allows testing to be performed digitally. Here’s what you need to know to stay informed on digital standardized testing.


How Digital Testing Affects Students

Most students are familiar with classroom technology like smart boards, desktops, and tablets. However, low-income schools have limited access to these new technologies. Students take digital standardized tests on computers. Those with little practice on computers have a disadvantage. They’ll have to spend more time learning how to navigate the test template. Of course, this gives them less time to answer test questions.

How Digital Testing Affects Teachers

The digital test itself provides instructions, removing a step for teachers in the testing process. However, testing procedures require teachers to set up the tests for each child on individual computers. Teacher and author Melissa Bollow Tempel finds that if there aren’t enough computers in the classroom for everyone to test at one time, proctoring the exams becomes more difficult. For younger grades, teachers might need to teach a lesson to entertain the classroom while also monitoring the testing students’ progress.


Scientific Observations of Digital Vs. Paper Testing

A recent study by Ben Backes and James Cowan reveals differences in test scores between students taking computer tests versus paper tests. The evaluation covers two testing periods to determine whether the scores occur naturally or occur because of unfamiliarity with the equipment. The study shows that online test-takers don’t do as well as paper test-takers. The option for testing on paper is still given to some schools, but there are also ways to improve online test taking.


Preparing Students for Digital Testing

Becoming familiar with the testing platform is key. If they have access to internet at home or a local library, students can take practice tests on educational websites. Though the tests won’t be exactly what your child will take at school, they’ll still be getting exposure to digital testing. Google Forms is an option for test prep. With the ability to create the questions, students can test on information they might actually see on the official test. There will also be reading comprehension questions on the standardized test. To prepare for the reading portion, students can check out Pearson or ReadTheory.


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