Standardized tests are a huge part of K-12 students’ time each year. In fact, the average student takes over 100 statewide administered standardized tests in a school year. Just in the test taking time alone, excluding the studying and preparation, that’s around 20-25 hours.
These tests impact their placement in academic grade levels, overall district funding, and eventually college or other postgraduate acceptance. The standardized tests of today are likely not the same ones taken by their parents in years past.
How have testing structures changed? How will they continue to change? Keep reading to find out more about these changes and how we can best prepare students for them.
Online Test Administration
It’s no surprise that more and more students are now taking standardized tests on laptops instead of with pencil and paper. Some are even administered at home! Although this was a change we saw occurring before the pandemic, the pandemic drastically accelerated this. Online test taking changes the psychological approach and mindset needed to succeed for most students.
Pencil and paper exams involve different testing and focus strategies than online exams. Despite the increase in administering online exams, we haven’t seen any changes with preparing students for online exams. Districts should prepare K-12 students for lengthy online test formats that require fast scrolling, blue-light adjustment, etc.
Phasing Out College Testing Requirements: Addressing Inclusivity and Bias
Many states and colleges have become successful in recognizing unconscious bias amongst administered tests. In “2020 the University of California decided to phase out ACT and SAT testing requirements,” because they found a detriment on “denying admissions to Black and Hispanic students” based on scores. Since then, handfuls of schools have followed suit not requiring SAT or ACT scores including Stanford, Columbia, and Cornell.
The emphasis on academic inclusion at the university level is great to see. What we need to see now is a shift to systemic academic inclusion, starting at the beginning of students’ careers. Incorporating diverse study groups, like group tutoring, is a way districts can implement action to better prepare students for these testing shifts.
Educational Software Integration
Data-driven learning is increasingly powering assessments each year. Using testing results, algorithms can predict potential learning blocks and opportunities for students. This gives district educators better insight when lesson planning and catering to student needs. According to Instructure, “81 percent of educators remain concerned that summative assessments are making students anxious.”
Regular and frequent online assessments help ease the stress of larger cumulative exams. With exposure to weekly online quizzes, students and educators will already have data in advance to pinpoint where they’re struggling and a personalized path to solve the knowledge gap.
Students may soon start experiencing what is known as matrix sampling. In matrix sampling, “test developers select specific test questions that will predict performance on the entire test,” so students don’t take the entire test set of the same questions. We now have technology that can use data to predict the outcomes of a full length examination with less questions.
This means studying will have less to do with memorizing copious amounts of data, and will shift to problem solving and deep critical thinking of patterns they’ve seen across their learning. Matrix sampling may be something hard for students to adjust to, which is where a district tutoring partner may step in to help.
Overall, developments in data technology for educational purposes and the cultural shift for inclusion is changing the way we’ve seen K-12 standardized tests be administered for years.
These changes are meant to nourish student success, however students will need the academic support systems to prepare them for these changes. Partnering with educational experts like Intervene K-12 will be crucial to student success.
Who is Intervene K-12 You Might Ask?
At Intervene K-12, we work to provide data driven lessons and learning objectives based on student benchmarks. Teachers and administrators can easily monitor student progress through exit exams and formative assessment data. Our systems are made to work right alongside students in testing preparation. See more at https://intervenek12.com