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Preparing for standardized testing

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With the fall semester and winter holidays now behind them, many schools and districts are turning their attention to preparing for the standardized-testing season. Three polls published last week in SmartBrief on EdTech were designed to gain insight into how schools and educators are preparing themselves and their students for testing, particularly new online tests associated with the Common Core State Standards.

In describing their current state of preparedness, just under 11% of respondents to our poll reported that educators in their school or district are well-prepared to implement online tests, with about 25% saying they are somewhat prepared.

To help students acquire the technology skills needed for online testing, 37.5% of respondents said students in their school or district learn such skills through subject-based instruction, while about 23% said specialized instruction is how they are being prepared.

However, a majority of respondents — 74.74% — said, in their school or district, too much instructional time is spent on test-prep, with just 5.26% saying that more instructional time should be devoted to the topic.

Here is a breakdown of the results:

How prepared are educators in your school or district to implement new online assessments under the Common Core State Standards?

  • Not prepared – 58.46%
  • Somewhat prepared – 24.62%
  • Well-prepared – 10.77%
  • My school or district is not participating in the CCSS – 6.15%

How is your school or district working to help students develop technology skills needed to complete online assessments under the Common Core State Standards?

  • Many students still need to learn these skills – 39.58%
  • Students learn these skills by using technology as part of subject-based instruction – 37.5%
  • Students learn these skills through specific instruction – 22.92%

How would you assess the amount of instructional time devoted to preparation for standardized testing — including time spent on technology aspects and subject knowledge — in your school or district?

  • Too much instructional time is spent on test-prep in my school or district – 74.74%
  • My district spends an appropriate amount of instructional time on preparation for standardized testing – 20%
  • Not enough instructional time is devoted to test-preparation in my school or district – 5.26%

Katharine Haber is an education editor for SmartBrief, writing and editing content about a variety of topics in education.