Digital Learning Now! Offers Advice to States & Districts Preparing for Online Assessment

News Release: Digital Learning Now! Offers Advice to States & Districts Getting Ready for Online Assessment
‘Getting Ready for Online Assessments’ Creates a Plan for Common Online Assessments in a Framework for Personalized Learning
Seattle, Wash., December 21, 2012 Digital Learning Now! (DLN) today released “Getting Ready for Online Assessments,” the third interactive paper in the DLN Smart Series, which provides recommendations for states and districts to prepare for new, online assessments in the wake of Common Core State Standards (CCSS) implementation in the 2014-15 school year.
“The shift to online assessments for CCSS provides the perfect opportunity for broad and systemic technology infrastructure upgrades within our schools,” said John Bailey, executive director of Digital Learning Now! “The preparation necessary to be ready for the assessment will also provide opportunities for schools to create the environment needed to support next-generation models of instruction supported by digital learning.”
The assessments, led by states working with the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) and the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (Smarter Balanced), are designed to provide the next generation of student assessment in English and mathematics.
Getting Ready for Online Assessment” begins by framing the shift to online assessments within the larger framework of a shift to personalized learning. This echoes the core principle behind DLN’s 10 Elements of High Quality Digital Learning and Roadmap for Reform that all students must have equal access to high-quality digital learning opportunities that include both summative and formative digital assessments.
“The PARCC and Smarter Balanced consortia have set minimum technology requirements for assessment implementation,” said Tom Vander Ark, executive editor of Getting Smart, “but without a plan for the accompanying instructional shifts, we’ll miss the once-in-a-generation opportunity to use the assessments as a pivot point for expanding equitable access to technology and creating personalized learning opportunities for all students.”
The paper makes the following 10 primary recommendations to states and districts:

  1. Match teaching & testing environment
  2. Shift to digital instructional materials
  3. Boost access
  4. Build a plan for the greater shift
  5. Support blends
  6. Boost broadband
  7. Invest in teaching training
  8. Learn from other states
  9. Use sample items; and
  10. Use Core-aligned adaptive assessment.

“Preparing for these assessments will require an unprecedented collaborative effort to align instruction to the CCSS, ensure schools have the necessarily technological infrastructure needed to administer the assessments, and prepare for the broader shifts in teaching and learning that must take place,” said Carri Schneider, director of policy and research at Getting Smart.
The 2014-15 implementation of the new tests creates a timeline. With just 21 months, states and districts must act now. Download the full paper “Getting Ready for Online Assessments” and learn more at

Getting Smart Staff

The Getting Smart Staff believes in learning out loud and always being an advocate for things that we are excited about. As a result, we write a lot. Do you have a story we should cover? Email [email protected]

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