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One point of view, taking note of sundry "cool" things that affect-- or could affect-- the education business.

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Friday, June 23, 2006

Texas Gears Up for Online Testing

They won't be first, but they could be the biggest, depending on how many district superintendents, or in some cases building principals, decide to take advantage of new policy in Texas. Beginning in the 2006-07 school year, statewide assessments (TAKS, for Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills) for grades 7 and up will have the option of online delivery. See the story here on the Dallas Morning News site.

While it's new ground broken for Texas, there are several other states for whom online testing has become the norm. Virginia, for example, gives 90% of their statewide assessments online.

Advantages and potential risks are being debated in the Lone Star State, but most of the minefield for online testing has been mapped already. Assuming the Texans can learn from their early-adopter neighbors, the move could lead to an eventual policy of mandated online testing. At the very least, the online option gives schools or districts (depending on who makes the call) the chance at a level playing field and reap the benefits, including near-real-time results. Proponents praise paperless testing as the eventuality for which it is time. State administrators feel that their servers have the bandwidth, or could obtain it, to serve hundreds of thousands of test-takers in 2007.

Cool, huh?

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