Steps Your District Should Be Taking To Prepare Your Technology and Infrastructure For Common Core State Standards Online Assessments
It’s time for the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) to be in the news again. Any subject that touches so many people is bound to get emotions flowing, but a topic that also affects how we educate our children…. you know that’s going to be hot! I’ll leave a discussion of the pros and cons of the standards themselves for another blog, but let’s look at how school districts can prepare for the on-line assessments that accompany the standards.
The transition to CCSS on-line assessments will start during the 2014-2015 school year, so now is the time to get ready. For many districts, this represents the first major step into the world of large-scale online testing, where hundreds or even thousands of students will simultaneously use PCs and tablets to access tests served across the Internet. Will the school network and pipe to the Internet support this? Our survey shows that 73% of school districts are not yet very confident that their network infrastructure can support the capacity needs of the CCSS online assessments, and 67% are not confident that their infrastructure can support the security needs of the assessments.
Luckily, there are a number of easy-to-use tools that can help prepare for the transition to large-scale on-line testing. One new tool determines if your Internet connection has sufficient capacity for the number of students that will need simultaneous access to the tests. Simply visit this url from a PC in your school to analyze your network bandwidth and also check if your system is using an approved browser and operating system. The URL triggers a Java-based program that will give you a quick report on your school’s upload speed, download speed, and your network testing capacity in terms of how many students can be tested simultaneously.
If you’d like a thorough walk through of the technology requirements for Common Core online assessment, take a look at our free webinar with Susan Van Gundy, the associate director for assessment technology at Achieve / PARCC. The content is equally applicable to PARCC, Smarter Balanced, and independent states. During the webinar, Pierre Dehombreux, the director of ITS at Whiteriver USD, explains how his school district has been preparing.
Extreme Networks can help to make sure your infrastructure is ready for online assessment. We are offering free services to assist you
through the technology readiness checklists. We can also connect you with districts like Chelmsford Public Schools, who are already well into the readiness process. Please visit our Common Core State Standards assessment resource page to learn more about our tools and services.