All NJ School Districts Soon Face Online Test Requirement [AUDIO]
All New Jersey public school students, in grades three through 11, will soon be taking their annual math and language arts common core tests online.
The state Department of Education has announced the exams will only be given online starting in the 2014-2015 school year.
"The bar that we're aiming for is that every school should be incorporating educational technologies in their classrooms to the extent that it's appropriate," says Bari Erlichson, Assistant Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Education.
She says New Jersey has joined the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, which is a coalition of 22 states that are working together to design updated math and language arts common core tests for students.
"The larger goal of moving to online testing is to make sure Jersey kids know how to use computers - because that's the way the world works now."
Erlichson points out doing more work on computers will enhance how kids learn, and make it quicker and easier to grade tests as well.
"Technology moves us forward to being a better and more accurate assessment of what students know and are able to do."
While many Garden State schools are already having their students use computers, some are not, and Erlichson says districts are being encouraged to look at their budgets and their procurement cycles, so they can plan to buy more desktops and tablets in the coming years.
"That's the world that we're moving to," she says. "Very few of us, as adults today, experience long-form writing on a legal pad."
Erlichson says when the online testing begins, student will have to have some traditional keyboarding skills, and they'll need to understand how to use a mouse.
"More and more classroom work and instruction involves the use of computers," she says. "And so, we'd like to have our testing environments look more like the way we instruct going forward."