NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

The Bigger Test

November 6, 2012

Technology has changed and shaped the world in recent decades. In education, classrooms have begun to incorporate technology in the form of online classrooms or online lessons in which a student can watch a lecture from thousands of miles away via video conferencing, says Chester E. Finn, Jr., a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution and chairman of the Koret Task Force on K-12 Education.

But technology in the classroom should not be restricted to online learning. Instead, the five major challenges to K-12 reform can be solved, at least to some degree, with the use of technology.

  • Assessments: Old-fashioned assessments are slow and don't provide useful information when you need it. Instead, computer-adaptive assessments that score open-response questions could be quicker.
  • Teacher evaluations: Rather than judging teachers on the basis of one end-of-year test, schools could utilize technology to record, retrieve and analyze monthly, and even weekly, progress that a student is making.
  • Weighted student funding (WSF): WSF entails constantly changing formulas for allocating money, building budgets and integration of money from multiple sources. Technology can simplify the management of money and make budgeting simpler.
  • High-quality choices for every child: Technology can give students and their parents access to good information on making school choices if they have to make difficult decisions such as moving, changing schools or dropping out to work.
  • Parent engagement: Parents can use the internet to access how their children are doing in school, and maintain a correspondence with teachers and counselors in an effort to keep the parents more involved.

Source: Chester E. Finn, Jr., "The Bigger Test," Hoover Institution, October 26, 2012.


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