State school testing to switch to computer only

March 9, 2014 • State News

FARMINGTON, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico students will take pencil to paper for the l[auth] ast time this month for their state standards-based assessment test.

Starting next year, students will take an entirely computer-based standards test, the Daily Times reported ( ).

The traditional New Mexico Standards Based Assessment exam contains questions based on current state standards and the new national Common Core standards, according to educators. The exam is taken by students in grades third through eight, as well as sophomores and juniors.

Next year’s student body will be taking Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers Assessment (PARCC) tests.

Judy Engleheart, the Aztec Municipal School District’s director of instruction, said she is more concerned about the transition to computers. James Preminger, a spokesman for the Central Consolidated School District, said he is worried about issues such as bandwidth and computer availability in the Newcomb and Naschitti area.

The New Mexico Public Education Department has allowed school districts to voluntarily test the computer-based version of this year’s test. Leighann Lenti, the state Public Education Department’s deputy secretary, said 25 percent of schools in the state will test them.

“We thought it would be an early opportunity to help our schools prepare in terms of how the test might look and feel … to help them get ready earlier,” Lenti said. “And we’re happy a quarter of the schools are taking this option.”

Middle- and high-schoolers tested the computer version on Apple laptops. Problems arose from overloaded wireless network access points, school officials said.

Some schools have installed new equipment in preparation for the transition. Also, some are planning to relocate students within school buildings during test times to prevent network overload.

The new computerized exam was created jointly among 24 states and uses the Common Core standards.

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