Take The Pain Out Of Testing
How To Use IT To Create The Best Testing Environments
Just like you wouldn’t start preparing your students for assessments a week before, you also need to start planning for the right technology to support your testing months before.
Creating the right testing environment is critical to the overall success of your students. Take the time now to ensure you have the right technology plan. Here are the key areas that you need to cover to ensure that you’re prepared for assessments:
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1. Make Sure Your Network Is Properly Configured
Having a properly configured network is the key to good testing. You want to make sure your network is set up to properly distribute bandwidth.
Just like you’d widen traffic lanes to accommodate more cars, you need to be able to widen the network to allow more bandwidth to handle the added demands that online assessments place on the system.
2. Make Sure You Have The Physical Space For All Students
Just like you need the added bandwidth, make sure you have the physical space to comfortably fit all the students during testing. Know how many students will be testing and what the schedule is for them.
If you’re holding testing in the cafeteria, make sure there’s plenty of room to separate students to prevent distractions, according to an article on study.com. Also consider factors like how much light is available, how close the desks are to outside hallways or walkways in the room.
It’s also important to shut off the PA so that school announcements don’t disturb the students while they’re testing, according to the article.
3. Prevent Digital Distractions
When setting up the computers for assessments, make sure to remove any other unnecessary applications. You want students to just click on the testing applications or enter that URL and begin testing.
The best way to do this is to create a single user login that is only used for testing. The student signs in, which only brings up the testing interface with the single testing application on it.
Any other applications may be tempting, especially if a student is anxious and looking for something else to focus on.
4. Ensure The Students Are Familiar With The Computers
Assessment day is not the day to try out new technology. If your students are used to working on a particular type of computer – Chromebooks, for example – make sure that you’re using the same equipment for assessments.
If you know you need a different set up – desktops or different laptops – make sure that the students have several occasions to use the equipment and get familiar with it before testing day. While it may seem small, even a different laptop could distract a student and that lost focus could result in lower scores.
Assessments are a time for your students to shine. They’re able to demonstrate how much they’re learned this year and you don’t want your technology to be an obstacle to that success.
5. Try Out Your Testing Computer Setup
Once you’ve decided on the physical location and type of computers you’ll be using, test out the entire setup a few days in advance. You want to run through all parts of the testing process and ensure no issues crop up.
While it may be tempting to test your computer setup a few weeks in advance, don’t. You don’t want to test too early and then have the settings be accidentally changed before the assessments.
6. Create An Assessment Day Troubleshooting List
Even with the most thorough testing, problems can still occur. So work with the testing coordinator and any IT resources (outsourced or in-house) to list the most common issues that might occur and how to address them.
It’s also good to have IT resources in the testing center to handle any larger issues that happen. Even if they’re just there for the first day, you have the peace of mind knowing they can immediately address any problems.
7. Keep 3-4 Extra Devices On Standby
As an added safety precaution, keep a few extra computers on standby. You never know when you’ll need to swap out a device if it fails during assessments. In addition to student devices, make sure you also have an extra switch on standby in case you have network issues.
8. Create The Right Technology Environment For Testing Success
With some advance planning, a sound IT strategy and some extra devices you can ensure you’re creating the best possible testing environment for your students.
With all technology tested and ready to go, you ensure that there are no obstacles to success for your students as they demonstrate everything they’ve learned this year.
Share Your Experiences:
How do you approach assessments at your school? Do you test your technology setup beforehand? Have you ever had technology issues derail your testing? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
- Assessments are a time for your students to shine
- With a little planning, technology shouldn’t be an obstacle when conducting assessments
- Start by ensuring your network can handle the increased load needed for online assessments
- Make sure the students are familiar with the devices they’ll use for testing
- A few days before assessments, do a dry run to make sure everything works
- Have an IT resource, 3-4 extra devices and an extra switch on hand so any problems can be addressed quickly