Home Biz Scoop The future of testing in Mesa Public Schools

The future of testing in Mesa Public Schools

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Taking a geometry test, Truance Pierson uses both his computer and paper for testing on Nov. 18. (Hailie Hardy/Special to MyNewsMesa.com)

Since Mesa Public Schools introduced the 1:1 initiative, teachers and students at Red Mountain High School have begun to rely on online testing.

Testing online saves materials by cutting down on the paper and pencils usually needed for traditional paper tests, is more flexible and gives students more immediate feedback than traditional testing.

“There’s not as many hard copies,” Beginning Computer Maintenance student and sophomore Raylen Bartlett said. “And you have the internet at your disposal to all the students.”

With online testing comes quicker grading for teachers. The computers can grade the material faster than the teachers are able to, they can get the answers back to the students in seconds. This, in return, allows the teachers and students to move faster in their subject areas.

“(The students) get immediate feedback,” AP Computer Science teacher and RMTV director Matt Kelley said. “They are able to go back online and take a look at why they missed the question or how they can work to get that question right the next time.”

However, there is one major disadvantage to testing online, dependence on an internet connection. Without reasonably fast Wi-Fi, nothing online can be done, and it is the biggest problem students and teachers have when it comes to online testing. If the internet is down, then teachers are forced to adjust their lessons for the day.

“What happens when you go to the copy machine room, and it’s broken?” Kelley said. “It’s a rare enough entity where you need to modify instruction. That’s the teacher’s job, to monitor and adjust curriculum on a daily basis.”

The adjustability of online testing is another reason it has become popular with teachers. It’s easier for teachers to change the test or instructions on an online test compared to a paper test where it must be re-printed.

“To be able to look at the data, that’s the biggest benefit of online testing. The second is the speed of it,” geometry teacher Carmen Witting said. “Students are getting feedback a lot faster.”

The future will determine if the benefits outweigh the cons, but for now online testing is here to stay.

– Cebada Boyles is a sophomore at Red Mountain High School in Mesa.

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