Glendale students surveyed on computerized testing

Across California, more than 3 million students spent 12 weeks sampling the new state computerized exams, and Glendale educators have surveyed their students to gather input on how prepared they were.

School districts will not receive students' test scores this year because it was the first year using the new assessments, but educators are intent on learning how smoothly the transition to the computer-based exams went.

Across Glendale schools, 13,463 students took new exam on Chromebooks or desktop computers.

A total of 1,714 students responded to a survey, and over 50% of the students spanning from elementary to high school said that Chromebooks were easy to use.

What was perhaps more challenging, however, were the questions students were asked. Nearly 50% of high school students said they were not prepared to explain how they came to answer math problems.

Unlike the former multiple-choice exams where students simply chose an answer, the new test asks students to explain their thought process.

At the middle school level, 36% of students said they were not prepared to explain their math answers, compared to just 13% of elementary students.

Overall, students reported they were more prepared to explain their written responses and cite textual evidence in answering language-arts questions.

About 35% of students felt "very prepared" for reading-comprehension questions, compared to 42% in the middle school grades and the 67% who felt the same at the elementary school level.

Among elementary and middle school students, 58% of them felt they "did OK" on the test overall, while 45% of students stated they "did not do so well."

About 32% of elementary students thought they understood the questions being asked, while 31% of middle school students felt the same. While 34% of high school students felt they understood what they were being asked to do on the exam, about 26% of students said they "did not understand."

"There was a little more concern at the high school [level] rather than at the elementary, which is kind of the opposite of what we were thinking was going to occur," said Lynn Marso, assistant superintendent of educational services.

State officials said this week they will develop focus groups to further examine and gauge how school districts coped with the new exams before students take them again in the spring of 2015. At that time, test scores will count.

"Various stakeholders will be included in the surveys and focus groups, including district and county testing and technology coordinators, teachers, parents and students," according to a statement released by state officials on Wednesday. "Results will help determine what additional resources or assistance might be needed to prepare for future online testing."


Follow Kelly Corrigan on Twitter: @kellymcorrigan.


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