Boise State University

Project Description

Computer Use and Online Testing

Project Abstract

What are the critical issues concerning the impact of computer-based assessments on children with different experiences, interests, and backgrounds?

Study and Design

Improving student achievement is the bottom line for schools across the country regardless of beliefs or attitudes about No Child Left Behind, high-stakes tests, and politics. I wonder about the impact with kids and learning at the classroom level when student achievement is determined by an online high-stakes test. What model of professional development is most effective so teachers know and understand the concepts and skills kids need in order to be successful? The model of �expert� driven professional development is no longer filling the need for change with classroom instruction (Jossey-Bass, 2001). Collaboration among professional study groups must take place to reform instructional practice (Little, 1987; Fullan, 1991). Along the same path of inquiry are schools with records of maintaining annual yearly progress (AYP) despite the lack of professional study groups, team planning, or collaboration of classroom practice. Is the focus of school reform on program implementation or student need, learning style, and professional development? While these questions are essential toward evaluating the big picture of school improvement, this study engages these concepts to a more narrow focus�a question of fairness and equity in the administration of high stake, online tests to students.

How are teachers engaged with understanding the requirements of online testing so they adequately prepare students? What relationship exists between students with extended computer access and students without extended computer access? What relationship exists with subgroup populations such as special education, LEP, low SES students? How does the difference in access and utilization impact student performance with online tests? Is there an unfair advantage for students with more access than students with less access? What can schools do to prepare students for online testing so test results reflect what students know and can do instead of how well students manipulate keyboards or comfortably read/respond to the vertical reading environment.

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