Educational Technology

As you all know, students in New Jersey are now required to take technology-based standardized tests (e.g. PARCC*), and additional technology-based assessments are being used by many districts to collect student achievement data throughout the school year. The arguments for doing this are many: a networked, computer-based test can automatically capture and store student responses, it will help students attain technology skills necessary in later life, the data can be automatically posted to a centralized database for aggregation, analysis, and correlation with other data associated with the student, the teacher, the school and the district, and that the use of technology makes it possible to have better accountability and oversight on progress made by each student, in each classroom. (This, of course, is assuming that the technology is reliable, available, accessible and working as expected.) But let’s take a step back for a minute, since it has often been the case throughout human history that the technology tail was used to “wag the dog”, as the saying goes. For example, if the Scantron machine had never been invented, would we even have standardized tests administered to large populations at such frequency? So, in your paper, please think about whether our current use of technology in assessment (particularly something like the PARCC) is a case of the tail wagging the dog (‘if we can digitally capture and manipulate it, then that data must be important’) or if this will in fact lead to systemic improvements in the way we prepare our students for productive futures.  There is no right or wrong, but your opinions should be justified by your experiences in this and other courses, as well as any research you find on the topic of technology-based assessment. The paper should be at least 3 pages, double-spaced, Times New Roman 12pt, with 1-inch margins and citations in APA 6 format.

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