A report in California suggests that to connect up to 60 students could cost as much as $2 million dollars per student. Since it is so expensive to connect these students, then perhaps we should not require any student in California to take the test.
In California we have adopted the Common Core Standards and is part of the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC). In the past week, the state legislative analysts office (LAO), a non-political entity, issued a report to the state legislature and Governor suggesting that to have every student connected in California in order to take the computer based test could cost $2 million dollars per student (Mentioned within this entire report). Apparently there are 64 schools that do not have the right Internet bandwidth to administer the test based on trials last year. However, some of them were able to administer the test if they shut down the Internet only for testing during the testing period, which leaves 9 schools which serve 60 students that were not able to administer the computer / Internet based test. The LAO report suggests that these students could take the paper version of the test or that they could take the test one student at a time and even SBAC officials stated, “Smarter Balanced officials estimate that about 50 elementary-age students could be tested in the 12-week testing period if they were tested one at a time.”
Now, let’s step back a minute and imagine that 20 of those students are in one classroom and each one of them takes the test individually. Depending on the grade level, that would have to be some type of rotation into the one room with one computer and each student might take 3 days with one individual person to administer the test. What would the rest of the students be doing? Imagine a 12-week computer station rotation model built into the normal school day.
Now let’s imagine back to the early days of testing or even teaching. Can’t you just hear these words echoing in hallways of school buildings in history?
- Every student does not have a pencil, so we can’t do the math problems today
- Every student does not have a pen, so we can’t practice our cursive writing today
- Every student does not have a textbook, so we can’t teach history today
- Every student does not have a computer, so we should not teach with technology
- Every student cannot connect to the Internet, so we should not teach students to go online
- Every student cannot afford a hand held device, so we should not use them for learning
- Every student cannot take the computer based test, so we should not administer the test
Surely (and especially in California), there must be a solution to connect these 60 students that costs less than $2 million per student.
And the reason we should connect every student in California should not be because of a test, but because it is an equity issue so that every student (and teacher) has access to incredible educational resources outside of the classroom.