Friday, May 20, 2011

The Standardized Testing Advantage: Spectrum's Flex Insight

Leaders of the nation's largest teachers union, the National Education Association, recently issued a policy statement endorsing standardized testing. While NEA leadership doesn’t want standardized testing to be the sole indicator of a teacher’s ability, this statement represents a significant shift in the NEA’s philosophy of excluding such tests for teacher evaluation.

Education reformers say that the tests help provide accountability, but opposition states that placing high importance on periodic testing creates stressful environments for both students and teachers. Although the NEA union still has to vote the statement into an official platform, it appears the tide is changing for standardized testing. Could the inclusion of standardized testing change the makeup of our classrooms of the future? It very well could be, and Spectrum Industries has experience in working with customers on a solution for effective standardized testing.Many school districts across the country have taken a proactive stance on standardized testing while many others are apprehensive of the possible stressful environment that critics say it creates. Hillsborough County Public Schools in Florida is one such entity to have already invested in a “High Stakes” standardized testing system. In each of the district’s 220 schools, there is at least one classroom that is set up for computer-based testing. Spectrum designed an advanced workstation that seamlessly transitioned from lecture classroom to computer lab for an advantageous environment in computer-based testing. This workstation eventually became the basis for the Flex Insight desk.

How can the Flex Insight increase the effectiveness of computer-based testing?

Moving students to a computer lab for such testing removes them from their typical test-taking environment – out of their comfort zone. Teachers can attempt to properly instruct the students on the best approach to taking the test, but with monitors sitting in front of them, students simply don’t absorb such instruction well. And when test time comes, students are ill-prepared to perform to their highest capabilities. Especially when testing is in the High Stakes category, students and teachers cannot afford to have an environment that lends itself to test anxiety.

The solution? With monitor, keyboard, and mouse tucked inside the desk, the Flex Insight provides a classic classroom environment and even has 19” of available space for taking notes. In this Flex Insight configuration, teachers can instruct students on the test they are about to take without interference from technology. When it is time for testing, a monitor easily rises with a built-in assist system. And when the test is completed, all computer accessories easily descend back into the desk.Regardless of personal stance, standardized computer testing is building momentum and test results will have significant impact on students, teachers, and schools. In this environment, the Flex Insight will be an essential tool for computer testing systems. And since the Flex Insight is designed with value pricing as a priority, its potential to classrooms of the future is huge.

References
http://www.nea.org/home/44111.htm
http://news.yahoo.com/s/yblog_thelookout/20110512/us_yblog_thelookout/after-endorsing-obama-teachers-union-says-yes-to-test-based-evaluations#mwpphu-container
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