This is a thought piece discussing what I think would be the advantages of switching state exams to a fully online system.
Content warnings: Discussion of exams and terrible understanding of how anything works (yet I’m trying anyways).
I hate standardized tests but I gotta say it would make a lot more sense to have students take digital exams than paper ones.
I mean, at least with multiple choice portions. With all the information and scores archived digitally there’s little room for error in grading and calculating. The curve would be fairly reliable since the database would be able to compare a current years curve to the previous years with little effort.
Plus it could track across grade levels as well. Let’s say someone is in 9th grade and their year has a grade average of… 85%. When they take the 10th grade exams next year it could be reliably guesses that they will average a grade of 80-90% based on the previous years performance.
Then that could be compared to the 10th graders from the previous year (when this class was 9th grade).
So our new 10th graders averaged 75% on their, let’s say more specifically, Math exam. This turns out to be better than last years 10th grade kids, who averages 70%, bWut it was worse then their average as 9th graders which was 85%.
So the people in charge decide maybe they should tweak the exam. A chronic problem with the Regents exam (and I think it applies to others too) is that the people who design the tests do so very poorly. There’s been numerous examples of questions that cause grades to tank dramatically because almost everybody gets them wrong.
I don’t think it’s a stretch of the imagination to think there could be a program that automatically generate Regents exams based on previous exams and exam scores. A new Regents exam could be generated using past ones where people had decent scores. If necessary a team of humans could double check the work done by the machine.
Though it would take some trial and error finding the “perfect” state exam. If one uses the highest average years it’s likely the machine will continuously formulate easier and easier exams. But obviously taking the years that had the lowest scores would produce harder and harder exams.
I’m not entirely sure how it would all work frankly. But my instinct tells me it’s a decent enough idea. Certainly better than the mess we have now.
Of course what I’d really like to see is getting rid of state exams all together, because honestly, eff them.