Hawaii schools go high tech with testing - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Hawaii schools go high tech with testing

Kayla Carvalho Kayla Carvalho
Sandy Cramer Sandy Cramer
Kent Hinton Kent Hinton
Shawn Fujii Shawn Fujii
Kaimuki Intermediate students at their computers Kaimuki Intermediate students at their computers

By Teri Okita – bio | email

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Pack away the pencil and paper. They're a thing of the past. When it comes to taking the annual HSAs, or Hawaii state assessment tests, for the first time ever, it's now all on-line.

Times up! Pencils down! Remember how testing "used" to be? That was then, this is now. With high-tech testing, students answer questions on-line, instead on paper.

Kaimuki Intermediate 7th grader, Kayla Carvahlo says, "It's really much better because you know how our hands get really sore when we use pencils and just bubbling it in."

Kayla's talking about the old scantron tests. She's one of 93 thousand public school students, statewide, in grades three through eight, plus tenth grade, who are required to take annual assessment tests in reading, math, and for eighth graders, science. It's federally mandated through the No Child Left Behind act. Students here at Kaimuki Intermediate have given high marks to the new, on-line system.

"They seem a little more focused and engaged in the actual assessment," says test coordinator, Sandy Cramer.

Over a three year period, the Department of Education expects to cut the cost of testing almost in half - from 11 million dollars down to six million. No more testing supplies to order.

With the paper and pencil method, test results would sometimes take four to six weeks to come back. Not now.

"When the students take the test now, as soon as they submit the test for scoring, they have results," says Kent Hinton, the DOE's Student Assessment Section Administrator. "So, within the blinking of an eye, you're going to have those results."

Because a computer generates the questions, no two tests are alike - which cuts down on cheating. Students can also start and stop a test at their pace - which alleviates some of the pressure on students.

7th grader Shawn Fujii says, "I think it's a good idea because kids these days go on computers a lot, so they might know a lot about computers, so it might be easier for them."

The biggest challenge has been for administrators and teachers – who have to deal with all those logistics that go into launching a new program. At this point, they think they've got the kinks worked out. And they're already ahead of the learning curve - Hawaii is one of only five states to test, statewide, on-line.

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