Student’s assessment is one facet of education that has been revolutionized by technology. Teachers, administrators, and educational bodies are now thanks to optical scanners able to test and analysis unlimited numbers of students in a short period of time. Education has embraced this technology and it has resulted in the use of standardized tests over the last forty- years. As technology advances education is now no longer satisfied with the student assessment optical scanners and standardized test provide. The current movement is now one away from tests towards more complicated, holistic methods of evaluation. According to Geoffry Fletcher, editor- in chief of T.H.E. Journal alternatives for student assessment should be developed with a holism approach using technology to communicate results to the stakeholders, and with the long- term educational goals of the institution in mind. There a number of different methods being experimented with in America today. They include data warehouses storing storing all the work a student does from kindergarten to twelfth grade, hoping to give a complete picture of the student’s academic ability. Research has shown that computers are now able to grade long open- ended questions with the same if not better accuracy as humans. Electronic portfolios created with authoring tools can allow students to express their academic capabilities and achievements in a manner that can be communicated anywhere at any time. The possibilities really are unlimited and the movement away from standardized tested with optical scans will soon go the way of the ditto machine.
The question that must be asked is “ Does these new methods of assessment foster students learning?” The answer is an emphatic yes. As we all know tests are a one- dimensional necessary evil of measure student comprehension of content material. Technology has a remarkable ability to engage students, therefore varying the ways in which students use technology should have the same effect. Often students who are poor test takers become disengage with learning because they have not experienced success in the classroom. By building and electronic portfolio of their artwork with hypermedia or a power point of how to operate a table saw, those students who falter on tests may become reconnected with the value of learning.
This well organized, well written article adds to the picture of where education is moving due to the impact technology has had. Article after article has illustrated that the technology will make education for students far more interesting and colorful. Mr. Fletcher echoes that schools approach to technology must be long- term. Research must be conduct as we refine the use of all technology on student assessment.
Fletcher, G. (April, 2004). Technology’s role in accountability and assessment. T.H.E. Journal article number 16695.