By Kathryn Baron
They can send two-thumbed text messages at the speed of light; deploy an infantry of firebats to quash a Zergling attack against the Terran species in StarCraft while doing their algebra homework; and take, edit and post a photo on Facebook while skateboarding. Yet, even with this seemingly innate technical aptitude, many students will be stymied when they sit down to take the computer-based field test aligned to the Common Core standards starting this month.
“It’s a quantum leap going from a multiple-choice paper test to an open-ended computer test. We’re now testing something in a format that most students aren’t used to,” said Joel Hampton, superintendent of Owens Valley Unified School District in Inyo County. The test, aligned to the Common Core State Standards in math and English, replaces the pencil-and-paper bubble test for students in grades 3 through 8 and 11; the test was developed by the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium, a states-led group developing the most effective way to test students in the new standards.