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How to secure digital equity in online testing

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Sat will be moving on the Internet for students in the United States beginning in 2024. The Texas State Assessment of Academic Readiness (STAAR) will be administered. fully online next year. Many other states already have fully online tests, and entrance and professional certification exams have also gone online in response to the pandemic.

But as high-stakes exams move to an all-digital format, experts warn that students who aren’t as digitally literate as their peers could be at a disadvantage. As the trend towards fully online testing continues, heads of education should consider how to provide digital capital for students taking these exams.

A study published in 2019 Ben Backes and James Cowen of the nonprofit, nonpartisan American Research Institutes found that students who took the Massachusetts state exam online performed worse, on average, than students of similar ability who took the same test on paper. The difference was less significant for participants in the second test, suggesting that familiarity with the digital format played a key role in the discrepancy.

“There may be systematic differences in students’ comfort level with (computer-based tests) based on their access to computers at home and at school,” the researchers wrote.

The differences were quite noticeable, with about five months of mathematics and 11 months – more than a full academic year – of English. Students from low-income families, students with disabilities, and English language learners have been disproportionately affected.

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