Articles and studies about how unprepared high school students are when they reach college are rampant. Only 14% of college professors believe students arrive prepared for the rigor of higher education coursework. Students feel similarly—about 50% feel they weren’t well prepared for the expectations of college.
For teachers and administrators of high schools, those are frustrating statistics. If students aren’t adequately prepared for college, it’s not for lack of trying. You do everything in your power to equip your students with the tools they need to get into the colleges of their choice, excel at their work, and head into life prepared for the journey.
Computer-Based Testing Can Help
ExamSoft has long been a go-to resource for many colleges for administering computer-based testing, implementing embedded assessment, and using assessment data to improve learning outcomes. Even though, so far, ExamSoft has been predominantly used in the higher education space, a few high schools have decided to dip their toes into computer-based testing to take advantage of some of the benefits colleges have been reaping.
Three Benefits of Employing ExamSoft in Your High School
To give you a better sense of the role computer-based testing can play at your high school, here are three of the main benefits of using ExamSoft.
1. It gets students used to computer-based testing.
Many of your students will encounter high-stakes exams that are administered in a computer-based format. In most states, the bar exam is given on ExamSoft. In many cases, licensing exams for teachers, nurses, dentists, and many other professions are also administered in a computer-based format. The more familiar students are with computer-based testing, the more comfortable they’ll be when taking those high-stress tests.
That may sound pretty far off for the average high school student, but some of your students can expect to attend colleges that use ExamSoft. Their familiarity with the technology will put them a bit ahead in terms of college preparation.
2. It offers teachers valuable data on how well students are performing.
A recent report from the National High School Center analyzed what makes high-performing high schools do so well. Among its findings were two factors directly related to embedded assessment: (1) Monitoring: Compilation, Analysis, and Use of Data; and (2) Recognition, Intervention, and Adjustment.
ExamSoft helps automate the former to empower teachers with the knowledge needed for the latter. Every test or assignment given through ExamSoft provides you with an opportunity to tag questions based on the goals you’ve outlined for the larger course and the particular test. Once the test is graded, ExamSoft generates an immediate, easy-to-understand report on how well the class performed in each of the tagged areas as a whole, and how each individual student did as well. That gives teachers an easy way to identify which students need the most attention and help, and what precisely they need help with.
3. It saves time.
How much time do your teachers spend grading? Grading with ExamSoft is quicker and easier than grading a stack of papers. You don’t have as many items to keep up with, you can do it on any computer (or even an iPad), and it’s faster. If some of the time and energy teachers currently spend on grading is opened up for other, more productive tasks, how much could your students benefit from it?
But What About….
We know that bringing a new technology into your high school isn’t as easy as deciding you want it. Some of the concerns or objections you may have can be easily addressed.
Cost – Yes, technology often comes with an upfront cost. Right now, you’re spending a lot of money (maybe more than you think) on ink and paper, printing out assignments and tests, not to mention Scantron forms. ExamSoft can save you many of those costs. If yours is one of the high schools that has already moved into a 1:1 model, then your investment in the devices ExamSoft is used on already takes care of the biggest associated cost.
Tech problems – Tests can be tense enough without being felled by Internet or bandwidth troubles that throw everything off. ExamSoft is designed so that tests are taken entirely offline—your students need Internet access for a few minutes at the beginning of the test to download it and then at the end to upload the completed version. As long as the network works for those few minutes, you shouldn’t have much of an issue.
Teacher training – We get it.Your teachers don’t want to take the time to learn one more thing, even if it’s something that can save them time in the long run. Bergen Catholic High School designed the rollout of ExamSoft in a way that made training easy on teachers and had the school up and running with computer-based testing within three months. It requires a little bit of time, but it doesn’t have to be that difficult.
Incorporating a technology known to improve student learning outcomes can help your teachers and your students, and it can help boost the prestige of your school at the same time. If you think ExamSoft might be worth looking into for your high school, we can walk you through a quick demo and answer any questions you have.