Schools today are facing a number of significant changes—some imposed from the outside and not all of them welcomed with open arms by teachers. Introducing something new at your school will often come with some pushback, but introducing it in the right way can make a difference in how your faculty and staff respond.
Bergen High School recently implemented computer-based testing at their school via a well-planned rollout that managed to get the program up and running in just three months. While teachers and students (somewhat predictably) had mixed opinions about computer-based testing in their school, the response has been largely positive and the results promising.
Bergen High School’s Tech Initiative
The decision to try ExamSoft came in the midst of a larger conversion to introduce more technology into the school’s classrooms. Bergen had been a 1:1 school for some time, having used tablets all the way back in 2002, and had recently become a 2:1 school using Apple products—every student has a laptop and an iPad.
In his recent webinar outlining the process used to introduce computer-based testing at Bergen, Albert Spiegel describes an aha moment he had when a colleague asked, “Are we a laptop school or a school that uses laptops?” He realized that having the technology available means far less than how you use it. And this realization helped drive the school’s decision to adopt ExamSoft, enabling d them to move all their testing onto the devices they were already using and to do a better job of tracking student assessment data.
Paper to Computer-Based Testing in Three Months
You can get more details on the full process Bergen used to introduce ExamSoft by listening to Spiegel’s recent webinar. Here we offer a summary of the main steps they took to make the adoption of the new technology natural and easy for all involved.
1. First Adopters Training
Before rolling out the technology to everyone at the school, they trained two teachers in each department in how to use it. That way, every department in the school had two “experts” that everyone trusted and could turn to as they were learning the program themselves.
2. Initial Teacher Testing
With those helpful first adopters in place, Bergen set up a student account for each teacher so they could experience what using the software would be like for students. They gave the teachers a practice test that the school had created in advance, and then asked the teachers to make their own simple practice test with ExamSoft and take it as a student would.
3. Student Practice Test
Now that teachers had experienced all sides of the program, it was time to introduce the students. Teachers created a simple practice test n ExamSoft and administered it to their classes—all the while emphasizing that there were no stakes. Students became familiar with the product before they had to worry about its use having any effect on their grades. Classes took the practice tests together and went over any questions or issues as a group.
4. Collaborative Learning
Teachers observed one another administering tests. They were encouraged to discuss their experiences using ExamSoft and to learn from one another.
5. Proactive Help
The school’s staff checked in with teachers proactively to find out how everything was going. This gave teachers the chance to communicate problems so the staff had a chance to address any issues early on.
With this process and in three months, the Bergen administration managed to bring the whole school on board with using ExamSoft and overcame the initial objections teachers expressed. And their students now get to enjoy the benefits of computer-based testing and head off to college a little more prepared.