The TAKS test is replacing the old paper and pencil with computers. The test is moving online.
Students at Canyon High School took the online version today for the very first time. Aside from the obvious fact that this test doesn't require a pencil and a test booklet, students will have shorter test times. One of the reasons is test takers spend less time filling out personal info.
Instead, they will be given a secure log in and test code with their personal information already on it. Also, there's no more bubbling in answers. Now students will use online tools that are much more user friendly.
"We've been working with the students for three of four weeks on going through the tutorials of test nav, so they can mark out answers, they can highlight, they can underline, there's pop-ups. All the things in a regular testing it's just on the computer," said Canyon High Testing Coordinator Robin Terry. Schools say another benefit to taking the test online is that it's scored a lot faster by the computer.
Parents of the students taking the online TAKS test have security concerns. To protect your child's identity, all personal information is encrypted and secured by an outside company who are the testing contractors with the state.
"Really you have less security issues because you don't have to worry about test booklets laying around, keeping them locked up, worrying about shipping them back losing test booklets that type of thing," said Canyon Independent School District's Director of Support Services Melissa Shaver. Plus schools say they don't have test takers personal information in a box somewhere, it's all in a data file in Austin.
Shaver also says they have added security to prevent students from cheating.
"They can't see the computer screen next to them. There's a different test booklets. They get different form numbers just like they would if it was a paper test so the students that are testing side by side are not looking at the same test question at the same time."