Thursday, December 3, 2009

Technology can help with Math Benchmark Testing

Even the mention of benchmark testing will bring some math teachers out in a rash, but with the holiday season upon us then benchmark testing is not far behind. Benchmark testing for those who don’t know is a test run about two thirds way through the year and the idea is to benchmark the students to see the standard that has been achieved so far by the school. These benchmark results then go towards grant allocations and school ratings.
The real problem with benchmark testing for parents is that the school needs them to be organised, run and corrected by the teachers but there is no extra funding available for this so pressure is put on the teachers to achieve this for free, in their spare time.
Traditionally benchmark testing is a long and arduous process involving the teacher creating the exam, organising the students to sit the exam, correcting the results and then correlating all the results to give overall benchmark results for the school. There really must be a better way and now thanks to the web and online math helper websites there is. This year the benchmark testing in many schools will be very different. The teachers will have many different options to make the whole process so much easier with the help of online math tutor websites they will get the benchmarking done and get to keep their free time.
These online solutions are also not only for the technophiles too because there will be very simple solutions too that will aid any teacher. I’ll go through each of the possible ways an online resource might speed up the whole process
  • Downloadable Exams - The most basic is to access these sites and download a printable benchmark test which is matched to the textbook you use in class. This can be distributed to the class and the results easily matched against an online answer sheet. This helps the teacher by having the exam already designed and ready for use but the teacher still needs to correct and correlate the results.
  • Download Exam and Upload Results – This is where the teacher can download a printable exam then for each student upload the answers and the websites will correct and collate the answers. An improvement on the last one but still the extra work of uploading the exam answers is a burden the teacher could do without.
  • Online Benchmark Testing – This is the ideal where a teacher picks the benchmark test and allocates it to their class. The class then logon to the website and do the exam. This has huge advantages in that with minimal effort the teacher has accurate collated results but of course this assumes the school has a full computer lab.
In reality I think the move towards a fully online exam is still a little way off but it’s the direction we will inevitably move. Pioneers are trying to achieve this now and new online services are sprouting up which will offer these and even more innovative solutions to the problems of benchmark testing. Let’s hope for all our sakes it just isn’t toofar off.

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