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In England, a plan to swap written exams with computer tests

President Obama’s Department of Education has vowed to invest federal money in building better tests, but the dollars may be held up until the country can hash out some “common standards.” The new Board of Regents chancellor, Merryl Tisch, is also zeroing in on state tests, but it’s not yet clear exactly how that will happen.

Meanwhile, in England, they’re off and running. Computerized assessments staggered throughout the year will replace written end-of-course exams within the next 15 years, a senior testing official, Simon Lebus, told The Guardian over the weekend:

Exam boards are investing millions of pounds in developing the technology – and, Lebus claimed, it’s not “science fiction”.

He said: “The likelihood is that in the next 10 to 15 years it will change almost out of recognition in that by the end of that period of time you’ll be able to do exams more or less on demand, on screen.

“You can make the learning more valid and the technology can enhance the way people engage in the subject. It’s very expensive, complex stuff to do. But it is achievable. It’s not a vision based on a sort of science-fiction type fantasy.”

This Education Sector report, “Beyond the Bubble,” explains how technology can innovate testing.

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