Going digital

End of Course exams to be taken on computer


Since all end of course exams are now being taken on computer, the Texas Education Agency offers tutorials and practice tests designed to provide opportunities for students and staff to familiarize themselves with the online testing environment and embedded tools.

Story by Peyton Sims, staff writer

It’s time for students to drop their pen and paper and replace it with a computer. In 2019, the end of course exams will be taken online in more than 15 states across the U.S., including Texas.

“The kids say they like it and they think that it’s easier,” said Charlotte Leon, assistant principal for student advancement. “There’s been a lot of hesitation and the fear of the unknown to start this testing style, but we decided that Texas High was in the right place, so we moved some of those fears and some of those barriers. The test format has tabs to show where and how to access the passages, and it shows the number of the passage and what questions go with what.”

There are many mixed emotions about the transfer from paper to technology, especially considering the students did not have the chance to state their opinion on the change. Some students argue that they need to be able to have a written test, even though during the computer EOC, students are granted a calculator, a pencil, scratch paper, dictionary and thesaurus.

“I don’t like taking it online because I won’t be able to have the paper test in front of my face,” sophomore Mikayla Zverina said. “It stresses me out because I like to use physical books rather than online books. It’s easier for me.”

The school already has the technological resources for every student in our school to be equipped with a Chromebook or desktop computer during testing.

— Peyton Sims

The teachers had to overcome the change as well because a new style of testing means they have to alter their everyday way of teaching. Benchmarks are also going to be given to students on a computer to better prepare them.

“At first I was not onboard because I didn’t know how my students would react,” English teacher Anita Badgett said. “I started playing with the programming in class, and I think that some of the features that are available for all of the students to access will be helpful. Being able to look at the questions and passages side-by-side on the same screen will be very beneficial to everyone.”

TISD’s Chief Operating Officer Brad Bailey and assistant principal for student advancement Charlotte Leon visited TISD director of instructional technology Rusty Ogburn, technology technician Brandon Henderson, system administrator Phillip Watson and technology specialist Ashley Washington to discuss the viability of online testing. They decided that Texas High was ready to commit to this change in testing and continue to test this way in the future.

“A lot of Texas High’s courses are online, so for us to properly prepare you to be ready for upcoming SATs and ACTs and prepare you for college, we thought it was time to move the EOC,” Leon said. “When you go to college, your professors will not give you the choice to take a test on a computer or on paper. We want to be able to prepare our students to be as tech savvy as possible so the next steps aren’t as stressful.”