Educators in Sioux Falls, N.D. are getting mixed messages regarding the type of computers that students can use to take new online assessments under the Common Core State Standards.
State officials say new Google-support Chromebook laptops and iPads are not approved to take the online tests in 2014.
When South Dakota students take the Dakota STEP tests online next year for the first time, those in the Sioux Falls School District will not be allowed to use their new Chromebooks.
The school district plans to spend $4.4 million next year buying 17,500 of the Google-supported laptops — one for almost every student in grades 3-12. The purchase is motivated, in part, by the state’s transition to online standardized tests, starting in 2014.
But the Department of Education told schools a month ago that Chromebooks and iPads are not among the devices approved for 2014, the final year of the Dakota STEP.
Smarter Balanced, the consortium writing new tests for 2015 and beyond, has assured schools that those devices will be allowed.
DeeAnn Konrad, spokeswoman for the Sioux Falls district, said they are getting ?mixed messages” from the state about their plans for the 2014 tests.
“We were focusing on 2015 and Smarter Balanced. The 1:1 initiative is really about increasing student achievement, student engagement and personalized learning. The whole state testing is really a sidebar,” she said by email.
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