This article is part of a satirical issue of Educational Horizons.
Could something as simple as implementing an electronic assessment system increase rigor, improve students’ behavior, and develop their moral character? See what happened in one district.
School districts across the country are investing millions in electronic assessment systems to improve the quality of public schools. Students in these districts no longer drool over boring paper worksheets. Instead, students play with computers and complete electronic worksheets. One such district is located in Johnson County, Kan.
“We noticed our virtual school enrollment increasing proportionately with our decline in our general ed population,” said Ed Walsh, superintendent of Franklin City Schools. “So, we took our increasingly popular home school program and plopped it smack in the middle of our traditional classrooms. We call it School Schooling, or SS for short.”
In SS, students use computerized adaptive testing (CAT) to assess their academic growth in all of their subjects. Massive amounts of data are produced, which is vital in evaluating teachers.
“I have a rule that my teachers enter at least one grade a week,” said Principal Sue Britton. “But with our School Schooling program, teachers are able to enter two or three grades a day. Some crank out more for good measure, and in my book, that’s good teaching!”
“We have found that our SS program aligns perfectly with the Common Core State Standards,” said Curriculum Director Mike Johnstone. “It promotes rigorous studies, and if you don’t believe me, try sitting in front of a computer screen for six hours completing electronic worksheets. That’s what I call rigor.”
Kelly Thompson is the national CAT academic officer. She flew in from North Carolina to train the Franklin teachers.
“I instructed the staff that if a student starts to tire of a certain subject, let them choose their own topics to assess,” she said. “Less structure equals more rigor. The teachers bought into it.”
The use of the School Schooling program has enhanced other aspects of the district’s overall quality.
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