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Union kids go high tech for tests

April 4, 2013
By J.T. Whitehouse , Town Crier

Poland Union students are taking part in a pilot program aimed at getting technology, literally, in the hands of students. They will be studying for the upcoming achievement assessments using an Student Response System under a program called Triton. The hand-held devices offer instant feedback when it comes to student performance.

The pilot program and devices are provided through a partnership with Turning Technologies, a company from the Youngstown Business Incubator. This week, Stefanie Schiavone from Turning Technologies visited the school to ensure the staff and students are adjusting to the new kind of testing.

"Pencils and paper are becoming a thing of the past," said Union Principal Mike Masucci. "With Stefanie's help and the Turning Technologies software, we are piloting a program that enables teachers to look at instant score data."

Article Photos

Photo by J.T. Whitehouse, Town Crier
Poland Union fourth-grader Kylie Duby and third-grader Sam Lewis take a practice test using the school’s new Student Response System, being used to prepare students for the state achievement tests.

He said by getting the instant data, teachers can build on student strengths and weaknesses.

The SRS is a device the size of a cell phone. The students get questions and use the keypad to select the answer they think is appropriate. As soon as they press the key on the SRS, their answer is brought up on the teacher's in-room computer monitor. The teacher can actually, and instantly, see the number of students who got the question right.

"Right now, the SRS can only be used to answer multiple choice questions," Masucci said.

He does believe that down the road, perhaps in just a few years, the hand-held devices will be able to have typing capabilities. While the achievement assessments for third- and fourth-graders are still done on paper, Masucci said he believes that in just a few years, the test will be given on devices like the SRS.

"It's the future of testing," Masucci said.

For the immediate school year, the devices are only being used to prepare for the state tests that will take place on April 22. The practice sessions were held on March 26 and 27.



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