Increasingly, states are moving towards computer technology to administer student assessments.
Mode of Assessment Administration and State Guidance on Time, Grade 5 Math Assessments, 2017-18
Out of the 41 states who provided information about their modes of test administration, in elementary and middle grades math, three states administered grades 3-8 math assessments by only paper/pencil mode. Fourteen states reported computer-based assessment administration, and 13 states provided computer-based assessment with the option of paper/pencil. Computer-adaptive systems of testing that adjust the items a student sees according to their performance were used in 4 states in 2017-18, with another 7 states using computer-adaptive assessments with performance tasks.
Guidance provided by states on the amount of time districts should allow for testing in math grades 3-8 varied by state from one hour/60 minutes to four hours/240 minutes. The states working with Smarter Balanced consortium provided guidance of 150 to 180 minutes for math assessment. Four states reported that the assessments are not timed.
Mode of Assessment Administration and State Guidance on Time, Grade 5 Science Assessments, 2017-18
In elementary and middle grades science, seven states used paper/pencil testing, and nine administered via computers or the option of paper/pencil. A total of 24 states administered science assessments only through computer, and one state used computer plus a performance task. Two of these states used computer adaptive tests.
Guidance provided by states on the amount of time districts should allow for testing in science grades 3-8 varied by state from 45 minutes to 240 minutes, with the majority of states providing time guidance from 60 to 120 minutes. In eight states, science assessments at grades 3-8 are not timed.
Policy on Use of Calculators on Math Assessments
State policies vary widely on the extent to which calculators are allowed for use in mathematics assessments. The results of reporting on calculator use in math assessment show that most states do not allow calculators to be used in the elementary assessments, while other states allow calculators on a portion of the assessments. At the middle level, a majority of states allow calculator use on 40 to 60 percent of the items. In high school math assessments, about half the reporting states allow calculators on the entire math assessment, and the remaining states allow calculators on at least 40 percent of the state assessment.
State Policy on use of Calculators on Math Assessments: Percent of Items Allowed