In 2015, 45 US States will implement the Common Core State Standards. This standardized testing initiative is designed to outline what all students from grades three through eight must know at the end of each school year to adequately prepare for their futures. What’s different about Common Core in comparison to other standardized tests is that all assessments will be issued and completed online, something a disproportionate amount of American schools are not equipped to handle.
Today, only 28% of schools have sufficient infrastructure in place to support digital learning. This leaves approximately 40 million students without reliable access to the online learning and collaboration applications they need to grow and develop their digital skillsets.
Data from Education Superhighway says that today, America’s schools need 100 megabits per second (Mbps) of Internet access to support the influx of devices, applications, and network activity. By 2017, this need will grow to 1 gigabit per second (Gbps) to support widespread blended learning, 1:1 and BYOD programs, and additional reliance on streaming video, online collaboration, and other interactive learning tools.
President Obama has made it clear that his vision is to provide 99% of America’s students with the high-speed broadband they need within five years. But with Common Core coming next spring, and beta testing beginning this March, what can be done now to ensure every school has enough resources to support important standardized online testing initiatives?
Assess Your Network’s Readiness For Online Testing
Make a list of the top 10 applications your school depends on. This list will likely include your school’s learning management system and critical administrative applications. Use real time network monitoring tools to investigate the traffic on your network and identify which applications are currently in use. Segment applications into groups based on the priorities of your school’s learning and administrative needs.
Control Recreational Traffic
Limit the amount of social traffic from Facebook, YouTube and online gaming applications during critical testing periods. Depending on your school’s network capacity, you may want to restrict access to these applications altogether during testing periods, or simply set a policy that allows these applications to continue to run, but not at the expense of your testing application’s performance.
Ensure Resources For Online Testing Applications
Create a policy to allocate enough bandwidth to your online testing platform so it always performs reliable. The last thing you want is for screens to freeze, tests to timeout, or the entire network to crash when many students begin writing at the same time. Your students need to get through Common Core testing as quickly and as efficiently as possible, and providing them with a predictable user experience is key to achieving this.