2018-05-15 / Academics

Delaware Academy Begins Conversion to Online Testing to Familiarize Students Early

By Rosie Cunningham

Delhi Village Mayor Rich Maxey (left) with Jhone M. Ebert and Delaware Academy Superintendent Jason Thomson. 
Rosie Cunningham/The Reporter Delhi Village Mayor Rich Maxey (left) with Jhone M. Ebert and Delaware Academy Superintendent Jason Thomson. Rosie Cunningham/The Reporter DELHI - On Monday, educators and a Delaware Academy board member met to discuss and provide updates as to what the institution is doing to get the students “online.” Beginning in third grade, elementary students start to work with computers and online testing for students in grades three through -eight has commenced.

Senior Deputy Commissioner for Education Policy of the New York State Education Department Jhone M. Ebert, also visited Delaware Academy Monday. Ebert is an advocate for transitioning schools from paper to online.

According to DA Elementary Principal Julie Mable, it is anticipated that all schools statewide will have to take part. She added that so far, online testing for grades three through eight has gone well.

“I foresee regents going in this direction as well,” said DA Superintendent Jason Thomson, who also discussed how this route will be economically feasible. “It cost the state $1 million to do a paper regents and to think - that regents is given three times a year. That is $3 million for one subject such as science. This doesn’t factor in shipping and all other potential costs.”

Students at DA from third grade through seniors are provided a Google Chromebook computer. Although third grade seems quite young to start students on a laptop, Mable explained it is the future and necessary.

“Familiarizing children young is essential,” she said. “We want to familiarize kids at the kindergarten level and work on keyboard skills beginning in second grade.”

The controversial question being asked, according to Thomson, is whether or not students are being tested on content or their typing skills.

“I encourage the students to write the answer first and then type the answer,” said Mable.

Both Thomson and Mable agreed that when it comes to online testing and working with computers early exposure is key.

“Going forward, they will become more fluent,” said Mable.

DA board member Mark Schneider said he is in favor of early adoption. Schneider has a senior and sixth grader at DA and said he has witnessed both evolve and become more comfortable with devices.

Mable said students utilize the computers for projects and said even though it is on an electronic, the students are still creating and still working hands-on.

“The sixth graders are creating a project for the current fifth grade students,” she said. “They are making three-fold pamphlets regarding what to expect as a sixth grader - I don’t see computerizing the younger generation as a hindrance, I believe it is enhancing their learning.”

“Just in a different media,” said Thomson.

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