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Schools will have option of giving state assessment tests by computer

Who needs yellow No. 2 pencils?

School districts across New York will have the option this spring of administering the state assessment tests using either the traditional method - paper and pencil - or by computer, laptop or tablet.

It’s the first time the state has offered the option to school districts.

In fact, schools that choose computer-based testing in 2017 will have an extended six-day window to administer the assessments in English language arts and math for grades 3 through 8, the state Education Department said Monday.

The extra time will ensure districts that have a limited number of devices will be able to use them to test multiple grade levels.

“We have put in place a long-term process to move from paper-and-pencil testing to computer-based testing, making sure that districts have time to gather every tool they need, from infrastructure to technology, along the way,” said MaryEllen Elia, state Education Commissioner.

School districts last year were encouraged to take part in field tests - which don't count toward student-performance scores - to help determine whether they had the necessary devices and infrastructure to participate in computer-based testing.

Roughly 800 schools and 60,000 students participated in the field testing last spring.

To ensure that schools are ready to administer the tests by computer this spring, the state Education Department will conduct regional training sessions in January and host a series of webinars.

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