Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Knowing Our Students Well: Technology and Testing

Students in our grade 4/5
class taking the very first MAP test. 
“What do you do with the computers?”

I’m often asked by new families about the role of technology in education at LCES. We are blessed with a compliment of computers, projectors, Chromebooks, a few tablets, and the stability of well-managed collective IT system that is reliable. What we do have, we aim use well, and with purpose. We want our students to be well prepared, both with technical know-how, but also with a mind prepared for the discernment that technology frontiers seem to present in a unique way. Technology isn’t the answer for everything (scissors and glue will always be a part of education here), but where technology can offer us something that we wouldn’t otherwise be able to do, we especially take hold of the God-created potential in it. 

A living example of this is taking place this week at LCES. The Measure of Academic Progress is a very unique tool that the educators at LCES are very excited about.  I watched with great interest as an entire class was taking a test on math knowledge and skill application. Each student was answering unique questions prepared for them, and based on their answers being correct/incorrect, received the next question uniquely matched for where their learning is at. This means every student gets a unique test, very accurately tailored to where the student is working at in terms of ability. The focus is on what they do know, rather than what they don’t. The outcome after tests on math, reading, and language is that school staff will have an understanding of student learning in a measurable, specific way at both the class-wide and student-specific level.

This is something we couldn’t in the same way without technology. The test results will not fully define a learner, since there are many aspects of their God-given identity it doesn’t measure. Inter-personal, athletic, leadership, or creative skills are not covered. Growth in the life of faith, graciousness, and are not gauged. It will be one of many tools we use to know our student well, and make excellent learning happen for our students. We see great potential in its addition to our school.
Technology, in its proper place, is a vital part of what we do each day as we look to know our students well. May God bless us with the wisdom and courage to see its potential and its limits.