Podcast: Online Testing for NJ Schools – Is It Worth It? Will It Work?

NJ Spotlight’s education writer discusses impact of tougher new standards and test requirements on students and taxpayers

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Online testing is coming soon to New Jersey’s schools, but questions remain about its value and its costs.

NJ Spotlight’s John Mooney spoke with WHYY Public Radio’s NewsWorks Tonight about the advent of the new school testing in 2014-15 and what it will mean for New Jersey’s schoolchildren — and its taxpayers.

The discussion comes as the developer of the exams last week put a price estimate on the new testing that isn’t much more than what New Jersey spends now, and the Christie administration continues to press ahead with the changes that will be required in schools.

But there are plenty of challenges and uncertainties, especially related to the technology that will be required for students to take their tests on computers. Last year, barely half of New Jersey’s schools said in a state survey that they were technologically prepared for the testing.

The new testing coincides with the phase-in of the new national Common Core State Standards, a new set of curriculum requirements that advocates say will be significantly more rigorous than current ones.

Will students be up to the task? Will the teachers? .