Last updated: 26.04.16

Online tests highlight the need for e-learning

Students who participated in online testing had a lower average score than those who took the equivalent pencil and paper version of the 2014-15 PARCC (Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers) online test. 

PARC believes that this comparison demonstrates the importance of digital literacy in ensuring student success, claiming that it was the students’ lack of familiarity with the online format which contributed to them scoring less.

Digital literacy plays a key role in online testing outcomes, and students need exposure to using Chromebooks and other digital devices for more than just online exams, according to Dennis Pierce for Insights.

Online exams require students to have functional literacy with computing devices. For example, screen switching, opening drop-down menus and highlighting words are all things that students need to become accustomed to.

By using technology in their day-to-day classroom experience, students will be able to build these crucial digital literacy skills.

However, according to a recent survey by the Consortium for School Networking (CoSN), 18 months before the first online Common Core exams were given, the majority of school districts claimed that they could not meet the device and infrastructure standards required for online assessment.

Tom Ryan, chief executive of the eLearn Institute told Insights that this shows that students and teachers did not have daily access to digital instructional tools in their classrooms to support standards-based instruction.

“Schools that have the most success with online assessment don’t approach it as a one-time event.

“Instead, they embed opportunities for formative assessment into their instruction, so teachers are constantly getting feedback on their students’ performance throughout the school year,” commented Mr Ryan.

Research did, however, find that younger students perform better in online formats, with maths students in years three to five scoring slightly higher on the online version, while older students scored lower.

Virtual College is one of the leading providers of e-learning in the UK. From pre-school through to adult learning, Virtual College offers online learning resources and tools that help with training at each level. For more information, please visit: