Tech gets upgraded at Los Banos schools

cpride@losbanosenterprise.comJuly 10, 2013 

— The Los Banos Unified School District is about half way to having the technology needed for computer adaptive testing, which will be mandatory in California in the 2014-15 school year.

"We started in June and at this point we're done or currently under way with the projects," Superintendent Steve Tietjen said.

The district received a $273,000 grant to upgrade the infrastructure at Lorena Falasco and Miano Elementary schools. Those schools, along with Westside Union, R.M. Miano, Henry Miller and Lorena Falasco Elementary schools, will have the wireless capacity to allow hundreds of students to take computer adaptive tests simultaneously.

Other schools — except Pacheco High, which opened in 2010 with the latest technology at the time — will receive wireless connections before the end of next summer.

Tietjen said the recently passed state budget will allow the district to make the improvements.

"(The schools) will not qualify for grants. The governor has $1.25 billion statewide for common core training, technology and instructional materials," Tietjen said.

In 2010, California became one of 45 states poised to implement common core state standards, which encourages critical thinking over memorization, embraces collaboration and integrates technology.

The switch to common core is scheduled in the 2014-15 school year.

Common core aims to unify educational experiences across the nation, so comparisons in education level can be made more accurately through computer adaptive testing. The goal is to prepare students for the real world.

Aside from blending disciplines such as English, math and science, computer adaptive testing will give students questions that become more difficult as they are answered correctly and easier as they're answered incorrectly. The process is designed to immediately let teachers know if a student is learning at grade level.

One such sample test question is as follows: Five swimmers compete in the 50-meter race. The finish time for each swimmer is (23.42; 23.18; 23.21; 23.35; and 23.24). Explain how the results of the race would change if the race used a clock that rounded to the nearest tenth.

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