Many educators are hoping that through the Common Core State Standards, teaching and assessment can focus more on problem-solving and the process of getting to an answer. But even those process-oriented skills will be assessed with a standardized test. The benefits of the harder-to-quantify skills aren't easily disentangled from academic achievement scores, making it hard to prove through tests that alternative teaching and learning styles can achieve measurable outcomes.
A new wave of e-textbooks is giving students more than just words and a few hotlinks on a digital page. Publishers over the last few years have been adding video, interactive maps and gamified quizzes designed to engage students more deeply in their learning.