In the next couple of years, most public school students will be expected to be taking tests online, instead of using pencil and paper, because of their states’ adoption of the Common Core State Standards. But in this time of tight budgets, many school districts are wondering how they will pay for improvements they may need to make to their technological infrastructure to test large numbers of students online under the common-core initiative by the 2014-15 school year.
Some districts may reallocate sizable amounts of money used for textbook purchases to pay for technology improvements, says Geoff Fletcher, the deputy executive director of the State Educational Technology Directors Association, or SETDA, based in Glen Burnie, Md.
For instance, the Indiana Board of Education created a waiver for districts to use digital content instead of textbooks. Much digital content is free or available at a low cost. So that move allowed officials to shift money from textbooks to technology, Fletcher says.
“One administrator told me that his school stopped buying books,” he adds. “They now buy technology and find content to use in the classroom. He said that this changed the mindset on how textbook money could be used.”