VMware Horizon

School Testing: The Next Generation

by Geoffrey Murase, Solutions Marketing for End-User Computing

When I was in elementary school, each year, we were administered a standardized test called the “California Test of Basic Skills” or CTBS.  This test involved using “number 2” pencils and filling out a form with boxes from A to E.  I remember thinking that if I didn’t know the answer, I should guess “C” because it’s in the middle.  Today, I can’t remember the last time I actually used a pencil.  However, many schools still use this antiquated way of administering standardized tests to students.

This is all about to change in the next couple of years.  According to the San Jose Mercury News, California, as one of 45 of the 50 states in the U.S. participating, will move toward a broad state-led program called the “Common Core State Standards Initiative.”  This initiative requires the standardization of testing across states by the 2014-2015 school year to ensure consistent performance assessments.  Quoting the article:

“Multiple-choice, fill-in-the-bubble tests alone simply cannot do the job anymore, and it’s time for California to move forward with assessments that measure the real-world skills our students need to be ready for a career and for college,” said California School Superintendent Tom Torlakson.

These next generation assessments will be computer-based and Pearson TestNav™ is a leading test delivery platform in K-12 schools that delivers over 4 million tests annually.  VMware is pleased to announce that our VMware® Horizon View™ desktop virtualization solution has received “TestNav Qualified” certification, ensuring that TestNav tests administered using Horizon View are delivered securely, error-free, and with a good user experience.  In fact, many schools have already deployed the TestNav platform with Horizon View and achieved great results:

“We’ve had tremendous success using VMware Horizon View for Pearson TestNav. Testing season brings a lot of stress to not only students but the staff as well. VMware Horizon View allows IT departments to facilitate these tests in a high availability environment, which is extremely comforting.”

– Brooks Moore, DCS Technology Help Desk Manager, Aledo Independent School District

“Using VMware Horizon View with the Pearson TestNav test delivery system ensures that our tests are administered in a secure environment that preserves the integrity of the results. Test environments are booted directly to our computer labs and if any attempt is made to escape out of the test, the test taker is locked out of the test. We initially rolled out VMware virtual desktops on a small scale in the Summer of 2012 but with the success that we’ve had, we now plan on rolling it out to all computer labs within our district.”

– Chad Branum, Executive Director of Technology, Coppell Independent School District

The good news is that these next generation assessments will hopefully give educators a clearer, more consistent understanding of how students are performing so that they can take corrective action where needed.  The bad news is that guessing “C” may no longer be an option for students in the coming years.

For more information about VMware and education, visit our website at: http://www.vmware.com/solutions/education/index.html

Continue the conversation with us on Twitter and Facebook!