New computers to prepare students for assessments

Published 7:00 am Thursday, February 12, 2015

Tenth-grade students at Picayune Memorial High School will receive 39 Google ChromeBook computers to further their computer and writing skills in preparation for the upcoming assessments.

Picayune Memorial High School’s Assistant Principal Pat Smith said the computers will help prepare students for the PARCC assessment in April, which will be a timed computer test.

While Smith said the computers are a positive tool for students, she’s concerned with the new standardized testing option.

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“This would be the first year that the PARCC assessment will be given,” she said. “Prior to this year it was SATP2 assessment, and those assessments were paper and pencil and were untimed.”

Since the Common Core standards were implemented in Mississippi, the assessments have changed, Picayune School District Superintendent Dean Shaw said.

Based on these changes, Smith feels like the test would not be a valid representation of a student’s knowledge.

“Every student’s skill set on the computer is different,” Smith said. “Those students who might not have strong computer skills might not do as well, especially since it’s timed.”

The Lower Pearl River Valley Foundation gave the school $9,000 in funding to purchase the laptops after two English teachers wrote a grant.

“All English II classes will be receiving those computers in the next couple of days. So our eight English classes will have access to these computers in their classroom to help them prepare for the assessment,” Smith said.