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American Institutes for Research Promotes Google Chromebooks for Online Testing

The American Institutes for Research (AIR) is working with Google to make sure the latter's Chromebook devices are ready for use by school districts in delivering high-stakes online tests. The collaboration with Google comes as two multi-state consortia have begun releasing model test questions that assess student learning in math and English against the Common Core State Standards.

AIR is working with the one of those consortia, Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium, to develop the open-source testing platform that will be used to deliver the new assessments. AIR is a nonpartisan non-profit that does research and undertakes technical projects in the areas of education, health, and workforce productivity.

The Chromebook, introduced by Google in 2011 and made by several companies, has a netbook form factor and is known for its low cost and sub-20-second boot-up. Recently, both Acer and Samsung introduced models that sell for $199 and $249, respectively. The computer's specs, such as an 11.6-inch screen, match the same ones recommended to districts by the assessment consortia for their new device purchases.

"Chromebooks give schools a robust way to take the secure tests we deliver, and schools have them for instruction all year round," said Jon Cohen, executive vice president of AIR and director of the Assessment Program. "Being able to support Chromebooks gives schools a versatile, high-power option for taking the Smarter Balanced assessments."

"The Chromebook is an ideal solution for schools with its cloud-based management capabilities, which allows administrators to provide rich educational applications to students in a controlled environment," said Vidya Nagarajan, Google's product manager for Chrome OS for Enterprise. "AIR can use the Chromebook management capabilities to allow schools to securely administer assessments to students."

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a former senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning.