Students use iPads and Chromebooks for instruction at Comienza Community Prep in Huntington Park.
With a new computerized field test five months away, California education officials are trying to get a handle on whether schools will be ready, but fewer than one in four have returned a survey on the state of technology in their classrooms.
The state has given public schools $1.25 billion dollars to get ready for the tests and otherwise gear up for new Common Core standards.
The Pleasant Valley School District in Ventura County, like many others, is using the roughly $200 per student to train employees, and buy laptops, iPads, iPad minis, and Chrome Books.
"It will be enough to get us started, it will not be enough for a sustainable one to one program. That is, a program in which each student has a dedicated device," said Jay Greenlinger, the school district's technology chief.
He said the district will be ready for the new field tests this spring — they are a dry run of the test, which will become official the following year.
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson said he’s heard of many problems holding districts back, such as tablets downloading test more slowly than desktop computers. He sent out the survey — which is not mandatory — to find out the extent of problems. They’re due January 1.
"The readiness survey will find out how close we are to one to one computing, meaning one computer for every student in every hour of the day, what is the inventory, how many desktops, how many tablets does a school have," Torlakson said.
Governor Jerry Brown signed a measure making the results of this year's field test private — parents and the public won't know how well schools performed. Schools also will only have to take the math or English portion.
That's created some friction with the U.S. Department of Education. Federal law calls for testing in both subjects — and for those results to be public.