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Common Core Exams Pose a Challenge For Rural Districts

Some rural districts are struggling to transition to new, online common-core aligned exams due to a lack of technology and resources, according to a recent story by the Scripps Howard Foundation Wire.

The article highlights several rural schools in Kentucky and Colorado that lack the computers or Internet needed to take the new assessments, which are administered online. Some districts in Kentucky have had to take paper versions of the exams, or have fewer kids take the test at one time so the system doesn't crash. In Colorado, some districts have spent thousands of dollars upgrading technology, although that can be hard for rural districts that lack a strong tax base. Last year, the state shifted to new online science and social studies exams to provide a trial run for the common-core math and reading tests, which will debut in 2015.

In Mississippi, where more than half of students attend rural schools, many districts have struggled to upgrade technology without additional state funding. Districts that have been able to buy new computers and upgrade bandwidth have done so with the help of grants, dipping into reserves, or by raising local millage rates.

Nationwide, several states have experienced difficulties transitioning to online testing programs. IndianaKentuckyMinnesota, Oklahoma and Virginia have experienced glitches that halted testing for thousands of students. Wyoming temporarily abandoned its online tests after a 2010 debacle. 

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