NORTH KINGSTOWN—School committee members engaged in a lengthy debate regarding technology costs at North Kingstown schools on Tuesday evening, scrutinizing the purchase of $172,000 worth in laptops and equipment. The school department has deemed the purchase necessary in order to comply with the upcoming PARCC assessments, which are scheduled to replace the New England Common Assessment Program (NECAP) testing in 2014.
“[PARCC] is the standardized test that half the nation will be taking, which is based on the new Common Core standards,” said Dr. Michele Humbyrd, assistant superintendent of teaching and learning. “This is what we are working feverishly to meet right now.”
Humbyrd stated that the technology purchase is critical to the implementation of the PARCC, which stands for Partnership for Assessment Readiness for College and Careers, testing.
“The important thing we are considering right now is that each [test] is computer delivered because [PARCC officials] are recommending strongly that we not use a paper pencil test,” said Humbyrd. “I am really advocating for us to get increased technology in the schools so that students can be doing some test examples.”
The $172,830 purchase represents a three-year total cost for leasing nine computers, as well as providing tech support and professional development for teachers and a number of interactive Smartboards to assist students in test taking.
Although Superintendent of Schools Philip Auger feels that these items are necessary to begin proper implementation of the PARCC testing, he feels that the purchase is a precursor to future technology purchases. He is cautious, however, about such a decision before understanding fully whether the school district can support technology upgrades in the long term.
For the rest of this story and more local news, pick up the June 27 issue of the Standard Times.