For First Time, Majority of U.S. Elementary and Middle School Students

to Test Online in Spring 2016


Pencils Down: The Shift to Online and Computer-Based Testing – U.S. K-8 Market (2015-16 School Year)

According to exclusive research conducted by EdTech Strategies, LLC, and summarized in the brief, Pencils Down: The Shift to Online & Computer-Based Testing – U.S. K-8 Market (2015-16 School Year), the 2015-16 school year will mark the first time that the majority of state mandated summative testing in U.S. elementary and middle schools will be administered via technology and not in a paper and pencil format. In fact, only 15 percent of all end-of-year state tests to be administered in spring 2016 will not offer an online administration option.

Based on a comprehensive review of publicly available data from states and testing vendors, the brief includes select information on the plans for state mandated summative testing of the general student population in grades K-8 in each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia for the current school year. Across the 50 states and the District of Columbia, this represents a universe of over 800 distinct (subject/grade) tests to be administered to roughly 20 million students in grades 3-8. (No state has announced plans to require a summative end-of-year assessment of students in grades K-2 for the 2015-16 school year.) Most grade 3-8 students will take between 2 and 4 state-mandated summative tests each year, including in English language arts and mathematics.

Among other findings, the research reveals that while older students are slightly more likely to have the option to test online, large numbers of 3rd graders (aged 8 and 9 years old) are already testing online successfully. The brief also includes new data and information on:

  • Which states are online testing leaders and which are laggards;
  • The top test vendors (as measured by the number of general assessments they will deliver to students this school year); and,
  • Top issues for states, test vendors, technology leaders, and policymakers to watch closely and address to ensure both a smooth and equitable test administration this spring.

The EdTech Strategies, LLC, research brief is available for download free of charge by clicking here.

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Additional findings and custom research on state testing plans for the 2015-16 school year are available. Topics include, but are not limited to:

  • The number and mode of delivery of mandated summative tests of the general student population by state, subject, grade, and assessment vendor;
  • Estimates of the market share of assessment vendors (by numbers of tests to be delivered) by state, subject, grade, and mode of delivery of tests;
  • Announced online testing windows (if applicable) by subject/grade test in each of the states;
  • Which states and vendors are slated to administer new tests for the 2015-16 school year;
  • Participation in one of the Common Core Assessment Consortia by state and vendor; and,
  • Insights into assessment vendor technology issues experienced during the 2014-15 (prior) school year.

For more information, please contact:

Doug Levin, President
EdTech Strategies, LLC
(202) 556-3684 (cell/office)



EdTech StrateEdTech Strategies, LLCgies, LLC, is a boutique consultancy focused on providing strategic research and counsel on issues at the intersection of education, public policy, technology, and innovation. Clients include non-profit research and advocacy organizations, cultural institutions, associations, education and technology companies, and philanthropy and government leaders.