Is Your School District Ready for Online TCAP Testing?

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The Transitional Colorado Assessment Program (TCAP), formerly CSAP, is Colorado‚Äôs standards-based assessment designed to provide a picture of student performance to schools, districts, educators, parents and the community.

A school district's success with online TCAP may be at least partially dependent on the amount of internet bandwidth they subscribe to. More is better.

In Colorado, the 2014-2015 school year will mark the first online TCAP testing.  TCAP testing is aligned with Partnership for Academic Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC). PARCC is a 19-state consortium working together to develop next-generation K-12 assessment in English and math.  In order to successfully execute the online testing, most of Colorado's school districts will have to increase the internet bandwidth (or speed) that they subscribe to. Inadequate bandwidth (slow speed) may result in TCAP tests not being properly scored. A decline in TCAP scores can have adverse results for school district administrations.

PARCC recommends school districts subscribe to internet speeds of 100 kilobits per second (Kbps) per student or 100 megabits per second (Mbps) per 1,000 pupils in a district. Ergo, a school district with 2,000 enrolled students, for example, should contract with an internet service provider (ISP) for a minimum of 200 Mbps.

What if that much internet bandwidth is not available to our school district?
What if internet bandwidth is too expensive?

The Colorado Broadband Data and Development Program has identified over 100 providers of broadband internet services in Colorado. While some districts may feel they have little or no choice in internet service providers, there are a range of solutions that can bring "redundant, abundant and affordable" services to their communities.

Recommended solutions:
1. Have a Broadband Assessment performed for your community.
a. Is our internet service "redundant, abundant, and affordable"
b. If not, why not?
c. Who else in our community needs faster internet? Businesses? Hospitals? Public Safety? Can we partner for better internet service?
2. Conduct a Request for Proposal (RFP) process to assist the service provider community in understanding your needs
a. With a Broadband Assessment, new service providers can better understand what it will take to bring better internet to your community
b. Introducing competition for your business can only help to improve the service

The table below lists Colorado school districts, the internet bandwidth they subscribe to, their provider and the price they pay in $ per megabits per second per month ($/Mbps/month).