Jan 24, 2013

Discounted state technology contracts will save schools millions

BATON ROUGE, La. – The Louisiana Department of Education today released updated reports on the progress of technology readiness in the state through Louisiana’s Technology Footprint.  These reports provide an analysis of network, bandwidth, and device requirements necessary for every school and school district to be fully digital ready by 2014-2015, when all state tests will be delivered online. The data, updated from the first reports released last July, indicates districts have made significant progress toward preparing for the transition to online assessments developed by the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) and aligned to the Common Core State Standards.

In only six months, the number of districts with sufficient devices based on minimum standards to administer online tests in 2014-2015 rose from 5 to 17. Additionally, 5 districts have enough devices to test based on the higher bar of “recommended standards.” In order to meet 2014-2015 testing guidelines, districts will need to purchase or upgrade computers and other devices that do not currently meet the minimum hardware specifications.

The Department has signaled its commitment to supporting these readiness efforts by working with technology partners to offer special discounted pricing on select models of desktop computers, laptops and tablets which all exceed the recommended standards for the online assessments.  The devices, offered at discounted prices, also represent the most popular models purchased for educational use.  These technology partners are offering desktop computers as low as $418 and laptops as low as $486.

State Superintendent John White said, “Every child deserves a digitally ready school. These results show that districts are committed to providing students with the technology they need to achieve high standards for learning and are taking the steps necessary to be digitally ready by the 2014-2015 school year.  The Department will continue to support districts in their efforts by providing quality, affordable technology options and up-to-date information to make certain that 100 percent of our districts are prepared for the upcoming transition to online assessments. The ultimate goal in this progress is to make certain that our students have the tools they need to be college and career ready.”

Districts and schools have worked to upgrade and enhance the technology available through classroom devices, internet connections, and networks. Based on Louisiana’s Technology Footprint, 82,754 devices meet the new standards, an increase from 67,038 six months ago. Districts now only need to purchase an additional 14,913 devices, down from 37,000 in July, to meet the 7:1 recommended student-to-computer ratio for testing.

Several districts have made notable gains in digital readiness:

  • Plaquemines Parish. Only 1 school was digitally ready in July 2012, now all 8 schools meet the recommended standards.
  • Concordia Parish.  All 10 schools meet the recommended standards, up from only 1 in July 2012.
  • City of Monroe.  All 19 schools now meet the recommended standards.
  • Calcasieu Parish. 54 out of 58 schools now meet the 7:1 recommended standards, and 48 of these meet the higher 3:1 recommended standards.
  • East Baton Rouge Parish. 72 of 73 schools now meet the 7:1 recommended standards, and 46 of these now meet the higher 3:1 recommended standards. 

The following districts meet the recommended standards for device readiness:

  • St. James Parish
  • Ascension Parish
  • Plaquemines Parish
  • Concordia Parish
  • City of Monroe

Districts will continue to submit data on new devices or upgrades to current technology throughout the process of becoming digital ready by 2014-2015.  The Department will release semi-annual, updated footprint snapshots for districts to track their progress in meeting this technology goal.  Louisiana’s Technology Footprint is available at http://www.louisianabelieves.com/data/footprint/.  

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