Answers to the testUse of digital, adaptive learning programs such as those produced by Merit reduce the need for annual standardized testing in core subjects, particularly English Language Arts, in U.S. public schools.

The programs’ built-in tracking and feedback provide useful formative assessments for teachers, parents, and administrators.

It is easy to compare the results of users of the programs to get a snapshot of competency. Merit learning programs are also for teachers to learn to use.

Technology associated with adaptive programs is no longer a barrier. Student use of Internet in schools has increased dramatically. Schools are providing better training and equipment.


Standardized tests have their place, and should not be abandoned altogether. However, adaptive learning software can, and should, be used to monitor and enhance student achievement.

classroom technology, edtech, improving teacher quality, increasing student achievement, self-paced instruction, standards based curriculum

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  1. I’ve been an ESL instructor in an adult school that operates within a high school district in CA for 14 yrs. I was quite relieved to read the caveat that standardized testing shouldn’t be abandoned totally because it serves a purpose in our school when use of digital adaptive programs simply isn’t possible.

    We have a great computer lab. However, we serve some older students whose exposure to computers is limited to nonexistent. Cognitive issues, primarily with memory, interfere with those students 1-hour weekly completion of online language tasks (they forget how to log on and other instructions pertaining to the program and must be re-instructed). Although older, I entered the digital age early because of my job. However, many older Chinese, Vietnamese, Burmese, Mexican, and Central American women haven’t learned to use computers, even if they’re in their homes. They’d learn eventually but we have only one hour in the lab each week. The only reliable (?) way we have to assess progress is through standardized testing (informal documentation of performance is also critical, of course). Our younger students are computer literate and instructional/assessment processes described in this article would provide a more accurate reflection of progress than the CASAS test that’s used at present. A teacher can hope…

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