As the landscape of American education rapidly moves towards integrating more technology, it’s more important than ever that schools stay up to date on required equipment. All but seven states have now adopted the Common Core standards, and that means the majority of students will take part in one of two standardized tests: The Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) or Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC). Both tests take place entirely on computers, and therefore each has a list of requirements that detail both software and hardware specifications. For the purposes of this article, let’s focus on one of the main things they have in common: both tests require the use of headphones for every student.
The SBAC and PARCC have two main reasons for the use of headphones: language arts sections that require listening to spoken words and special accommodations for students who require “text-to-speech” features. While these are new requirements, the trend has been swinging towards integrated technology for quite some time, with classrooms around the country starting to use tablets, laptops and other mobile devices with greater frequency. The question now becomes, which headphones are best for you?
As far as testing in the 2015 school year is concerned, any set of headphones or earbuds will suffice. With full-size headphones, like the Egghead Switchable Stereo/Mono Classroom Headphones 10-Pack, students will be more comfortable and have the option of volume control for each ear. PARCC testing in particular recommends the use of headphones with a USB connection, like Califone’s Titanium Series Washable USB Headphones, for ease of use.
If a tight budget is a concern, however, the more economically priced Califone Personal Stereo Headphones 20-Pack will also fulfill the requirements at a fraction of the cost, although at a reduced comfort and durability level.
For those planning several years in advance, keep in mind that the 2016-2017 school year will begin requiring headphones with microphones for oral responses during tests. Headphones like the Egghead USB Multimedia Headset with Volume Control 10-Pack offer a simple plug-and-play solution for all your testing needs.
If you don’t see what you need in the list above, check out our entire list of headphones. You’re sure to find bargains on headphones for your specific situation.