iPads for Assessment – update

Mobile software, EdTech and the world of assessment are all fairly dynamic, 150301-Apple_Asseesment_with_iPad_coverand two years is almost two generations of change in some of these realms.

Smarter Balanced / SmarterApp just released an update on their technology considerations for iPad based testing, and it includes some good information as well as links to Apple resources that are helpful too.

For high-stakes testing, using iPads in “single app mode” has many obvious advantages, and tools are available to make using the devices in this mode relatively simple and easy.  Deployment tools for getting the devices into, and out of, single app mode, including by allowing programs to enter / exit SAM directly, have been implemented (as of iOS 8.1.3?) in a way that requires minimal overhead and administrative burden.

SmarterApp’s post, entitled Guidelines for the Configuration of iPads During Smarter Balanced Testing, is available here.  In particular, having test devices managed under “supervision” by Apple’s own “Apple Configurator”, or third party “MDM” (mobile device management) software, enable flexible control over access to features like the spell-check, dictionary and auto-correction that can be granular based on the specific section of an assessment. As of iOS 8.1.3, control of these features can be managed on managed iPad devices via customizable profiles — see more about that here.

SmarterApp also included a link to more detailed information on creating “custom profiles” to control specific features (please note: in “Single App Mode” features like the home button and task switching are already locked out from the user experience) for those already familiar with MDM, and a link to this Apple document entitled “Assessment with iPad”  that provides up-to-the-minute (March 2015) information that probably provides a better starting point that past information on this blog that has long since been overtaken by events.



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