One of the two consortia designing tests for the Common Core State Standards has released new guidance on the minimum technology standards states will need to meet to give those tests, beginning in 2014-15.
The Partnership for the Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers said the guidance, unveiled late Friday afternoon, is meant to provide direction to states and districts on the extent to which current technology meets testing standards, or whether upgrades will be required.
The document offers both “minimum specifications,” that would satisfy the consortium’s tech guidelines at least through 2014-15, and “recommended” ones, which would be expected to meet the state group’s standards through the 2018-19 school year.
Earlier this month, the other group leading states toward the development of tests to match the Common Core, the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium, released its own list of technology requirements and recommendations for 2014-15.
The new PARCC guidelines are “very similar” to the Smarter Balanced requirements, said Susan Van Gundy, associate director for assessment technology at Achieve, an organization that is managing the partnership consortium’s work.
One of the requirements focuses on test security. All devices used during the tests—whether laptops, netbooks, tablets—and operating systems must have the capability to “lock down” and temporarily disable features that present a security risk while exams are being given. Certain features would also need to be controlled during test administration, including unlimited Internet access, certain types of cameras, screen captures, e-mail, and instant-messaging, the requirements say. (Read more.)