The Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium has just released a new document that details the current state of technology in schools and recommendations on systems for testing.
They surveyed 56,268 schools which owned 5.9 million devices. About 60% of the devices were laptops, 10% netbooks, tablets or other mobile-type devices.
Operating Systems. 56.1% of systems are Windows XP, and the testing will run on XP; however, the recommendation is for schools to migrate to Windows 7 by April, 2014.
Internal Memory. 63% of the current devices have 1GB or more of memory and the recommendation is to upgrade all machines to this level as a minimum.
Screen Resolution and Size. 88% of current devices have a visual display of no less than 9.5” screen, supporting at least 1024×768. For tablets, they recommend an external keyboard, so the keyboard doesn’t take up visual space on the display.
Internet Browsers. The testing package will require internet access and that means browsers. Internet Explorer, Safari and Firefox will all be supported, with specs available when the testing begins. The main concern is for secure browsing.
Internet Connection and Bandwidth. 35% of schools currently have 100 Mbps of bandwidth, with only 15% going as high as 1Gbps. This is important because when students test, there will be multiple computers/tests operating at any given time. Because the tests will incorporate multimedia, the bandwidth could easily limit the number of students testing at the same time. Recommendations are for 10Kbps/student and a minimum of 1Mbps overall for 100 students concurrently testing.
See the report for specific tables comparing hardware and software.
Will your school district be ready for testing by April 2014?