Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Technical Requirements

Technical Requirements

ACARA is conscious that a move to online delivery of NAPLAN will raise many questions about the technical requirements that will need to be met. As research is completed and decisions are made by state and territory ministers, information about technical requirements will be updated and disseminated.
It is recognised that many schools will not have one-to-one device ratios. Due to the nature of tailored testing, it will no longer be necessary for test security purposes to have all students take NAPLAN tests at the same time. ACARA will widen the test window to allow increased flexibility for tests to be staggered over a longer period of time. Schools will be notified about changes to the test window once a final decision has been made about the length and structure of the test window for 2016.

Minimum technical specifications for devices

A delivery platform is being built that will support the broad possible range of devices. ACARA is working with partners to define the baseline (or minimum) device specifications for NAPLAN online. These specifications are expected to be available in mid-2014.
ACARA understands that schools will already be looking at buying computers for 2014 onwards. The following requirements should be considered for new purchases:
  • minimum screen size of 25.4cm
  • minimum screen resolution of 1024 x 768 pixels
  • a physical keyboard for tablets (on-screen keyboards reduce the screen real-estate available for the display of test items)
  • headphones or earphones
  • appropriate networking for the applicable classroom (wired Ethernet or WiFi)
  • operating system version which is current at the time of new purchase and which the vendor will support until at least June 2016
  • web browser that is current at time of purchase (Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome, Safari) with JavaScript enabled.
Older devices may be supported if they meet the minimum device specification when it is developed. However the minimum screen size, resolution and need for a physical keyboard and headphones, will also apply to those devices.

Internet connectivity requirements

Transitioning to NAPLAN online assumes that schools have reliable access to the internet. However, some provisions will also be made for students, only where necessary, to complete the same tests on computers that do not have adequate or any internet connection.
ACARA is working with state and territory governments, and sector representatives to assess the steps that need to be taken to ensure that schools have access to sufficient internet bandwidth to undertake the tests online.

Bring Your Own Device (BYOD)

Many schools are moving towards a BYOD policy that allows students to use their own computer at school. The use of a personal computer or tablet for national tests raises a number of issues around test security and privacy.
ACARA is currently consulting with schools, education departments and sector representatives to work through these issues and to develop an appropriate policy regarding the use of personal devices for NAPLAN tests.