SBAC CDE News
- Guidelines for Purchasing New Hardware
- Technology Readiness Data Collection
The SBAC CDE weekly update is an email sent each week to inform California educators and parents of new developments and upcoming events. Please feel free to share information in the update with those who are interested in the SBAC CDE’s work.
- Guidelines for Purchasing New Hardware—designed to inform schools and districts on current and future technology purchasing decisions consistent with SBAC requirements. The guidelines include hardware and operating system specifications covering the vast majority of commercially available computers and tablets. Specifications are described below. The full guidelines are available online at SBAC Web site
. The Guidelines for Purchasing New Hardware Frequently Asked Questions are at the end of this update.
Hardware Operating System Networking Device Type
- 1 GHz or faster processor
- 1 GM RAM or greater memory
- 9.5 inch (10 inch class) or larger screen size
- 1024 x 768 or better screen resolution
- Windows 7
- Mac 10.7
- Linux (Ubuntu 11.10, Fedora 16)
- Chrome OS
- Apple iOS
- Android 4.0
- Wired or wireless Internet connection
- Desktops, laptops, netbooks, thin client, and tablets that meet the hardware, operating system, and networking specifications
The CDE and SBAC understand that schools and districts may be making decisions about what types of hardware and software to purchase for future instructional and assessment use. The Guidelines for Purchasing New Hardware document will be useful in determining that any devices acquired over the next two years will be compatible with the new assessments. As part of your plans to support instruction, districts and schools may select computer systems that meet or exceed these guidelines and be confident that those systems will work with the assessments in the 2014-15 school year. Support for operating systems not specified, predating those specified, or with processor capacities lower than recommended, will be described in future updates to these guidelines on the SBAC site listed above.
These specifications do not constitute the full list of technical requirements that will be necessary to administer the SBAC assessments 2014-2015. The SBAC member states will collaborate to use the Technology Readiness Survey and assessment design processes currently underway to shape the full and final list of requirements including guidance on bandwidth, test system security, and alternate input devices. Thus, it is vitally important that schools and districts continue to complete the Technology Readiness Survey. By using the Technology Readiness Tool, schools and districts will be able to submit information on key readiness indicators, including: number and type of computers and devices; ratio of devices to test-takers; local network and bandwidth infrastructure; and local staff resources.
- The California statewide Technology Readiness data collection window is now open and will close on June 14, 2012. This tool helps identify how ready schools are to support a system of online assessments. With the assistance of the Technology and Telecommunications Steering Committee and the Technology Assistance Project, CDE created a “district-admin” user for each district and has sent login information and links to resources to Technology Liaisons in each district across California. As districts and schools plan their approach to instruction and prepare for the transition to next-generation assessments in the 2014-15 school year, technology is often at the top of the list of concerns. The information gathered from the Technology Readiness Tool will provide SBAC and CDE baseline information about current capacity, with results expected this summer.
SBAC CDE Upcoming Events
Technology Readiness Data Collection Rollout —
- April 16–June 14, Statewide LEAS Data Collection: The statewide data collection window is now open and will close on June 14, 2012. Visit the SBAC CDE Web page to view materials related to the statewide Technology Readiness Tool rollout. The reporting system for the Technology Readiness Tool will include district reports and the submission status for each school where information has been submitted.
SBAC CDE Resources
- Join the SBAC CDE electronic mailing list by sending a blank e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- To receive Common Core State Standards CDE Updates via e-mail notification, subscribe to the from CDE listserv by sending a blank message to email@example.com.
- SBAC CDE Web site—The Smarter Balanced CDE Web site includes access to archived SBAC CDE Updates, resources, and presentations.
- SBAC External Web site—The Smarter Balanced external Web site showcases the SBAC work and provides frequent updates on activities, milestones, and events.
- SBAC is on Twitter—Follow @SmarterBalanced to get resources and links to the latest SBAC news.
- Assembly Bill 250—The AB 250 Statewide Pupil Assessment Web page provides the latest information about the reauthorization of California's assessment system.
SBAC Question/Answer of the Week
Q: How are the guidelines for purchasing new hardware different from minimum specifications?
A: The guidelines for purchasing new hardware support state, districts, and school administrators as they determine which new computers that support their instructional programs may also be used in the SBAC assessments in 2014-15. By contrast, minimum specifications provide information about which existing computers—already in schools—will be compatible with the assessments.
Q: Do I need to purchase new computers just for the assessment?
A: No. Decisions regarding new computers should be made as part of a larger technology plan to support instruction and individual student needs. SBAC is committed to achieving a successful compromise between allowing the oldest hardware possible, while still meeting the requirements to assess the full depth and breadth of the Common Core State Standards.
Q: When will I know which existing computers will be eligible to be used on the SBAC assessments in 2014-15?
A: The decision about legacy operating systems will be informed by the data received from the Technology Readiness Tool. The first data collection for the survey closes in mid-June 2012. SBAC expects to complete analysis of the data by mid-July and will vet the information among the SBAC member states. A comprehensive approach as to the use of legacy systems should be available by mid-August.
Q: How much network bandwidth will the assessment use?
A: Bandwidth requirements will be determined after the process for RFP-11 Test Engine Development is completed. SBAC anticipates that this information will be included in the August 2012 technology plan.
Q: Why might mechanical keyboards be needed as an accessory to tablets?
A: The Common Core State Standards require students to analyze text carefully and to write cognitively complex responses. A mechanical keyboard (wired or wireless) may be a necessary means to preserve the smaller screen real-estate on tablets so that students can successfully engage in this type of process. SBAC will make the decision regarding mechanical keyboards based on existing available research and cognitive labs scheduled for this spring as a means of observing how students use tablets and what policies need to be put in place to optimize their opportunities for success.
Q: Why might mechanical mice be needed as an accessory to tablets?
A: The use of touch-based devices with large-scale assessments is relatively new. While SBAC believes that mice are likely not necessary, SBAC will make the final determination based on the cognitive labs scheduled for this spring as a means of observing how students use tablets and what policies need to be put in place to optimize their opportunities for success. Mice may be wireless or wired.
Q: How will SBAC address any potential test security concerns associated with the iPad?
A: The growing popularity of tablets over the past several years has given school districts a broader range of technology options to support instruction for students. To ensure that schools can leverage their investment in tablets for assessments, SBAC is committed to including the iPad as an eligible device for the SBAC assessments in 2014-15. After meeting with Apple, SBAC is confident that the iPad will be able to deliver the SBAC assessments in a secure manner. SBAC will continue to work with Apple and will notify the member states as soon as additional information is available.