Common Core Online Assessments Technology Requirements Cheat Sheet

Posted by Ryan Hack on Oct 7, 2013 12:00:00 PM

Here at Wowzers, we're often asked questions about the technology requirements of our content and how they relate to the new Common Core online assessment requirements (PARCC and Smarter Balanced).

common core assessment technology requirementsIt would be nice to give one simple answer for both PARCC and SBAC, but that's just not the case. Although these two testing agencies have similar goals and serve similar purposes, they have different technology requirements that all educators and educational technology personnel should be strongly aware of.

Below is a list of the basic tech requirements for each consoritum (depending on which test your state adopted). This information is current as of October 2013.

PARCC Technology Requirements for the Common Core online assessments

  • Bandwidth: If implementing caching capabilities, schools need 5 kilobits per second (kbps). Without caching, schools will need 50 kbps. For assessment and teaching functionality, the recommended bandwidth is 100 kbps or faster.
  • Computers must have access to the Internet, either via wireless and/or wired networks. 
  • Devices must have a keyboard, mouse, touchpad, or touchscreen in order for students to be able to input text, numbers, select/de-select, highlight, and delete information.
  • Security standards require eligible devices and operating systems to have the ability to "lock down" the device and disable features and applications that could pose a security risk during the administration of the test. Email, messaging, video, screen capture, and other info sharing or storing features all fall under this category.
  • The web browser used during testing must be compatible with the Pearson TestNav 8 assessment delivery platform.
  • The testing device's screen size must be 9.5 inches or larger and maintain a screen resolution of 1024 x 768 or better.
  • Operating system specifications: 
    • If you're using Windows desktops, laptops, or netbooks, the device must be running at least XP–Service Pack 3 
    • Mac users must be running OS 10.5 or newer 
    • If operating with Linux, you'll need Ubuntu 9-10, Fedora 6, or newer 
    • If using Chrome, you'll need Chrome OS 19 or newer
  • Tablet specifications:
    • Android tablets must be running Android version 4.0 or greater 
    • If using iPads, you'll need an iPad 2 (or newer) running iOS 6 or 7 
    • Windows tablets require the use of Windows 8 (with 512 MB RAM or greater)
  • For more in-depth coverage of the PARCC technology requirements, be sure to check out their official Technology page.

Smarter Balanced Technology Requirements for the Common Core online assessments

  • Bandwidth: networks must provide at least 10–20 kbps per student in order for students to test simultaneously via the internet
  • Keyboards must be available to all testing students, unless their classrooms employ alternate input devices.
  • Much like PARCC, devices used for administering Smarter Balanced assessments must allow you to lock down certain features in order to avoid test security risks.
  • Computers must have access to the Internet, either via wireless and/or wired networks.
  • The testing device's screen size must be at least 10 inches and carry a screen resolution of 1024 x 768 or greater.
  • Operating System specifications: 
    • Windows PCs need XP (service pack 3), Pentium 233 MHz processor, 128 MB RAM, and 52 MB of hard drive free space (or greater) 
    • For Mac, OS X 10.4.4 is required. You will need a Mac computer with Intel x86 or PowerPC G3, a 300 MHz processor, 256 MB of RAM, and 200 MB of free space on the hard drive 
    • If using Linux, you will be required to use Ubuntu 9-10 or Fedora 6, and have a 233 MHz processor with 64 MB of RAM and 52 MB of hard drive free space
  • Tablet/Netbook specifications:
    • Apple iPads must be running iOS 6 or newer 
    • Android tablets must be updated to Android 4.0 or greater  
    • Windows-based tablets running must run Windows 8 or greater (excluding Windows RT)
    • Chromebooks must run Chrome OS 19 or greater
  • For more on the Smarter Balanced tech requirements, be sure to check out their official Technology page.

Share your technology integration stories with us

What are some of the technology steps your school or district has taken to prepare for the Common Core online assessments? What concerns do you have about being able to test online by the 2014-2015 deadline?

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Topics: Common Core Assessments

Wowzers is a comprehensive online math program covering all Common Core State Standards for grades K-8. The research-based program adapts to each learner and allows for an individualized path through the curriculum. Content is presented in multiple ways, and appeals to tactile, auditory, and visual learners. Assessments mirror those found on high-stakes achievement tests and provide teachers and administrators with the information that they need to personalize learning for each student.

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