Testing on Tablets

As the number of digital classrooms grows, many are realizing that adding technology into the classroom is only half the answer. A cohesive digital learning experience aligns assessments to next-generation instruction.

Students are often asked to make a downshift. They live in a digital world and interact with technology on an hourly basis. Then, when it comes to high-stakes assessment tests, they’re handed a booklet, an answer sheet and a number 2 pencil and told to complete the test to the best of their ability.

Before transitioning to all testing on tablets, however, we need to better understand how tablets can change the assessment experience for students. At Pearson, we’re committed to supporting student assessment on tablet devices in ways that optimize student experience and enhance measurement. It is important to consider the specific assessment goals, the uses of the test scores and issues of fairness when students will be using different types of computers and tablets to take tests.

Pearson researchers have conducted studies to evaluate the usability of tablet devices as tools for assessment.

Reports

Evaluating Question Interactions for Tablet Assessments

In these studies, Pearson researchers sat down with students and asked them to take some sample test questions on tablets. Students’ interactions with test questions on tablets differ from their interactions with test questions on computer.

Download: "Evaluating Question Interactions for Tablet Assessments"

Keyboard Interactions for Tablet Assessments

In these studies, Pearson researchers sat down with students and asked them to take some sample test questions that asked for either a short text response (like a fill-in-the-blank question) or a longer, extended text response (like an essay).

Download: "Keyboard Interactions for Tablet Assessments"

Screen Size Recommendations for Tablet Assessments

In this study, Pearson researchers sat down with students and asked them to take some sample test questions on two different sized tablets to better understand the effect of screen size on students’ test-taking activities.

Download: "Screen Size Recommendations for Tablet Assessments"

Positioning and Ergonomic Considerations for Tablet Assessments

One of the more attractive features of tablets is the flexibility (because of their relative light weight and compact form factor) to position the devices in a variety of different arrangements. In these studies, Pearson researchers sat down with students and asked them to take some sample test questions on tablets to evaluate how students positioned the tablets and how these choices of position might impact their physical comfort in a test-taking situation and, consequently, their performance on a test.

Download: "Positioning and Ergonomic Considerations for Tablet Assessments"

Device Comparability of Tablets and Computers for Assessment Purposes

Is there a difference in student test scores on different devices? This study looked at the comparability of test scores across tablets and computers for high school students in three commonly assessed content areas and for a variety of different item types. Results indicate no significant differences across device type for any content area or item type. Student survey results suggest that students may have a preference for taking tests on devices with which they have more experience, but that even limited exposure to tablets in this study increased positive responses for testing on tablets.

Download: "Device Comparability of Tablets and Computers for Assessment Purposes"

Testing on Tablets: Part I of a Series of Usability Studies on the use of Tablets for K-12 Assessment Programs

Tablets’ affordability and the intuitiveness of manipulating on-screen objects directly via touch-screen make a compelling case for the use of iPads and Android tablets in the classroom. However, in the same way that comparability studies are used to investigate fairness when a high stakes test is delivered both online and in print, cross-device comparability studies should be used to inform state policies around the acceptable range of devices used for high-stakes testing. As a precursor to further research to inform policy, a study was conducted to observe primary and secondary school students’ interaction with assessment materials on touch-screen tablets, including essay-writing tasks accessed with and without an external keyboard.

Download: "Testing on Tablets: Part I of a Series of Usability Studies on the use of Tablets for K-12 Assessment Programs"

Testing on Tablets: Part II of a Series of Usability Studies on the Use of Tablets for K-12 Assessment Programs

This report summarizes the findings from a research study conducted to evaluate the usability of tablet devices as tools for assessment. The focuses of the study were; interactions with the device that may present challenges, ergonomics of the tablet use and impact of differing screen sizes and device features.

Download: "Testing on Tablets: Part II of a Series of Usability Studies on the Use of Tablets for K-12 Assessment Programs"

Response Time Differences between Computers and Tablets

Does the time to take a test change if it is taken on difference devices? This study uses response time data to investigate the differences in student test-taking behavior between two device conditions: computer and tablet.

Download: "Response Time Differences between Computers and Tablets"

Device Comparability: Score Range and Subgroup Analyses

In 2015, the use of tablets for large scale testing programs transitioned from theoretical to reality for several state testing programs. Tablet use for testing is expected to continue to grow over the next several years. The current study evaluated score comparability between tablets and computers across a range of score points, as well as looked at effects for student subgroups (e.g., gender and ethnicity) using data from prior research with high school students testing in reading, math, and science.

Download: "Device Comparability: Score Range and Subgroup Analyses"