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ExamSoft To Deliver Offline Testing Through iPads
- By Dian Schaffhauser
ExamSoft, which offers a Web-based service for secure exam administration, will be launching a mobile application for offline test-taking on iPads later this year. The new app will eliminate the need for an Internet connection, the company said in a statement, and block network access during the exam.
Test-takers will be able to use their own devices to take the exams created and delivered through Flex-Site, the company's suite of test design, delivery, scoring, and reporting modules. The use of the company's technology already lets schools test students on laptops, desktops, and Scantron forms.
The offline nature of the new service may prove pivotal. As more devices show up in college classrooms, wireless connectivity is often strained, sometimes preventing students from achieving the access they need during class, which can turn out to be a dire problem when those students are taking tests.
The company's products are in use at El Centro College in Dallas, the University of Georgia College of Pharmacy, and the Ohio State University College of Medicine.
"Students are carrying multiple WiFi enabled devices on campus, and they expect to be able to use this technology seamlessly in the classroom," said Eric Ermie, program manager for testing and evaluation at Ohio State. "However, we've learned that even the most advanced wireless infrastructure can't promise 100 percent reliability, let alone consistent, rapid performance, and that's just not acceptable when delivering high-stakes exams."
Added company president David Schnabel, "Universities face complex challenges, serving students who come in with high expectations for leveraging their laptops, iPads, and smart phones on campus. That's why we've developed a flexible solution that enables students to use any or all of these devices, without burdening their schools' wireless infrastructure."
Along with a testing mechanism, modules in Flex-Site provide test-creation tools, data analysis, automated reporting, and the ability for groups of instructors to add to and access question banks for the assembly of exams. Administrative Services provide enterprise features, such as time zone normalization and exam payment processing.
Dian Schaffhauser is a writer who covers technology and business for a number of publications. Contact her at email@example.com.