Superintendent’s Memo No. 215-14

State seal, Commonwealth of Virginia

COMMONWEALTH of VIRGINIA
Department of Education

August 15, 2014

TO:  Division Superintendents

FROM:  Steven R. Staples, Superintendent of Public Instruction

SUBJECT:  Additional Devices Eligible for Online SOL Test Administration Beginning Fall 2014

As indicated in Superintendent’s Memo No. 056-14, March 7, 2014, the Department of Education has been actively exploring options for expanding the types of devices approved for administering online Standards of Learning (SOL) tests. Pearson, the state assessment contractor for Virginia, currently delivers Virginia’s online SOL tests using version 7 of their TestNav™ software, or TestNav 7.  TestNav 7 is supported primarily on Microsoft Windows®-based and Mac OS®-based hardware. While a newer version of the Pearson software, TestNav 8, supports the use of additional devices such as Google™ Chromebooks and Apple iPads®, additional software development and significant item conversion and verifications are necessary before the Virginia assessment program can be successfully transitioned to TestNav 8.

With a quick transition to TestNav 8 not viable for Virginia, options for using TestNav 7 on devices beyond the traditional Windows- and Mac OS-based hardware have been pursued. Pearson, via their TestNav Qualified Program, has recently qualified two different virtual desktop interface (VDI) solutions that enable certain Google Chromebooks to be used for securely administering SOL tests provided certain implementation requirements are met. The implementation requirements will ensure test security and standardization of the test environment for all students.

Information about the two VDI solutions that Pearson has qualified for use with TestNav 7 and Chromebooks may be viewed on the TestNav Qualified Program Web site (http://testnavqualified.com). The Pearson documentation includes minimum software and hardware specifications for eligible Chromebooks as well as minimum network bandwidth requirements for each of the two VDI solutions. SOL Test Virtualization Guidelines for school divisions interested in administering SOL tests on Chromebooks beginning with the fall 2014 test administration using either of the two VDI solutions will be forthcoming from the Department later this month.  A statement of assurance to be signed by the division superintendent, the division director of testing, and the division director of technology certifying that the implementation requirements to ensure secure administration of the  SOL assessments on Chromebooks have been met will be required for divisions wishing to pursue the VDI solutions.

If you have questions regarding this information, please contact student assessment staff at student_assessment@doe.virginia.gov or (804) 225-2102.

SRS/SLR/cd