In order to provide a consistent testing experience for students, ensure that test results are reliable, and protect the security of the test, the devices (computers and tablets) used by students to take the test must meet certain requirements. One requirement is that the device have installed a secure browser that prevents access to unauthorized web sites or applications.
Smarter Balanced provides open source secure browsers for six major device platforms. A particular test delivery system may also be compatible with secure browsers built into the operating system or supplied by a third party. In every case, Smarter Balanced recommends that members consult with their test delivery service provider for the list of devices and secure browsers that may be used with your testing solution.
This document lists the universal requirements for all devices followed by a list of the open source secure browsers with supported platforms and the expected sunset dates for each platform
The following are universal requirements for all devices. Members should consult with their test delivery service provider for details on support for specific devices and operating systems.
|Screen||Display must measure a minimum 9.5 inches diagonal (sometimes described as "10-inch class"). Resolution must be a minimum of 1024×768.|
|Headphones or earphones must be available to students for use during the English language arts/literacy assessment and for students who require text-to-speech features on the mathematics test. *a*|
|Keyboard||A physical keyboard is required to avoid consuming screen space that must be available for test content.|
|Pointing Device||A pointing device must be included. This may be a mouse, touch screen, touchpad, or other pointing device with which the student is familiar.|
|Network||Must be connected to the internet with a minimum of 20Kbps available per student to be tested concurrently.|
|Secure Browser||It must be possible to secure the device so that the student does not have access to unauthorized web sites or applications. This is typically accomplished through the use of a secure browser but may be accomplished by the operating system.|
|Operating System||The device and operating system should be supported by the member’s test delivery service provider.|
Open Source Secure Browsers
The following secure browsers are provided by Smarter Balanced in open source form. Members should consult with their test delivery service provider for details on support for specific devices and operating systems.
|Secure Browser||Scope of Support|
|Secure Browser for Microsoft Windows||Windows Vista; Windows 7; Windows 8 and 8.1; Windows 10; Windows Server 2003, 2008, and 2012; Minimum Hardware: Pentium 233 Mhz processor; 128 MB RAM; 52 MB hard drive free space. Recommended Hardware: 1Ghz processor; 1GB RAM; 1GB hard drive free space. *Virtual desktop systems running versions of Microsoft Windows require additional assurance that the virtual desktop client (the device in front of the student) has been secured to prevent unauthorized access to applications or websites.*|
|Secure Browser for Apple Mac OS X||Mac OS X 10.5 to 10.11 Minimum Hardware: Macintosh with Intel 300Ghz Processor; 256 MB RAM; 200MB hard drive free space. Recommended Hardware: Macintosh with 1Ghz processor; 1GB RAM; 1GB hard drive free space.|
|Secure Browser for Apple iOS 7 (iPad)||iOS 7.1 iPad 2, iPad 3rd Generation, iPad 4th generation, iPad Air. As with all devices, a physical keyboard is required for use with iPad devices. The iPad mini is unsupported due to inadequate screen size.|
|Secure Browser for Apple iOS 8 (iPad)||iOS 8.02, 8.1 iPad 2, iPad 3rd Generation, iPad 4th generation, iPad Air, iPad Air 2 As with all devices, a physical keyboard is required for use with iPad devices. The iPad mini is unsupported due to inadequate screen size.|
|Secure Browser for Google Chromebook||Chromebooks running Chrome OS v31 to latest.|
|Secure Browser for Linux||Ubuntu 10.04, 12.04, 14.04Fedora Core 16 to 20open SUSE 13.1Red Hat Enterprise 6.5 Minimum Hardware: Pentium II or AMD K6-III 233Mhz Processor; 64MB RAM; 52 MB hard drive free space. Recommended Hardware: 1 Ghz Processor; 1GB RAM; 1GB hard drive free space.|
|Secure Browser for Android||Select Android devices running Android OS 4.0.4 to 4.4 The secure browser for Android tablets requires that the secure browser keyboard be selected before students access the login page. This is to disable the keyboard predictive text which would unduly aid students when entering written responses.|
The general policy is to end support for a particular device or operating system after the school year in which the manufacturer withdraws support. Service providers may agree with their clients to continue supporting devices after the manufacturer withdraws support by using earlier versions of the secure browser.
|Operating System||OS Release Date||Expected End of Support Date|
|Mac OS 10.5 (Intel)||October 2007||End of 2016-2017 School Year|
|Mac OS 10.6||August 2009||End of 2018-2019 School Year|
|Mac OS 10.7||July 2011||End of 2020-2021 School Year|
|Mac OS 10.8||July 2012||End of 2021-2022 School Year|
|Mac OS 10.9||October 2013||End of 2022-2023 School Year|
|Windows Vista||January 2007||End of 2016-2017 School Year|
|Windows 7||October 2009||End of 2019-2020 School Year|
|Windows 8||August 2012||End of 2021-2022 School Year|
|Windows Server 2008||October 2008||End of 2018-2019 School Year|
|Fedora Core 6||November 2007||End of 2016-2017 School Year|
|Ubuntu 9-12||October 2009||End of 2018-2019 School Year|
|iOS 6||June 2012||TBD|
|iOS 7||September 2013||TBD|
|Chrome OS||Rolling Release||TBD|
Other Compatible Secure Browsers
Smarter Balanced is actively encouraging common protocols for secure browsers that can be used with a variety of testing platforms and organizations. As we test compatibility with the open source test delivery system we will list compatible secure browsers here.