EQAO Guidelines Allow Use of @Desmos Test Mode App

New iPad App Compliant With Ontario Grade 9 Math Standardized Test Rules

Desmos Test Mode is EQAO Compliant and Approved

Recently, I came across a post by Carl Hooker explaining how the Eanes Independent School District managed to get Desmos Test Mode approved for students writing the Texas State math tests (also check out Cathy Yenca’s post here). I’ll be honest and say I never really read too deeply into these posts until I heard from Jon Orr that a school district near Toronto was approved by the Educational Quality and Accountability Office (EQAO) to use this brand new app on the upcoming Grade 9 Assessment of Mathematics in June. I immediately made a phone call and also sent off an email to EQAO in order to learn more about the possibility of allowing my district to do the same.

A representative from EQAO responded to my email today and stated:

…Students can use calculator applications on iPads, as long as the calculator applications have the same functionality as a regular scientific or graphing calculator, with or without computer algebra systems. For example, it must not contain a glossary or be instructional in nature (e.g. provide tutorials or definitions), as scientific/graphing calculators do not have glossaries or provide instructions. Students can also choose to use the virtual manipulatives on the iPad. However, any applications and software which require internet connectivity in order to function are not permitted during the assessment. As well, they should not have access to other applications or the internet during the assessment.

All provisions outlined in the Administration and Accommodation Guides must be adhered to. Any instructional materials, including applications of an instructional nature, that facilitate responses to questions cannot be used. We rely on the professional judgment of educators to administer the assessments in accordance with EQAO guidelines…

With Jon cc’ed on the email, we were both very excited to be able to share this news with our colleagues and Twitter PLN from other parts of Ontario.


Important Details for iOS:

If you plan on allowing students writing the Grade 9 Assessment of Mathematics to use the Desmos Test Mode iOS App on an iPad, iPhone, or iPod Touch, the EQAO provisions state that students must not be able to access the internet and must not be able to access other apps on the device.

If using an IOS Device, I suggest following these steps:

  1. Put your iOS device in AIRPLANE MODE to ensure WiFi/Cell Data is OFF;
  2. Launch Desmos Test Mode app; and,
  3. Use the Guided Access accessibility feature included in iOS to restrict students to the Desmos Test Mode app.

Important Details for Chrome and/or Chromebooks:

Dan Meyer informed me that Desmos Test App is also available as a Chrome App for use on Chromebooks and other laptops/desktops. My immediate wondering was whether there was a way to restrict students from accessing other websites on their device. Dan mentioned that this was possible by using something called “Kiosk Mode”. While I have not personally used this mode, here is a post that might give you some more details.

By following the three steps above, you will ensure that you are following all of the EQAO Guidelines for the Grade 9 Assessment of Mathematics.

Personally, I believe that the free Desmos Test Mode app offers students a more intuitive way to leverage the features of a typical graphing calculator. I know that most of my students in grade 9 applied are hesitant to use the TI-83, simply because it is difficult to remember the series of steps necessary to achieve the graphical representation they are looking for. This can be more of a burden for struggling students than an asset.

I’m excited to see whether Desmos Test Mode has an impact on our EQAO Success Rates and to hear what the students have to say about the experience.

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About Kyle Pearce

I’m Kyle Pearce and I am a former high school math teacher. I’m now the K-12 Mathematics Consultant with the Greater Essex County District School Board, where I uncover creative ways to spark curiosity and fuel sense making in mathematics. Read more.

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