A Master of Arts thesis in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) by Arwa Abdelhamid entitled, "English Language Testing on iPads: Advantages and Disadvantages," submitted December 2015. Thesis advisor is Dr. Cindy L. Gunn. Soft and hard copy available.
Recently, tablet computers, such as iPads, have been incorporated into many school curricula, and studies have been conducted to explore the effectiveness of iPads as educational tools. This study goes one step further and investigates how iPads are being used for testing. In particular, the study investigates whether the advantages of testing on iPads outweigh the disadvantages. A small-scale study was carried out at an institution of higher education in the Middle East where students and teachers in the language program use iPads regularly for all classroom tasks and assessments. Questionnaires were distributed to students and teachers and interviews were conducted with teachers to help identify their perspectives. To evaluate how students' experiences of testing on iPads compare with testing on paper and desktop computers, two different language tests were administered using different modes of delivery, and students' feedback was obtained through notes taken during guided in-class discussions. Results from the combined data indicate that both students and teachers are in favor of computer-based assessment (CBA) in general, but there are reservations about the iPad's effectiveness as an assessment tool. The main concerns among students are technical difficulties and typing. Teachers are also concerned about technical problems but are even more apprehensive about the time involved in setting up iPads for assessments, as well as the issue of test security. Students also seem to have different attitudes towards the various modes of testing, with some favoring tests on iPads, and others preferring tests on paper. There is agreement among teachers that for testing, laptops and desktops remain superior to iPads.