The assessment is technology-based and can be administered on almost any technological platform using only an internet connection. Students' work is scored automatically and results are typically reported back to the teachers in less than one week.
When we administer the Diagnostic Assessment as part of the HALF intervention, we use a classroom set of iPads, a closed wireless network and a mobile server. This makes classroom implementation easier because we do not need to contend with many of the typical issues that researchers encounter when using technology to collect data in schools such as compatibility issues with a school's network, firewalls, and wifi password. In addition, delivering the assessment over a closed network rather than an open Internet connection improves classroom management. Students' answers to the assessed items are transmitted over the closed network directly to the mobile server, which helps ensure student privacy and data security.
The assessment is delivered as an extensible web portal in the form of a Ruby-on-Rails application and a MySQL database. This software was developed by the HALF research team specifically for ease of item development and test administration. The assessment items are displayed as dynamically-generated HTML web forms in the students' local web browsers and their responses transmitted directly to the closed server, where the responses are saved and aggregated via SQL scripts. No student response or performance data are saved directly to the individual iPads.