Since I frequently use my iPad in the classroom to make applications and materials accessible for my visual impairment, it’s only natural that I use my iPad on tests and exams as well. Since having unrestricted access to my iPad during exams goes against the honor code, I use a tool called Guided Access that ensures I have access to the tools I need, and my professor can ensure I don’t have access to anything they don’t want me to. Here is how to use Guided Access for testing and exam proctoring, and how it helps me as a student with low vision.
Guided Access is a setting on the iPad that allows a user to “freeze” their screen on a specific app. While Guided Access is enabled, the user can’t navigate away from the app they are using or interact with other settings until the time limit is over (if enabled) or a passcode unrelated to the iPad passcode is typed in. Users can also choose to enable or disable the following functions:
Guided access does not disable accessibility settings such as VoiceOver, large print, or otherwise affect the display of the device.
From the Apple website
To start a Guided Access session with Siri, open the app that you want, then tell Siri “Turn on Guided Access.”
Triple-click the Side or Home button, enter your Guided Access passcode, then tap End. Or if you turned on Touch ID or Face ID for Guided Access, double-click the Side or Home button.
For my college Disability Services file, I have an accommodation that states I can use my personal assistive technology in the classroom and testing environments. The Disability Services Testing Center enforces this accommodation by having me use Guided Access on my iPad so they can monitor what technology I am using and when, and the testing proctor sets it up for me. I do not have accommodations to use any specific application since the technology requirements for my classes vary so much. The Disability Services Testing Center requires that my device be in Airplane Mode so that I cannot access Bluetooth or wifi, and they clear the cache/data of the application before exiting Guided Access.
I explain Guided Access to my professors as a way for me to use my iPad during tests without having an unfair advantage over other students. After all, it makes sense for me to use familiar technology in a testing environment so that I can best demonstrate my knowledge about a topic without having to take a test and balance using unfamiliar technology at the same time. I take my tests in the Disability Services Testing Center whenever possible because the proctor is more familiar with assistive technology.
For standardized testing in high school, I received permission to use a specific application, such as a calculator on a school iPad with Guided Access enabled. A paraprofessional or other person who was not proctoring the test would enable Guided Access for me in advance.
While any app can be used with Guided Access, apps that do not require internet access or have ads work best in testing environments. I do not recommend using Guided Access with an internet browser app, as users can easily navigate to a different webpage if the search bar is not disabled.
Some of the ways I use my iPad with Guided Access during exams include:
By Veronica Lewis/Veronica With Four Eyes, www.veroniiiica.com
Updated October 2023; original post published February 2018.
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