State Testing: What Headsets Will You Need?

Spring has arrived, and with it, the school standardized testing season. Throughout the country, students will soon be taking state tests. TELPAS, PARCC WCAP, SBAC and more. Educators and testing coordinators preparing for testing will need headsets for use with the test so that students can complete listening comprehension and speaking exercises. Many state tests have requirements for these headsets to make sure they will be compatible with the testing software, and schools will need to navigate these requirements to find a headset style that will work and fit their budget. In this post, we outline some of the headset requirements and spotlight three of the most popular styles for schools to purchase. 

So, what are the headset requirements? Some testing requires headsets used must have a microphone for speaking exercises and must sit on the students’ ears and not in them (meaning that earbud styles are excluded). Using an over-the-ear headphone style instead of earbuds is also more comfortable for most students and allows them to fully focus on the test. Headsets must have a double earpiece (no single-ear styles), have stereo sound, and utilize a single, 3.5mm TRRS plug to connect into the computer. Styles with a single TRRS plug will simplify set-up, as teachers and students won’t need to deal with multiple plugs for earphones and microphones. Additional requirements are:

Driver unit size: 32mm

Frequency Response: 20 – 20,000 Hz

Impedance: 32 Ohms

Microphone Frequency Response: 100 – 12,000 Hz

Microphone Impedance: 3,320 Ohms

Using the right headsets for testing is essential so that student responses are clear and can be properly assessed.

Encore Data Products carries a wide range of headsets that fit these requirements. Here are three of the most popular styles used by our customers:

  • Soundnetic SN503: These headsets are one of the most affordable styles that our customers. The boom microphone is adjustable so each student can move it to the most comfortable position for them. The SN503 has a braided cord that helps prevent fraying, meaning these headsets can stand up to heavy use. Each one comes with a plastic storage bag, making it easy for students to store their headsets after testing.
  • AVID Education AE-55: The AE-55 was designed with the TELPAS test in mind. The ambidextrous design allows the microphone to rotate 270 degrees, so students can put these headsets on in either direction and the microphone will work. The cord comes with a Velcro tie that will keep cords from tangling with each other when the headsets are stored. The leatherette earpads are easy to clean and can be wiped down between uses.
  • ThinkWrite 90103: ThinkWrite headsets have a larger earpiece that is meant to fit over the student ’s entire ear. This guarantees comfort during applications requiring the student to wear the headset for a long period of time. Volume control on the cord of the 90103 allows students to adjust audio volume as needed. The microphone has a stiff plastic arm for maximum durability; it can also swivel up out of the way when not needed or when the headsets are stored. ThinkWrite headsets have a wide range of applications in addition to TELPAS, making them a good investment for computer and language labs.

With any of these headsets, students will not be hindered by unreliable or incorrect equipment. Instead, students will be able to focus entirely on their exam, enabling them to achieve their highest potential. As testing kicks off for some schools (and wraps up for others), we wish all students good luck on their exams this spring and in the fall!