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Digital Answer Booklets

SQA provide Digital Answer Booklets (DABs) in PDF and Microsoft Word format. You can download the DABs from SQA's web site. The Word DABs are now in .docx format so they can be opened in the Word app or Pages on the iPad. Note that you don't have to use the SQA DABs if they are not accessible or suitable for the candidate - you can just use your usual text editor or word processor. Just create your own DAB with the relevant information (paper, candidate number etc). SQA do prefer you to use their DABs because they can be processed by theie e-marking and scanning systems.

Word Digital Answer Booklets - with the Word App

Download the DABs for the relevant subjects in advance from SQA's web site. The candidate needs to log in to the app with a Glow or local authority Microsoft Office 365 account in order to edit and type up answers. 

Care is required when typing in candidate details on the front page: it is easy to accidentally move the information boxes. The candidate number in the bottom left on each page can be copied over from the front page by tapping and holding on it, then pressing Update

Text Formatting and content

The Word app has a full range of formatting options to change font, style, colour, size etc together with bullet and word lists. Tables, and images can be inserted into the DAB.

Drawing

Freehand drawing pencil and pens are provided, and a wide range of shapes, lines and arrows.

Maths and equations

There is a basic equation editor.

Text Reader

The iPad's own Speak Selection and other text reader tools can be used. Word provides Immersive Reader in the View ribbon which can alter the appearance of the text and read it with the Read Aloud tool, but the layout looks slightly strange because of the tables that are used in the DAB layout.

Spelling and writing support

The iPad word prediction, Siri and Voice Dictation can all be used, if appropriate for the candidate and subject and permission has been requested and granted using the SQA AAR system. If the candidate does not have permission to use these supports you can turn the iPad tools off in Settings>Keyboard and use Guided Access to lock the candidate into Word, to prevent the candidate from turning them back on. However, Word seems to have it's own built-in spellcheck and we could not find a method to disable it.

Define and Lookup: select and word and choose 'Define' to read a definition; Smart Lookup will do an internet search. These are not permitted in examinations. Smart Lookup does not work if the iPad is not connecetd to the internet, and the Define dictionaries can be deleted: open a definition then tap Manage in the bottom left. Swipe left to delete the dictionaries. As long as the iPad is not connecetd to the internet, the dictionaries cannot be downloaded. 

Viewing Question Paper alongside the DAB

Use the iPad Slide Over or Split View to see both the PDF question paper and your DAB at the same time. 

Word Digital Answer Booklets - with the Pages App

Download the DABs for the relevant subjects in advance from SQA's web site to the iPad itself, or to OneDrive, iCloud, Google Drive etc. When the DAB is opened in Pages you are likely to get a message that the Minion Pro font is missing and that nested tables will display as text. It may be useful to check 

We found that the fonr page with the candidate information did not display correctly - the Date of birth text box disappeared although it was still possible to double tap and enter the data

Care is required when typing in candidate details on the front page: it is easy to accidentally move the information boxes. The candidate number in the bottom left on each page can be copied over from the front page by tapping and holding on it, then pressing Update

The table on the answer pages appears narrower than it should be when opened in Word on the iPad or a Windows machine. 

Text Formatting and content

Pages has a full range of formatting options to change font, style, colour, size etc together with bullet and word lists. Tables, and images can be inserted into the DAB.

Drawing

Freehand drawing pencil and pens are provided, and a wide range of shapes, lines and arrows. We could not find a way to insert a drawing into the table for the answers, however.

Maths and equations

There is a basic equation editor.

Text Reader

The iPad's own Speak Selection and other text reader tools can be used. 

Spelling and writing support

The iPad word prediction, Siri and Voice Dictation can all be used, if appropriate for the candidate and subject and permission has been requested and granted using the SQA AAR system. If the candidate does not have permission to use these supports you can turn the iPad tools off in Settings>Keyboard and use Guided Access to lock the candidate into Pages to prevent the candidate from turning them back on. Pages also it's own built-in spellcheck: this can be disabled in the Pages settings although a candidate could easily switch it back on.

Define and Lookup: select and word and choose 'Define' to read a definition; Smart Lookup will do an internet search. These are not permitted in examinations. Smart Lookup does not work if the iPad is not connecetd to the internet, and the Define dictionaries can be deleted: open a definition then tap Manage in the bottom left. Swipe left to delete the dictionaries. As long as the iPad is not connecetd to the internet, the dictionaries cannot be downloaded. 

Viewing Question Paper alongside the DAB

Use the iPad Slide Over or Split View to see both the PDF question paper and your DAB at the same time. 

PDF Digital Answer Booklets

The PDF DABs can be used with an app such as ClaroPDF or PDF Expert.  ‚ÄčThe PDF DABs are very simple to use, but the number of lines that can fit on one page of a PDF DAB is limited and text does not 'flow' from one page to another, and the options for formatting and changing fonts etc are restricted.

Text Formatting and content

The PDF DABs have 'plain text' answer boxes - the font, font size, colour etc cannot be changed and bullets, numbering and tables are not available.

Drawing

ClaroPDF and PDF Expert both have a good selection of drawing andannotating tools.

Maths and equations

Neither ClaroPDF and PDF Expert have equation editors, although PDF Expert works well with the Apple Pencil or Logitech Crayon for handwriting equations.

Text Reader

The iPad's Speak Selection can be used and both ClaroPDF and PDF Exper also have their own text readers that can be used to read back answers.  

Spelling and writing support

SQA provide PDF DABs with and without spellcheck enabled: but it makes no difference which one you open because the iPad spellchecker works in both.

The iPad spellcheck, word prediction, Siri and Voice Dictation can all be used, if appropriate for the candidate and subject and permission has been requested and granted using the SQA AAR system. If the candidate does not have permission to use these supports you can turn the iPad tools off in Settings and use Guided Access to prevent the candidate from turning them back on. 

Viewing Question Paper alongside the DAB

With both ClaroPDF ad PDF Expert you can have DQP and DAB open at the same time, although you can't actually see them side by side within the app. If you want to see them side by side, open the DQP in e.g. ClaroPDF and the DAB in PDF Expert and use the iPad Slide Over or Split View to see both at same time. 

Candidates with Visual Impairment

Neither PDF not Word DABs are very well suited to the needs of candidates who require high levels of zoom, or who use VoiceOver, mainly because the apps themselves are quite complex to navigate. The PDF apps are possibly simpler and slightly easier to navigate at high zoom, and  the 'Follow Focus' feature in the iPad Zoom works with the PDF DABs but not in Word. We suggest that candidates with visual impairment should:

  • Use a hardware keyboard, so that there is more space on screen for text, and it's easier to touch type.
  • Use the updated Notes app, provided with the iPad, for typing answers. Notes has a simple design, so it is easy to navigate; works well with the Zoom Follow Focus so the cursor follows the text as you type; and works well with VoiceOver.