Technical requirements and other considerations

The following sets out the technical requirements schools should consider before registering an interest in delivering a digital examination.

Schools

To deliver a digital examination schools will need:

  • an internet connection that is reliable and is capable of managing the number of students taking part in the digital examination being online at the same time
  • WiFi or cabled connections in the buildings where students will sit the assessments.

We will work with you on the technical elements you will need to take part in these exams as we progress these assessments.

Student device specifications

iPads and touch screen portable devices

iPads and touch screen portable devices are not recommended for NZQA Digital Trials and Pilots in 2017.

Laptop and desktop computers

Students sitting an assessment on a laptop or desktop computer will be able to type their responses using the keyboard. The majority of laptops and desktops are supported provided they have a recent internet browser installed.

Netbooks may be able to run the digital examination, but are unlikely to be the best choice of device because they generally have very small screens and slow processors.

Browser options

 

Minimum Version

Recommended Version

Google Chrome:

53

Current

Firefox:

44

Current

Safari:

8

Current

2017 Digital Trials and Pilots: other considerations

Schools wishing to participate in the 2017 Digital Trials and Pilots should also consider the following.

  • A separate room from those sitting the paper examination will be required for candidates sitting the Digital Pilot examinations.
  • For those in a computer room using school provided computers:
  1. Can candidates easily view another candidate’s screen?  How can screen peeking be prevented?
  2. Are the students familiar with the computer?
  • Each room used for Digital Pilot examinations will need a computer for the digital examination supervisor to use for monitoring purposes.
  • Candidates may use their own devices if the school has a Bring Your Own Device programme and supporting policies.
    • Candidates must be very familiar with the device they will use for their examination.
    • Candidates should be using a computer often in the classroom as part of their learning.
    • Devices should be fully charged and virus free. The device battery should be able to last for three hours.
    • Screen savers should be disabled.
    • There should be a minimum screen resolution of 600*800.
  • Schools will need to consider the support structures (e.g. access to power, network, cabling) that will be required.
  • Schools should consult with their IT administrators and technicians when assessing their readiness to undertake digital examinations. Things to take into consideration include:
    • The school’s internet access using WiFi/hardwired infrastructure should be able to manage a large number of users in the same period with minimal reduction in performance.
    • Technical support will need to be available on the day of the examination.
    • Must have trialled the expected cohort at the same time using the end of year examination equipment under examination conditions using a Trial/Familiarisation Activity.
    • Computer updates should be disabled for the period of the examination.
  • Schools also need to consider their candidates’ readiness to input their responses, for example, by considering their handwriting versus typing speeds, their familiarity with the device, and the extent to which they use devices in the classroom.
  • Familiarisation Activities will be provided by NZQA that will assist schools to further evaluate their readiness for the Digital Trials and Pilots, and to ensure candidate familiarisation with the ‘look and feel’ of a digital examination.
  • Schools are advised to consult with their Exam Centre Manager (ECM), as soon as possible, if they plan to participate in a Digital Pilot.
  • Schools should have an ECM and supervisors who are comfortable with the technology used during digital examinations.
  • The supervisor should have a basic understanding of computer technology.
  • It is also recommended that candidates are taught to take brief breaks (“micropauses”) during the examination to relieve eyestrain and muscular tension.

Examination room setup

  • The room will need to be set up so that screen peeking is minimised.
    • If using WiFi, every desk should be tested.
    • A computer and internet access must be provided for the supervisor so they can monitor the examination.
    • The digital examination room should comply with Health and Safety regulations (i.e. power wires not a hazard to students/teachers etc).
  • There will be training for digital examination supervisors later this year. In late June we will contact the ECMs of schools wishing to participate in Digital Pilots and advise them to make contact with their school’s Principal’s Nominee.
  • Candidates and teachers who participate in the Digital Trials and/or Pilots will be asked to complete a survey. This will provide NZQA with valuable feedback to help inform their next steps.
 
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