Check school infrastructure

Having a secure and strong internet connection is key to ensuring a successful digital exam experience for your students.

We’re working with Network for Learning (N4L) and the Ministry of Education to help schools and kura be confident about the capacity and reliability of your digital infrastructure for the level of NCEA Online participation that is right for your students. 

Virtual local area networks (VLANs) and Whitelisting

For a secure, authentic and positive experience, we recommend the use of whitelisting, which limits student access only to the digital exam platform and NZQA’s website.

So that this doesn’t affect the rest of the school or kura, you’ll need to segregate your network traffic. This can be done in different ways depending on your setup, such as setting up a VLAN. 

Common questions 

What work is the Ministry of Education doing to upgrade schools’ infrastructure? 

Check out the Ministry’s website with information about their Te Mana Tūhono programme to support schools to monitor, maintain and manage their networks.

The Ministry is partnering with N4L to provide small and remote schools, schools with the oldest equipment, and schools who choose to offer NCEA exams online, the opportunity to opt-in to receive equipment replacements as first priority.  

What are the benefits of implementing a virtual local area network (VLAN)/whitelisting?

The benefits for schools/kura and students of these arrangements include:

  • VLANs improve network performance by separating part of the LAN, so that a portion of the overall bandwidth is dedicated for use by students sitting exams 
  • VLANs separate exam traffic from other internet traffic to help minimise the impact of the restriction on other parts of the school
  • whitelisting helps manage security and authenticity
  • whitelisting supports students to have an authentic and positive exam experience and prevents potential security breaches so that they can’t inadvertently go to other websites or access web services like auto translate browser extensions. The students’ access is limited to only those websites and features allowed during the exam period (i.e. digital exam platform and NZQA website).

Is it compulsory to have whitelisting for digital language exams?

For a secure, authentic and positive experience, we recommend the use of whitelisting for digital language exams. This limits student access only to the digital exam platform and NZQA’s website.

So that this doesn’t affect the rest of the school or kura, you’ll need to segregate your network traffic. This can be done in different ways depending on your setup, such as setting up a virtual local area network (VLAN).

How do I find out about installing a virtual local area network (VLAN)?

N4L may be able to advise where your kura or school is placed in the Network Hardware Replacement programme that is currently underway.

What technical support is available on digital exam days?

Schools with their own technical staff should plan to have people available on digital exam days for things like helping a student with a device issue or if an exam room has connectivity issues.

What are some network tips for exam day?

  • Make sure you have technical support available during the exam, either on-site or off-site.
  • Prioritise the digital exam traffic. Restrict use of the network in year 9 and 10 classes and other connected devices, for example phones.
  • Segregate your network, especially for larger digital exam sessions.

  

Student using computer

Return to Getting ready for digital exams

 
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