Check school infrastructure

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

Your school also needs to ensure the network has the required coverage and bandwidth for the digital exams offered. The capacity you need will depend on the number of students entered for digital exams and where they are seated in the school. Compared with other internet-based learning and assessment in your school (e.g. streaming, multimedia applications), NCEA Online exams are lower impact on the network.

Options for managing your network performance during the exam period include segregating exam traffic with a VLAN (virtual local area network) or equivalent.

NZQA also strongly recommends you restrict candidate Internet access to the exam platform and NZQA website through whitelisting, to ensure a secure and authentic experience. If you implement this, you will need to segregate your network traffic so others in the kura or school have full Internet access.  

Your IT support will need to be closely involved in making sure your school systems are well set up to support all your students sitting digital exams.  Network for Learning can undertake a network assurance check with your IT people to identify cost effective options specific to your environment.

Testing your internet capacity

To test your internet strength, have all students who are scheduled to complete a digital exam sign onto their device and play this video while in the space you will be using on the day of the exam.

If any of the devices experience lagging or can’t load the video, this suggests you will need to increase your internet bandwidth or segregate your network.  As well as strength, you need to consider coverage and test for any dead zones in exam rooms.

Network for Learning support

NZQA will be partnering again with Network for Learning (N4L) to provide network assurance checks for schools with students entered in digital exams.

This involves working with your school’s local IT support to check internet equipment in exam rooms, assess the performance of wireless infrastructure and determine if there are wireless connection ‘dead spots’.

This report provides information on points of improvement to strengthen your network if required.

N4L will contact schools in term 3 to gather information before they conduct a network assurance check.  

Network tips for on the day of an exam

Student using computer

  • 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 e.g. phones
  • Segregate your network, especially for larger digital exam sessions

Return to Getting ready for digital exams

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