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Educational Software Thread, NFER (National Foundation of Educational Research) 2012 main survey in Technical; Has anyone else come across the NFER PISA 2012 main survey system? I've just been handed a USB drive and ...
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    A10
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    NFER (National Foundation of Educational Research) 2012 main survey

    Has anyone else come across the NFER PISA 2012 main survey system?

    I've just been handed a USB drive and manual for this survey software that we will be supposedly undertaking in September. I don't think I've ever see such a suspicious set of instructions.

    Basically we are supposed to run the software on this USB drive on each of the computers that will be used in the survey to confirm they meet the specifications and then return the drive to NFER. I don't know what everyone elses opinion is, but personally I dislike this kind of approach - let me tell you if we meet your specifications, and if I'm wrong then it's my fault. As part of this process you are also obliged to run their virus checker - their own notes state that the schools own antivirus will detect this as a virus ... 'This is normal and should be ignored'. Yeah right!

    All the information that is gathered by this process is written back to the USB drive as a Truecrypt encrypted file. So there is no way we can see what information has been gathered. Again - why is this necessary?

    On the testing day the students will need to "log in to the computer as a user with administrative rights" WTF??? Is there any school stupid enough to think this is a good idea? They do say that "if there are security concerns about having students logged into computers with full administrative rights..."

    Am I alone in thinking that not one bit of this process is acceptable - or even professional?

    Of course, as is usual with schools, we are under pressure to just do this regardless.

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    Actually still battling this... Even with a special security group allowing local admin rights, students still can't run it.

    It's come at the worst time with a huge summer project and the resulting battering we've had at the beginning of term.

    Everything about it is suspect, especially running their antivirus on our PCs.

    The manual is quick to stress that it is a Windows issue for needing administrative rights, but I wonder what exactly the exam client needs to do that requires these sort of rights.

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    We have also been asked to get ready for this survey, with a condensed set of instructions and a USB key. We too have concerns. What software ? website ? are the students going to have to access to complete the survey ? and why do students need admin rights ?, why does it tell us not to update the anti-virus software on the USB drive ? We are going to make sure our anti-virus software is up to date and run a scan on their memory stick !

    Does anyone have any answers?

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    Quote Originally Posted by greenj2 View Post
    We have also been asked to get ready for this survey, with a condensed set of instructions and a USB key. We too have concerns. What software ? website ? are the students going to have to access to complete the survey ? and why do students need admin rights ?, why does it tell us not to update the anti-virus software on the USB drive ? We are going to make sure our anti-virus software is up to date and run a scan on their memory stick !

    Does anyone have any answers?
    No idea, but here's how I managed to get it working in our environment (warning- gore)

    Security group containing the PCs to be used for testing
    GPO filtered by that group that adds a local administrator account
    Local account to be used only in test situation (we will log in to it beforehand) and PCs to probably be rebuilt afterwards.

    It's ridiculous, just to run a full-screened portable Firefox with some rubbishy quiz software built in (check the USB stick... Apache server?!)

    Only upside is that the local administrator won't get proxy settings so no anonymous internet access.

    Nobody knows which room has been booked for this exam (we have our date now) so I didn't even test it on the right machines. What is the point?

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    Hello,
    Just curious on how everyone is getting / got on?
    We've run the diagnostic crap, but we logged in as a student, right-clicked the PISAmenu.exe and ran as administrator. I assume the test will be in a similar manner, eg PISAtest.exe?
    Cheers,
    Jon

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    wadtech's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jonspurs View Post
    Hello,
    Just curious on how everyone is getting / got on?
    We've run the diagnostic crap, but we logged in as a student, right-clicked the PISAmenu.exe and ran as administrator. I assume the test will be in a similar manner, eg PISAtest.exe?
    Cheers,
    Jon
    We ran ours the other day, it works in exactly the same way, PISAmenu.exe. Click the test (or exam, or something) button and it runs the same old basic check before opening the exam proper (the diagnostics options are also available)

    It runs a full-screen portable firefox with a javascript-based test. You may be prompted to allow apache through the firewall but I don't think it actually dials out anywhere.

    Our invigilators weren't very well versed in running it but they did have documentation with them, they'll have a master password that you have to enter to show the student ID/password screen which is where it should be ready for the students.

    All in all went pretty smoothly, just weird how it's so 'do this,' without any proper explanation.

  7. Thanks to wadtech from:

    jonspurs (20th November 2012)

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    Wadtech thanks alot for your reply, you've made it clear, which the PISA crap didn't. We're going to do the 'Run as administrator' option, hopefully will be as smooth as your method.
    Next time any software / test that comes along with 'admin rights' we're just going to decline.

    Let you know how we get on.
    Jon

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    Quote Originally Posted by jonspurs View Post
    Wadtech thanks alot for your reply, you've made it clear, which the PISA crap didn't. We're going to do the 'Run as administrator' option, hopefully will be as smooth as your method.
    Next time any software / test that comes along with 'admin rights' we're just going to decline.

    Let you know how we get on.
    Jon
    No problem.

    Our approach was a bit belt-and-braces but thankfully the teacher who had to arrange the exam and the invigilators were all happy to pitch in and click a few buttons/type a few passwords.

    As an interesting aside: Our invigilator mentioned that another school didn't have to do the computer part since they didn't pass diagnostics (hmmm!).

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    jonspurs (20th November 2012)

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    Yo,
    Just to say it all went fine on our end...run as administrator.
    Next time i reckon diagnostics 'won't work'... ;-)

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    We said no thanks and were told by the DFE in no uncertian terms we WOULD do the survey!
    Agree if written correctly NON of it requires admin rights Grrrr



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