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General Chat Thread, Going to meet 'The Man' on your behalf in General; @grumbledook - yes - a good point. BECTA are trying to kick off regular (if not frequent) meetings for filter ...
  1. #16


    tom_newton's Avatar
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    @grumbledook - yes - a good point. BECTA are trying to kick off regular (if not frequent) meetings for filter vendors. Would be nice to make sure that those of us who do give a sh1t about education get the info we need to keep our products working as they should.

  2. #17

    john's Avatar
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    Simple and idiot proof, don't take the Edexcel Promisser any futher that is a joke and a big waste of my time. Any online testing software needs to be completly web based and just need a normal internet connection on port 80 thats it! Nothing more complex than that

  3. #18


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    The problem with no client is you cant lock the user down; ie you cant stop them using a calculator or a spell checker.

    What if the "client" wasnt a client in the true sense but just a program which can lock the user into a single web browser session. That way you would only need to create a client for each platform, and in theory (if you get it right) you should never need to do any other client side updates. Any update to the exams would be purerly server side.

  4. #19

    john's Avatar
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    I'd far rather make a mandatory profile that launches IE on a specific home page as the shell of windows and lock off calc, word etc than mess with Promiser.

  5. 2 Thanks to john:

    ButterflyMoon (9th March 2010), Shielder (25th November 2009)

  6. #20
    mortstar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by john View Post
    Simple and idiot proof, don't take the Edexcel Promisser any futher that is a joke and a big waste of my time.......
    +1,000,000

    If the representative from Edexcel offers this as a possible move forward please let them know that it is flakey as hell.

  7. #21

    Dos_Box's Avatar
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    Right, I'm back and can let you all know what happened and what it was all about.
    Firstly. It was attended by pretty much every organisation and company with an interest and involvement with online testing and e-assessment (almost the same thing!). This included BECTA, QCA, AQA, the Exam Invigilators Association (I think they were called, his card is still in my jacket) and even the English Secondary Students Association. In total there about 30 organisations represented.
    Secondly it was not about individual products and picking faults with them. This was about the BIG picture, about what we all felt was required to make online testing and e-assessment work in UK schools, and EduGeek had a very large input into the day, with Tony once again proving that there are few people in the UK as knowledgeable in the field of educational IT, policy and structures. I'm not sure if there will be any follow on meetings, but Ofqual certainly got a lot of feedback from us all, and enough to start generating some kinds of policies to ensure that testing can take place successfully across all UK schools. I'll list a few point we and others brought to the fore which you can all discuss if you like, particularly one that I shall highlight:

    1. Standardisation - All testing platforms should operate over common ports and standards, and all RBCs and LEAs should be made aware of all servers and requirements so as to ensure that both developers and schools can run tests on systems which are already 'cleared'. This includes non-standard ports and server name lists so as to avoid accidental black listing, One company suggested that a list be submitted to BECTA every September so as to allow for development and upgrades to take place and this information can then be disseminated to the relevant RBC\LEAs.

    2. Logistics. To run mass online testing requires a LOT of computers to be made available in manageable areas. The average secondary school will have 200 pupils in year 11. If they were all to be doing an online test at the same time it would create a lot of problems getting bums on seats in front of computers. Of course, one of the aims of online testing is that they don't all have to do the exam at the same time and the exam can be staggered. This problem however is magnified with the advent of BSF schools and the decentralisation of IT equipment i.e. no large ICT suites. In this event it is highly recommended that schools still in the planning stages of BSF ensure that a room can be cabled up and have enough desking to be converted to an exam suite in the future, because online testing IS coming, make no mistakes about that, and you need to plan your resources appropriately.
    *Please discuss this as some parties wanted feedback about just how a current school could provision for a mass online exam if they had too.

    3. Training. Remember the KS3 testing platform any of us had to install and get working then ensure that all the different parts works as they should? Remember that we no training to do any of the things we were managing? Well, this should change. Neither techies, invigilators or school admin staff has any training in the testing systems, yet all were involved to one degree or another. The training mostly went to teachers who never used the platform. This is a mis-direction of resources, and hopefully in the future anyone who has need of training on a particular exam system should be trained correctly, and simply because they are a teacher.

    There are a few more points, but I shall post up the report on the day once I receive it, but in short, EduGeek put your views across very well and they were all noted and well received. Now all we have to do is find out how to test 200 pupils at once!

  8. Thanks to Dos_Box from:

    alan-d (24th November 2009)

  9. #22
    alan-d's Avatar
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    Testing 200 pupils at once.

    Top of my head response;

    Normal ICT suites may not be aqequate as very often the students can view each others screens.

    Laptops in a hall - wireless connection for 200 connections simultaniously. Possibly hard wire them temporarily but still leaves you to find 200 laptops from around the school which also has a knock on effect for those lessons that would normally be using them.

    Possible solution - the exams come on a numbered flash drive and are completed then handed in like exam papers are today. Sent to the exam board and uploaded.

    The exams vary to enable 2 or 3 sessions. This would mean that those students taking the exam in session 1 won't be able to tell those in subsequent sessions what the questions are.

    Brain dead at the mo - may come back with more later

  10. #23

    SYSMAN_MK's Avatar
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    Not beingSecondary I'm not to clued up on this so please ignor if I'm way off but how about the exam boards supplying the kit needed? Pre-configured server in a box complete with netbooks for example?

  11. #24

    Dos_Box's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SYSMAN_MK View Post
    Not beingSecondary I'm not to clued up on this so please ignor if I'm way off but how about the exam boards supplying the kit needed? Pre-configured server in a box complete with netbooks for example?
    Not sure, this was beyond the remit of the day, athough I did talk to many exam board people and they were suggesting it would be 'live' over the internet for many tests, all done in real time and 'on demand' i.e pupils took exams when they were ready too directly linking in with the boards servers and the results would be published directly to the school and pupil in a very short space of time.
    There will of course be 'local' models which they sent the finished 'papers' to to a central source to be marked.

  12. #25

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dos_Box View Post
    The average secondary school will have 200 pupils in year 11.
    .
    .
    .
    There are a few more points, but I shall post up the report on the day once I receive it, but in short, EduGeek put your views across very well and they were all noted and well received. Now all we have to do is find out how to test 200 pupils at once!
    We have approx 150 pupils per year here - we have four computer rooms with x32 computers in each, and one computer room with x24, so assuming that the rooms could be freed up and enough invigilators found then there might just be enough computers, however I'm sure I remember seeing some guidelines somewhere saying that only every-other computer should be used to prevent the students seeing each others screens, so that would cut down the number of usable computers a lot.

    Peter.

  13. #26

    GrumbleDook's Avatar
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    A slight addition to this thread ... feel free to have a look at this questionnaire (and the website it is asking you to comment on) and please complete it ... also pass it on to your Exams Officer and whichever member of SLT deals with curriculum development (ie choosing which courses / exam boards your school uses).

    Questionnaire : Efutures evaluation

  14. #27
    contink's Avatar
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    Can I ask one really stupid question here..

    What the heck is all so fired important about online testing?

    Are there any reasons other than "Oooh it's a new shiny toy" about the approach that make it vital?

    In part I'm being derisive but I'm also very interested to know if there are some honest to goodness valid reasons for using online testing at all...

  15. #28

    GrumbleDook's Avatar
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    Ok ... taking a step back and I apologies if I am telling folk to suck eggs, but there is such a wide range of people on EG I am bound to be stating the obvious to some and saying something new to others.

    The way the existing curriculum was set up (years ago ... you will still hear people talking about us using a Victorian or Edwardian model designed to fit around factories) the idea was that you had skills and knowledge thrown at you and some stuck. At the end of the throwing you were stuck in a room and formally tested. It had to be done at the end of the throwing ... but a good number of schools did some 'mock' testing as you went through.

    Coursework and modular units meant that you get tested at the end when you had done that chunk of work ... but all based on sitting down in a room and putting pen to paper.

    Nowadays it is accepted that it is not so much throwing stuff at kids ... but once they have learnt the basic bit of catching there are lots of different places to get the skills and knowledge from ... not just the person at the front of the class. This means kids work at different paces ... so they finish their units and are sat around waiting until everyone else has finished.

    The idea is that they can do their test when they have finished the unit. Since this would be almost impossible if you did it on paper they education world is taking a leaf out of professional qualifications and some vocational qualifications. Like it or loathe it ... online tests for certifications generally work. They are not perfect ... but they suit the requirements more than pen and paper do.

    I've skipped over some large points ... but that is the general drive.

  16. Thanks to GrumbleDook from:

    contink (29th March 2010)

  17. #29
    contink's Avatar
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    Thanks Tony... That was I was after...

  18. Thanks to contink from:

    GrumbleDook (29th March 2010)

  19. #30

    Domino's Avatar
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    Going to meet 'The Man' on your behalf

    ....Shaft?

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