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MIS Systems Thread, a2c Exchange (the new exam board exchange) in Technical; I have searched to see if anyone has mentioned with piece of software and it appears not, so either noone ...
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    a2c Exchange (the new exam board exchange)

    I have searched to see if anyone has mentioned with piece of software and it appears not, so either noone is using it yet (likely) or our filtering and firewall rules are horribly strict and stopping it from working (also likely).

    Basically the new way to get exam results from several exam boards is throuh this software, replacing the older web exchange, you download the software install it, then are required to get access keys from the relevant exam boards put them into the software and that is it.

    When I have entered the exam board access keys it does an online check of some kind, this fails for me (we use Smoothwall). I have checked the smoothwall logs to check if the the site the software is trying to access is simply blocked, but nothing shows in the http or https logs, so I have nothing to go on from there.

    So my question is does anyone have this working already? If so did you need to unblock any sites or ports?

    If noone can offer any help then I will work out what is blocking it myself step by step and then ofcourse tell others of the problems I have had, and what I have done to solve them.

    Be warned this software is coming to your school by August this year!

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    same boat: putting it off till half term :-)

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    MGSTech's Avatar
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    Working all OK here (LA supplied Websence filtering)

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    I have it working here on smoothwall. You need to allow the following sites.
    https://a2c.cambridgeassessment.org.uk
    https://a2c.pearson.com/A2CEbXmlService
    https://a2c.wjec.co.uk
    https://a2c.aqa.org.uk
    https://a2c.ccea.org.uk
    https://a2cssl.cityandguilds.com

    They also need to be in Authentication exceptions as well (If you are using NTLM)

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    robk's Avatar
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    It also seems that write access is needed to c:\programdata\microsoft\crypto is required to register exam boards. an error of "invalid access key" indicates correct password, but no write access.

    All good fun!

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    Smoothwall - It's a kinda magic

    Quote Originally Posted by Achandler View Post
    If noone can offer any help then I will work out what is blocking it myself step by step and then ofcourse tell others of the problems I have had, and what I have done to solve them.
    @Achandler - looks like you have a solution now, but if you are still struggling, don't forget Smoothwall have their dedicated support forum on here under the Direct Support menu, and they can help you out with any troubleshooting. Plus it's a part of their contract to hang around on the other forums, so if you mention them three times in any one post they magically appear @tom_newton @tom_newton @tom_newton It'd be useful for them to be in on something like this that will likely affect all of their other customers.

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    Installed on Exams officers system and all the necessary access keys are installed and registered but I am getting some very confusing information on when and how we are supposed to start using this software?

    According to the email that came from JCQ: "After August 2012, you will not be able to use EDI unless you have downloaded the Migration Application. As soon as you have completed the set up of the migration application, you are advised by the awarding organisations and the JCQ to start using it straight away."

    According to the A2C JCQ web site: "Between September 2012 and December 2014 your MIS supplier will let you know when they have developed their systems in line with A2C. You will switch over to the new system following guidance from your MIS supplier. Any MIS training requirements will be your MIS supplier's responsibility"

    According to Capita Supportnet: "Awarding Organisations will make their Basedata Product Catalogues available in the new format by mid-2012, ready for the new academic year. Our 2012 development plan in the SIMS Exams area will convert the new format Basedata Product Catalogues (that will be in xml format), into a set of tables within the database to match the A2C data schema. September 2013 remains the launch date for the full functionality. We will also provide in SIMS a user interface to browse this data."

    These timescales just don't tally??? I have said to our exams officer that there may be an update to Exams organiser in the next Sims update but don't have any mor info on this, does anyone else?

    Thanks

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    They've mailed us (well Exams Officer) twice now, with a "Go look at all the useful info" links.

    It's a 5-page presentation with no useful info. And if you email them, they don't respond.

    This thread is the most info I've had on the topic in about a year.
    Last edited by pete; 1st February 2012 at 12:01 PM.

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    I've just had a meeting with the Exams Officer regarding this. Just so I could be around when they try to install it. This thread has me concerned now.

    Pete

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    There are 2 phases to this project. The first phase (called the Transport Phase) is to be completed by August 2012. This phase will replace your current method for carrying the files produced by your MIS. We currently use RM Securenet. We are waiting for the invitation to switch over.

    AQA told me that as our centre number starts with a 5, we will be quite late on in the project. However, an email from JCQ in response to a query from me says "Avco Systems are currently in the process of contacting centres and inviting them to download the Migration Application and provide support and guidance. Due to the large number of centres that need to be invited, it is not possible to provide an exact date, although we do expect all centres to have been invited by April this year. To ensure fairness, the order in which centres are invited is random."

    The second phase has an end date of December 2014 (has already been extended once or twice). This phase will involve changes in your MIS in the way that the information is sent to JCQ. All the MIS providers have been informed by JCQ - not sure if the whole thing has been designed yet - probably not if the date is more than 2 years away now.

    This is as much as I know.

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    Quote Originally Posted by andyrite View Post
    I have it working here on smoothwall. You need to allow the following sites.
    https://a2c.cambridgeassessment.org.uk
    https://a2c.pearson.com/A2CEbXmlService
    https://a2c.wjec.co.uk
    https://a2c.aqa.org.uk
    https://a2c.ccea.org.uk
    https://a2cssl.cityandguilds.com

    They also need to be in Authentication exceptions as well (If you are using NTLM)
    Thanks for that - I was struggling to get it working until I saw the Authentication exceptions bit.

    Still can't get Edexcel to work though and can't find an url to add to the list.

    <edit> The Pearson one is Edexcel but it doesn't work for me. Can't get any joy out of either Edexcel or A2C.</edit>


    HBJB
    Last edited by Heebeejeebee; 1st February 2012 at 02:50 PM.

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    If it is the piece of software I think it is we found that it doesn't use IE or System proxy details and only has a form to put proxy authentication details in. When we asked about this we were given a link to an MSDN article on how to edit .Net configs. Sent that back asking how much we were to charge for consultancy and programming fees.
    It has been resolved as I know the boss got it working. I'll ask him when he is back in what happened.

    EDIT: Just asked and in the end we got them to send us an adjusted config file.
    Last edited by TechMonkey; 1st February 2012 at 03:14 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Heebeejeebee View Post
    Thanks for that - I was struggling to get it working until I saw the Authentication exceptions bit.

    Still can't get Edexcel to work though and can't find an url to add to the list.

    <edit> The Pearson one is Edexcel but it doesn't work for me. Can't get any joy out of either Edexcel or A2C.</edit>


    HBJB
    I just added pearson.com to the allow list for that.

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    I found a2c.pearson.com worked for us.

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    Quote Originally Posted by GNewnham View Post
    There are 2 phases to this project. The first phase (called the Transport Phase) is to be completed by August 2012. This phase will replace your current method for carrying the files produced by your MIS. We currently use RM Securenet. We are waiting for the invitation to switch over.

    AQA told me that as our centre number starts with a 5, we will be quite late on in the project. However, an email from JCQ in response to a query from me says "Avco Systems are currently in the process of contacting centres and inviting them to download the Migration Application and provide support and guidance. Due to the large number of centres that need to be invited, it is not possible to provide an exact date, although we do expect all centres to have been invited by April this year. To ensure fairness, the order in which centres are invited is random."

    The second phase has an end date of December 2014 (has already been extended once or twice). This phase will involve changes in your MIS in the way that the information is sent to JCQ. All the MIS providers have been informed by JCQ - not sure if the whole thing has been designed yet - probably not if the date is more than 2 years away now.

    This is as much as I know.
    That makes a bit more sense now and ties in with the timescales that Capita are quoting. The email from JCQ is still nonsense though as we can't start to use it until Sims Exams module is updated.

    Thanks.

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