Implementation resources: Preparations for first live assessment

 

This article is a supplement to the Implementation Guide and provides information about IT infrastructure and tips on how to prepare candidates for the first live assessment. 

Content

 

IT infrastructure

Conducting digital assessments requires the setup of both physical and digital infrastructure to ensure that assessments run smoothly. During the project, it is important to evaluate your IT infrastructure to ensure that it meets the necessary requirements. The requirements are dependent on your scope, such as the number of students, use of lock-down browser, and whether you aim to use your own computer labs or have assessments using a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) strategy.

 

System requirements

Operation systems

Inspera Assessment supports the following devices:

  • PC (Windows)
  • Mac (macOS)
  • iPad (iOS)
  • Chromebook (Chrome OS)
  • Linux (Ubuntu)
Note: Inspera Integrity Browser and Inspera Proctoring only supports Windows and macOS.

 

Lock-down and web browsers

For full information on requirements for lock-down browsers and web browsers, please see System requirements

 

Firewall filtering

Inspera Assessment can be used without a lock-down browser by allowing access to specified destinations through the whitelisting feature in the firewall. The firewall can be configured to block all resources other than the DNS name Inspera Assessment uses. Inspera provides a list of DNS names (10-12 depending on the services used) that can be whitelisted. In addition, the whitelisted destinations must be added to the firewall. See also the List of DNS names article. 

 

Physical infrastructure for onsite assessments

Power Consumption 

Power consumption levels differ depending upon the type of device in use. In the planning phase, it is important to take into account which scenarios you initially want to support along with what might be desirable in the future. When desktop PCs are used as clients, each assessment seat must be equipped with two sockets. In other cases, one socket per seat will suffice. With ad-hoc infrastructure solutions, it is important that the power distribution scheme complies with electrical installation regulations.

The following figures may be used to budget power consumption:

Client type Power consumption budget Number of clients per 10A circuit Number of clients per 16A circuit
Desktop with screen 200 W 10 15
Laptop PC 100 W 20 30
VDI client 50 W 40 60
Tablet 15 W 100 150

 

Bandwidth

When calculating bandwidth needs for the assessment hall, the contents of the assessment and the choice of task type will affect the bandwidth needs. For example, tasks involving use of video will involve greater bandwidth than plain text. The network traffic will wax and wane, with the heaviest traffic occurring when the candidates start their assessments, and in the finishing phase. During the assessment, the traffic will be somewhat lighter.

The following figures may be used for budgeting bandwidth (uplink):

Client type Typical client connection capacity Number of clients per 100Mbit uplink Number of clients per 1Gbit uplink
Desktop PC (wired), open book assessment 1Gbit 50 250
Desktop PC, wired), closed book assessment 1Gbit 100 500
Laptop PC (wired), open book assessment 1Gbit 50 250
Laptop PC (wired), closed book assessment 1Gbit 1000 500
Laptop PC (wireless), open assessment 802.11ac up to 866Mbit 50 per base, 2 bases minimum 250
Laptop PC (wireless), closed book assessment 802.11ac up to 866Mbit 50 per base, 2 bases minimum 250
VDI client 100 Mbit 25 200
Tablet 802.11ac up to 160Mbit 50 per base, 2 bases minimum 250

 

Spare equipment

  • For desktop computers owned by the institution, the spare-equipment factor should be 5%
  • For laptop PCs owned by the institution, the spare-equipment factor should be 5%
  • For BYOD equipment for candidates, the spare-equipment factor should be 10%

 

Infrastructure for desktop computers

A desktop computer with a large screen, set up by the institution, should be permanently set up with:

  • Screen, usually between 20” and 27” in size
  • Ergonomically correct full-size keyboard
  • Ergonomic mouse
  • Updated software
Pros of desktop computers Cons of desktop computers
  • Cheap equipment compared to laptops
  • Quality-controlled by the institution
  • Uses a wired network, so it is easier to control access to external information sources (internet)
  • Takes candidate's comfort and health into account, with a large screen and good keyboard
  • Can be used for extended offline delivery, i.e. assessments and tests launched, conducted and finalised without any internet connection
  • Cannot be moved
  • Mounting costs of purchasing and maintaining equipment. Often costly to expand to a large scale. 

 

Requirements for BYOD (onsite and home assessments)

  • Initially limit BYOD to Macintosh and Windows laptops.
  • Have an adequate service and support apparatus standing by so that the candidates can get help if the equipment is not working.
  • In the beginning, a considerable need for borrowing equipment is to be expected. It is recommended that at least a 10% reserve of spare equipment be purchased.
  • Proven compatibility with the eduroam wireless network (cf. UFS 127) is required.
  • Equipment that keeps starting and stopping the network interface to save power, or similar, should not be used.
  • Drivers on the computers should be updated
  • BYOD equipment should have the appropriate keyboard or language, e.g. English. Otherwise, borrowed (spare) equipment must be used.
  • The computers should have an appropriate version of the operating system.
  • The computers should have an appropriate version and type of browser, compatible with the software used for conducting assessments.
  • Draw up a proposal for recommended equipment.
  • Get a signed statement from the candidates that their own equipment has been verified, that eduroam works and that a test assessment has been held without problems.

If the candidate does not possess a suitable computer and has to borrow one, consider placing all candidates that are borrowing computers in a suitable room. Distributing borrowed devices in various assessment locations and test sittings is a significant amount of work.

 

Offline delivery

For assessments and tests conducted in locations with no internet connection, Inspera’s offline delivery solution ensures the safe and smooth delivery of an unlimited number of tests.

The secure offline package is downloaded in advance for each test sitting and distributed to each learner workstation with a memory stick or similar. The package can only be decrypted using a password available exclusively to Planners, and on devices with a proper certificate installed. Once decrypted and opened on the learner computer, candidates assigned to the test can log in, take the assessment and save their submission as a local file. The submissions are collected using memory stick or similar, and batch uploaded after the assessment has been carried out. Submissions are then available on the Inspera platform as regular online submissions.

Additional information:

 

The offline package

The offline package generated by the Planner and downloaded by the Chief Invigilator, is run in Safe Exam Browser or Inspera Integrity Browser, and contains:

  • The Assessment Player (candidate application)
  • The Question set (assessment paper)
  • Media files used in the question set
  • Learner Ids and Login credentials (only learners assigned to the test session when the package is downloaded can access the test)
  • Invigilator password

The offline packages are double encrypted with X.509 identity on the outside and AES 256 on the inside, offering strong content protection.

For offline assessments where BYOD equipment is used, it is important that the assessment requires only minimal installed software: ideally speaking, just a wireless network (cf. UFS 112) and a lock-down browser.

A standard procedure during an assessment, is for the candidate to use a software called a lock-down browser, to restrict access to other software and local files on their computer. The only accessible content is the assessment and any pre-determined resources/software. This is considered an important approach to prevent the possibility for cheating. 

 

Preparing and informing candidates

A new assessment environment can be an extra source of stress for candidates on their assessment day. We therefore recommend that candidates are prepared in good time prior to taking their assessments with Inspera Assessment.

 

Introducing candidates to digital assessments

Candidates should be informed about any changes, the purpose of the changes, the implications for the candidate, and any actions they need to take regarding these changes. The best approach is often to provide the information multiple times, in a range of formats, over a prolonged period. The more preparation, the better. Information can be provided through a combination of the classroom, emails, candidate information system, and more.

 

Demo tests in Inspera Assessment

Candidates should also be able to familiarise themselves with the new tool, i.e. Inspera Assessment. This can be achieved through the creation of demo tests, where all candidates can try the relevant functionality and question types.

A demo test can also be used to test that the candidates' devices meet the system requirements. You can create multiple demo test with different purposes, e.g. one with Safe Exam Browser (SEB) / Inspera Integrity Browser (IIB) and one without.

Tip: The linked public access demo test is an example of how you can set up demo tests for candidates to familiarise them with some of Inspera Assessment's options and range of questions: Demo Test: Inspera Assessment 

 

For more information about demo tests, how to set them up, and the candidate experience please refer to our Help Center articles Create a demo test and Take a demo test - for candidates 

 

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