Network & Wireless Considerations
The network is one of the most critical components to an online assessment, but the one component that is the most complex. This page will help schools understand the network needs during an online assessment and provide tips to help improve your success with managing your school's network.
Do I have enough bandwidth for the PARCC test?
Absolutely; every school in BPS meets the recommended bandwidth speed for the PARCC test with or without proctor caching.
Do I have enough wireless access points for the PARCC test?
What matters the most in terms of wireless access points is your testing classroom’s distance from the nearest wireless access point and what is in between the computer and the wireless access point. Generally speaking, if a classroom is able to use a class-set of computers for teaching & learning, that room should be set for the PARCC test.
What was the most common problem last year?
The most common issue we saw was delays with students logging in at the start of the test. Once a student has connected to Pearson’s servers, the caching server will take over and students did not have any issues. This problem was universal across the country last year and Pearson has commented that they have fixed the issue.
How will OIIT support my school?
Schools where we know of insufficient wireless are receiving additional assistance this winter/spring with whole-school infrastructure upgrades or additional wireless access points when possible. If you have a classroom where you have to administer the PARCC test but you know that the wireless access is insufficient, please report it to firstname.lastname@example.org as soon as possible. The more advanced notice we receive, the more options we have to resolve wireless issues.
What can I do to prepare my staff and students?
There are a few tips that you can provide to students and staff to help troubleshoot wireless issues during the assessment;
- Proximity matters - Many of our schools have very thick, concrete walls that degrade the wireless signal if they are between the access point and the computer. Limiting the distance between the testing area and the wireless access point will help with connection challenges.
- Avoid overloading a small area - Wireless access points can only handle a certain number of devices connected to them. For example, the kind that you buy for your home will handle about a dozen devices whereas the BPS wireless access points will handle a class set. However, if you have too many classrooms sharing a wireless access point in a small area, it could become overloaded during testing.
- Restart/Rebooting - A small but effective troubleshooting method is to turn the wireless on a laptop on or off if there are connection issues, especially if the laptop has moved locations since connecting. If you do not know how to turn the wireless on or off, you can reboot the device.
- Limit the unnecessary devices on the network - The most common type of device on the network are cell phones, both student and staff phones. The more devices you have on the network, the more those devices are fighting over shared resources. OIIT can reset your school wireless password but do not wait until the day of the PARCC test to do so.
What is Proctor Caching?
Proctor Caching is a system that downloads all of the test content to a server in your school to limit the bandwidth requirement for the test. Student computers will connect to Pearson at the start of each test to verify their identity, but then Pearson will redirect the computers to the school server to download the questions, audio, and video.
How do I configure Proctor Caching?
OIIT has already configured each school’s server so there is nothing that you need to do to prepare for proctor caching.
What kinds of problems might I experience with Proctor Caching?
We have found that Proctor Caching does not cause any issues but some students did experience logging in to the test in the beginning. This was not a problem specific to BPS and have found that Pearson was overloaded with the volume of testing going on around the country during peak times. Once students log in, Pearson redirects their computers back to the proctor caching server in your school and students did not have any more issues.
How can I monitor our Proctor Cache server?
You can view your proctor caching server at any time to see the status of your test content and the connection status of all of your student computers. Click the link to your school’s Proctor Caching dashboard and use the links in the upper right to switch between test content and connected computers.
Click the Link below to view your server