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Technology Preparation for Online Testing . 2012 – 2013 School Year. Presentation Agenda. Overview of the Minnesota Assessments Portal, Online Systems and Resources for Online Test Preparation Technology Coordinator Roles and Responsibilities Site Readiness Network Requirements

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presentation agenda
Presentation Agenda
  • Overview of the Minnesota Assessments Portal, Online Systems and Resources for Online Test Preparation
  • Technology Coordinator Roles and Responsibilities
  • Site Readiness
  • Network Requirements
  • Hardware and Software Requirements
  • Secure Browser Installation
  • Diagnostic Tools and Configuration Settings
minnesota assessments portal
Minnesota Assessments Portal


Portal Home Page

Technology Coordinator Page

minnesota assessments
Minnesota Assessments
  • Test Information Distribution Engine (TIDE)
  • TestMonitorSite
  • StudentTestingSite
  • OnlineTestingSystem
  • Data Entry Interface
  • Test Management Center
  • Online Reporting System
  • Performance Reports
  • Learning PointNavigator
technology coordinator role and responsibilities
Technology Coordinator Role and Responsibilities
  • Acquire user login and password for the AIR systems
  • Ensure that each computer used for online testing meets the minimum hardware and software requirements
  • Install the 2012–2013 secure browser on each computer that students will use for online testing, and test the installation by launching the browser
  • Provide for proper network and firewall configuration
  • Provide headphones for all online tests with audio/text-to-speech
  • Provide technical support/troubleshooting during online test sessions
site readiness
Site Readiness

Districts are required to verify that they have taken the following necessary steps to

prepare school computers for online testing. The deadline to verify site readiness is

March 1, 2013.

  • Ensure that computers used for testing meet system requirements.
  • Install the correct version of AIR’s secure browser on each computer that will be used for student testing.
  • Complete alltasks in theTechnology Coordinator Checklist.
  • Use AIR’s Diagnostic Tool to verify software installation and estimate network capacity.

All manuals and software downloads can be found on the Technology Coordinator

page of the Minnesota Assessments portal (

network requirements
Network Requirements

Internet Requirements

  • A stable, high-speed (wired or wireless) Internet connection is required for online testing.
  • The response time for each assessment depends on the reliability and speed of your school’s Internet network.
network requirements1
Network Requirements

Internet Requirements

  • Network configuration settings should include the following:
    • Content filters, firewalls, and proxy servers should be configured to allow traffic on the protocols and to the servers listed on the following screen.
    • Session timeouts on proxy servers and other devices should be set to values greater than the average scheduled testing time. If testing sessions are scheduled for 60 minutes, consider session timeouts of 65–70 minutes. This will help limit network interruptions during testing.
    • Data cannot be cached.
    • If your client network uses any devices that perform traffic shaping, packet prioritization or Quality of Service, the IP addresses below should be given a high priority to guarantee the highest level of performance.
network requirements2
Network Requirements

Allow traffic on the protocols and to the following servers:

network requirements3
Network Requirements

Common Bottlenecks

  • Routing traffic to and from the Internet
  • Verifying that students are using the secure browser
  • Performance dependent on several factors:
    • Bandwidth
    • Total number of students simultaneously testing
    • Size of test content
    • Secure browser installation
    • Proxy server (if used)
    • Wireless networking system (if used)
network requirements performance of the online testing system
Network Requirements: Performance of the Online Testing System


  • Performance can be affected by:
    • Internal network (LAN) traffic
    • Internet traffic from the router
  • LAN should always be analyzed to determine potential traffic for bottlenecks:
    • Schools need to factor bandwidth requirements of testing.
    • Internal bandwidth is not typically a problem. Switches generally operate between 100 megabits per second and 1,000 megabits per second.
    • Most common bottleneck for Internet networks is the ISP’s router connection.
network requirements performance of the online testing system1
Network Requirements: Performance of the Online Testing System

Number of Students Simultaneously Testing:

  • As the number of students increases, competition for bandwidth increases.

Size of Content:

  • The size of the test is determined by two factors:
    • the number of items on the test
    • the average size of each item
wireless networking
Wireless Networking
  • Wireless Security
    • Due to the sensitivity of test-related data, the use of WPA2/AES data encryption is highly recommended.
    • Using encryption/decryption might slightly decrease overall network speed.
    • A properly configured wireless network should provide adequate bandwidth for testing applications:
      • 802.11n is the fastest and most recent IEEE wireless standard, with a throughput of up to 300 megabits per second.
      • 802.11g has a theoretical throughput of up to 54 megabits per second.
      • 802.11b has a theoretical throughput of 11 megabits per second.
  • Ratio of wireless systems to wireless access points (WAPs) of no more than 20:1.
wireless networking networking standards
Wireless Networking: Networking Standards
  • The two most common networking standards are:
    • 802.11g (54 megabits per second)
    • 802.11n (300 megabits per second) Newer and faster
wireless networking networking standards1
Wireless Networking: Networking Standards

More Recommendations

  • Wireless connections using an 802.11g access point can reliably support a maximum of 20 PC and/or Mac workstations that use wireless cards with either the 802.11g or the 802.11n standard.
  • Wireless connections using an 802.11n access point can reliably support a greater number of workstations; however, the number of additional workstations that the 802.11n access point can support will be affected by the make and model of the access point equipment.
  • Typically, when all workstations are using an 802.11n wireless card, the 802.11n access point can support approximately 40 computers.
  • Note: In cases where the workstation wireless cards are a mix of 802.11n and 802.11g standards, supported connections should not exceed 50 workstations.
supported web browsers and related requirements
Supported Web Browsers and Related Requirements

TIDE, Test Monitor Training Site, Test Monitor Site, and Online Reporting System

secure browser overview
Secure Browser Overview
  • All computers used for testing during 2012–2013 must have the appropriate secure browser installed.
  • The secure browser prevents students from accessing other computer or Internet applications or copying test information.
  • The table lists the secure browser versions and their supported operating systems.
installing the secure browser
Installing the Secure Browser

One-by-One (Manual) Installation

  • From each computer to be used for testing, access the Internet and download and install the browser; OR
  • Download and save the browser onto a media device (such as a Flash drive), and then copy and install the files onto each computer; OR
  • Download the browser and save it to a network folder and copy it onto each computer.

Additional instructions are available on the Minnesota Assessments portal if you need to install the

secure browser on computers for which you do not have administration or installation rights.

Network Installation (Network Administrators)

  • You can push the browser out to all computers through a network.
installing the secure browser1
Installing the Secure Browser

There are several methods to deploy the AIR secure browser depending

on your platform.

Windows Deployment Methods

  • For the Windows platform, AIR provides the secure browser in an MSI package file. This file type enables deployment using a number of tools including:
    • Active Directory Group Policy
    • Microsoft SMS
    • Microsoft SCCM
    • Microsoft WSUS
    • Windows NT Batch
installing the secure browser2
Installing the Secure Browser

Mac OS X Deployment Methods

  • For the Mac OS X platform, AIR provides the secure browser as a DMG package file. This file type enables deployment using:
    • Apple Remote Desktop
    • Munki (
    • Filewave (

Linux Deployment Methods

  • For the Linux platform, AIR provides the secure browser in a generic TAR.bz2

package file. This file type enables deployment using a number of tools


    • Shell scripts
    • Puppet (
text to speech
  • Text-to-speech technology requires that voice packs be pre-installed on computers.
  • For Windows and Mac operating systems, default voice packs are generally pre-installed.
  • For computers running Linux Fedora Core 6 (K12LTSP 4.2+) or Ubuntu 9–12, voice packs may need to be downloaded and installed.
  • Text-to-speech technology is available only through the secure browser.
neospeech julie voice pack
NeoSpeech™ Julie Voice Pack

“General Resources” Tab in TIDE

“General Resources” Page in TIDE

site readiness diagnostics tools
Site Readiness: Diagnostics Tools

The Online Testing System has

several diagnostics tools

available to help you prepare

for testing:

  • Text-to-Speech Diagnostic Tools
  • Network Diagnostic Tools

These diagnostic tools can be

accessed from the login page of

the Online Item Samplers site.

text to speech diagnostic tool
Text-to-Speech Diagnostic Tool
  • Select the “Text-To-Speech Check” button to run the text-to-speech diagnostic test.
network diagnostic tools
Network Diagnostic Tools
  • After selecting the “Run Diagnostics” link on the login page of the Online Item Samplers, select a test and then select the approximate number of students who will take that test at one time.
  • Then click the “Run Network Diagnostics Tests” button.
network configuration
Network Configuration

All communication with the Online Testing System takes place

over the following IP port/protocol combinations.

domain name resolution
Domain Name Resolution

The following URLs must be resolvable by all client hosts attempting to

connect to the test system.

firewall content filter and proxy servers
Firewall, Content Filter, and Proxy Servers

You will need to ensure that the following IP addresses are open for the online systems

below. Note: If the client network utilizes any device that performs traffic shaping, packet

prioritization, or Quality of Service, the IP addresses should be given a high level of priority

in order to guarantee the highest level of performance.

certificate revocation list
Certificate Revocation List

Schools should open their firewalls to allow the secure browser to check the

certificate authenticity at VeriSign’s Certificate Revocation List (CRL) at Alternatively, schools can open their network to the IP

addresses listed below. Note: These IP address ranges are subject to



NComputing and Terminal Services are supported on the following platforms:

  • NComputing is supported on computers running Windows XP and Windows 7.
  • Terminal Services is supported on the Windows 2003 and 2008 servers.
flash fast switching and pop up blockers
Flash, Fast Switching, and Pop-up Blockers
  • Flash is bundled with the secure browser installation packages, and these secure browsers can also be used to access the Online Item Samplers.
  • If a student can access multiple user accounts from a single computer, we strongly encourage you to disable the fast user switching function.
  • All applications require pop-up blocking software to be disabled.
  • To disable the pop-up blocker for each browser, navigate to the following menu options:
    • Firefox: Tools > Options > Content > Uncheck Block Pop-up Windows
    • Internet Explorer: Tools > Pop-up Blocker > Turn Off Pop-up Blocker
    • Safari: Application Menu > Block Pop-up Windows (this should be unchecked)

*Note: Not applicable for the secure browser

minnesota assessment items are in verdana font
Minnesota Assessment Items Are in Verdana Font

Windows and Mac Users

  • The system will default to Verdana font.

Linux Users

  • The End-User License Agreement restricts the direct inclusion of the Verdana font in Linux distributions.
  • Please ensure that Verdana has been installed on all machines that will be used for testing.
    • Fedora Core 6 users: Follow the steps in the “How to Install” section of this website: . You will need to build an rpm package of the fonts prior to installing them.
    • Ubuntu 9–12 users: In a terminal window, enter the following command to install the msttcorefonts package: “sudo apt-get install msttcorefonts.”
  • For instructions on “authorizing” Verdana use with supported Linux OS, please refer to the Technical Specifications Manual for Online Testing document.
for more information
For More Information
  • Visit
  • Call, fax or email the AIR Minnesota Assessments Help Desk.