What’s wrong with MN Online Testing Software

Today we began our final test for the MN Online MCA II testing in our high school. We had no bandwidth problems when we tested our 5th grade or our 8th grade a few weeks ago so one should assume that the bandwidth usage shouldn’t be an issue.

I guess I was very wrong. We currently pay for 3MB of download and 3MB of upload for our Internet service that comes in via fiber. On a daily basis we are typically only using about 2MB of Internet bandwidth. According to Pearson support the minimum amount of bandwidth the test uses is about 6kb per workstation. We were testing 24 students so that would mean a minimum of 144kb should be available. Let’s assume that we are using quadruple the bandwidth for testing and we use 16kb per workstation. That means we should be using a total of 576kb total. Easily keeping us under our 3MB total.

I know there are spikes in our usage and we do max our bandwidth usage from time to time, but I was able to have my ISP increase our bandwidth temporarily from 3MB to 10MB. Drastically the testing went much better. We are now testing two labs of students at once (roughly 48 students) and are having no issues.

The most interesting part is, we are now using all 10MB of our Internet bandwidth. Here is my question.

Is Pearson being honest about how much bandwidth their product is using?

I know those numbers they gave me for minimum bandwidth usage are very inaccurate. What is the caching software actually doing? The intention is that the software is holding locally the test content and the only internet traffic should be the test answers. Test answers shouldn’t take up that much bandwidth.

Pearson, what’s going on?


2 thoughts on “What’s wrong with MN Online Testing Software

  1. I agree with your thoughts here! In the last MDE Assessment update they are asking for feedback – here is the excerpt:

    “If you have feedback on setting up or administering the online tests, please send to diane.gamm@state.mn.us, using “Online Testing Feedback” as the subject of your email. If relevant to your feedback, please include information about your computers (PC/Mac, OS, local vs. server install, etc.)” Good luck!

    • I am going to be compiling a list of questions and comments regarding the testing soon and sending it to Diane. I really didn’t like how the testing system was setup from the beginning. I felt they worried way too much about kids cheating and not enough on the content. They didn’t even get the most basic of cheating issues dealt with. On many occasions we had many students who had different test forms but at the same moment were on the exact same question. Luckily the times we noted it the kids were definately not cheating but what’s to say that there aren’t kids cheating. What’s to say they couldn’t just click back and forth and match their answers? My e-mail to Diane will be going out next week.

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