ExamSoft Status Update FAQs
Chris Roche, ExamSoft’s Senior Director of Product, provides answers to common crucial questions in relation to the company’s recent status update webinar:
1. Do you think it is possible to bypass the secure browsing and how we can prevent it?
While no software is completely impenetrable to security risks, we are confident that ExamSoft is the most secure assessment platform in the world. The security of our platform is of the highest priority, from both a intrusion and data retention standpoint. We are constantly monitoring online sources for any traces of a security issue in our platform and we are confident there are no known issues today.
Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for secure browsing via a web browser. While delivering assessments via a browser can be an easier way to distribute exams, there is no way to ensure the same security level of a local app. Web browsers are limited in their capabilities to access and modify settings on the exam takers computer, so there are numerous opportunities for a security breach. ExamSoft highly recommends only delivering low-stakes exams via a browser based system.
2. Will the “push grades” for assessments be operating for customers who use D2L (Desire to Learn) at all times?
Yes, D2L has been integrated into the current portal and we are in the process of completing integration into the new portal. Once the necessary setup has been completed for your D2L account, both ExamSoft portals will allow you to push grades on demand.
3. The receipt of confirmation emails for successful exam uploads has been hit or miss with our students. Sometimes they receive an email and sometimes they do not. What is your plan to fix this?
If a student is not receiving upload confirmation they should check their spam folders for the emails. We have seen issues where some clients’ email filters send these emails to spam. We have a helpful guide for preventing this, which can be found here: http://university.examsoft.com/h/i/279131019-preventing-blocked-emails/233583
4. On multiple choice questions, how do we weigh answer choices? (ie. A is worth 4 points, B is worth 3 pts, C is worth 0 pts, etc.) Call it "weighted distractors".
Our current portal only allows for partial credit to be split evenly across the questions, so this specific scenario isn’t currently available. That capability is something we are currently developing for the new portal, which will provide the ability to weigh distractors in MC questions, as described. That specific piece of functionality will launch shortly after the new portal is released.
5. My institution starts many of its programs in mid August and I need time to get my faculty and staff comfortable with the new processes as we are currently understaffed and many are uncomfortable with change. Are the servers prepared for the change in systems? Service interruptions during training and the start of our academic year are likely to be disruptive on my end. Also, is there a timeline for the migration from the current version(s) of the portal and testing platform that you could share? It would be helpful for some of us as we plan for the summer and fall. Many of us work at professional schools and aren't on a semester system and/or don't have summers off.
We will begin migrating existing clients to the new portal over the summer, with a small amount of migrations beginning in June and many more through July. Some specific features that certain clients need or utilize are still in development, so some clients will stay on the current portal until those features are complete in the new portal. The Customer Success team will be reaching out to schedule training and discuss migration specifics in the near future.
The new portal is hosted on Amazon Web Services and is completely re-built from the ground up; taking advantage of the most modern frameworks available. This new architecture will allow for a dramatically increased level of scalability from our existing platform. We are confident that the new portal will be able to handle customer needs without the constraints that the current architecture faces.
6. I have an individual student who, after updating MacBook OS to Sierra and updating Softest, has started experiencing multiple mid-exam freezes in an exam and lost answers when we would reboot. Is this a computer issue or user error when trying to recover?
We have received reports of sporadic freezes on the latest update to SofTest. While some freezes are still occurring, the frequency has been reduced dramatically and the issue requiring multiple restarts appears to be resolved. We are continuing to work on eliminating all freezes and will continue to update our clients as progress as made.
7. Are there any plans to expand the capabilities of Examsoft for attaching audio/visual files to questions in SoftTest? We are currently limited to one image per question and cannot attach video. Both would be helpful.
Expanding the number of attachments is not currently on the near-term roadmap, but video attachments (AVI, mp4 and MOV file types) are currently supported. If you have a need to have an image and a video associated with a question, you are able to embed images in the question stem and answer choices, and add a video as an attachment. You can also have multiple inline images, as long as the exam bundle remains under the 200mb size restriction.
8.When building an exam, it would be very helpful to be able to see the exam as it is being built. Are there any plans to address this upon new product release?
The new portal will have a more fluid preview capability. While it won’t look identical to the exam in our app, it will give you a quick preview in the browser, so you can validate your question order and answer choices.
9. When entering questions in the course currently being edited, why must we enter the course number when we are already in that course? Same thing with creating an assessment. That is not as redundant as you need only click once on the course you want to choose questions from. However, in the beginning, it was disturbing to not see the questions you were looking for, before realizing you are in a random question bank, after clicking ‘add questions’.
Unfortunately, the current portal is not course based, which we agree is far from ideal. We have designed the new ExamSoft portal to be course based, so you will not have to select the course desired for each question or assessment. When you have selected the course you are editing, item creation is set to that specific course. The course-based hierarchy will also reduce clutter, allowing you to find items only related to that course, if you prefer.