Firewall blamed for NAPLAN online glitches

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Firewall blamed for NAPLAN online glitches

Connectivity issues strike annual exam.

Technical glitches affecting the first day of NAPLAN online testing for 2019 have been blamed on an incorrectly configured firewall.

Schools across the country experienced connectivity issues with the online platform on Tuesday, with some of the worst problems experienced in Victoria, South Australia and Western Australia.

“A number of schools have experienced some connectivity issues on the first day of NAPLAN,” Australia's national curriculum authority, ACARA, said in a statement.

With around 50 percent of schools expected to take part in the annual benchmarking exams online this year, Tuesday was the first real test for the online platform.

Last year approximately 15 percent of schools - or approximately 190,000 students in years three, five, seven and nine - conducted the tests online, the largest number of which were in NSW.

In Victoria, the “technical difficulties” ranged from “the system dropping out to students being unable to log in”, according to the Australia Education Union.

While the agency did not detail the cause of the issues, WA’s Education department director-general Lisa Rodgers told ABC Radio Perth the issues were related to NAPLAN’s national firewall.

“We know that nationally there’s been an issue with the firewall and lockdown browser - that’s been a national problem,” she said, adding that schools had been provided with paper version of the tests as a precaution.

“We’re working through what have been the issues, and how big are they in terms of stopping the kids from being able to take [the tests}.”

iTnews has contacted ACARA for additional details on nature and prevalence of the glitches.

However the agency said that “over 350,000 NAPLAN online tests were successfully submitted today”, and that procedures were in place to mitigate any issues that might arise.

“The technology and logistics of a national online project of this size are highly complex,” ACARA said.

“If technical issues or anything unexpected does occur, there are procedures in place to manage any issues and ensure that all students are able to take the test, including taking the test on paper as a last resort.”

Update 1:00pm: ACARA said Education Services Australia - the national, not-for-profit company providing the online assessment platform for NAPLAN - is investigating the cause of the connectivity issues.

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