Technical Requirements and Troubleshooting
ACT WorkKeys Online Technical Specifications
Computers used by examinees to access ACT® WorkKeys® Online tests (Test Delivery Workstations) must always be under the control and supervision of the authorized location. Examinees must not be allowed to remove any computer from the testing site. Neither computers used by testing staff (Administrative Workstations) nor Test Delivery Workstations may use remote access technology (e.g. desktop sharing applications, etc.) to access the ACT WorkKeys tests. ACT WorkKeys tests may be delivered on desktop and laptop computers (iPads and other tablets are not allowed) that comply with the following specifications:
- Windows 8+
- MAC OS 10.13.5+
- Chrome OS 88+
- Microsoft Internet Explorer 8, 9, 10, and 11 (enterprise mode)
- Firefox 70+
- Chrome 80+
- Microsoft Edge 80+
Test Delivery Workstations
Note: For State testing customers, devices used for online testing must be owned and managed by the school/district. The school/district must control the administrative rights to such devices.
- Chrome OS 93+
- Mac OS 10.15+
- Windows 8.1+
- Firefox 90+
- Chrome 93+
- 1024 x 768, minimum
- Minimum size: 12 inches measured diagonally
- An attached keyboard is required
Special Browser Requirements
- Internet Explorer 8, 9, and 10 Security settings (Tools > Internet Options > Security tab > Custom Level button) are required
- Turn on ActiveX controls and plug-ins
- Run ActiveX controls and plug-in = Enable
- Script ActiveX controls marked safe for scripting = Enable Firefox (no special setup required)
- The ACT domains (testadministration.org, act-prod.taocloud.org, testregistration.org, vtc.act.org, rsp.act.org, workkeys-assets.actdigitalservice.org) and address space cannot be blocked (e.g., through firewall, router, or other settings).
- Workstations must have broadband connections (256 Kbts/second or faster sustained download capacity to the workstation). Dial-up connections are not supported or allowed.
Validus Validation Test
Use the Connect to TAO option in Validus to validate your workstations’ ability to use the test delivery system.
- TAO System Check—this checks your workstation for general capabilities and connectivity status.
- Validation Test—this runs a demo test to validate that the workstation is compatible.
ACT WorkKeys Status Verification
Verify the current status of the ACT WorkKeys Online system.
- Make sure that you ran the Validus validation test to verify that your systems meet all hardware and software requirements.
- Confirm browser settings are correct on each workstation.
- Verify that bandwidth meets minimum requirements.
- Find out from your network administrator/engineer what the published bandwidth (throughput to the internet) is for your testing site.
- Determine the number of workstations outside the lab that will be sharing your throughput at the same time as your examinees will be testing.
- Verify the published throughput using the instructions in this document for throughput testing. See the section on “Throughput” under “Other Possible Concerns” for information on utilities available to test throughput speed.
- From your data, determine a best estimate of the bandwidth expected to have available during ACT WorkKeys testing. Recognize that this is only an estimate. Factors outside of your control may have an impact on available bandwidth. Examples (this list is abbreviated/not all inclusive):
- Network connectivity can be disrupted for various reasons including issues with your internet service provider (ISP).
- Others accessing the internet at your location to perform a large download at the time of testing.
Note: If possible, reduce the number of workstations able to use the shared bandwidth during test delivery.
- Verify that workstations used for testing meet all additional requirements outlined in this document.
- Conduct a practice test to verify that your testing site can successfully delivery an ACT WorkKeys test.
If running a trace route is necessary, verify that there are not an excessive number of hops or significant response times. Expect to see a response time of less than 300 milliseconds. Longer network response times indicate a higher possibility of data communication failures.
When performing a trace route, use the host TESTREGISTRATION.ORG.
This will verify connection to the appropriate servers, and that the network is resolving DNS correctly.
If the trace route is not resolved, verify connection with a known website (e.g., www.yahoo.com).
The trace route utility can be accessed through Start > Run > (enter CMD). This opens a system command window where the text TRACERT TESTREGISTRATION.ORG can be entered.
Verify that the NSLOOKUP utility can resolve an IP address for TESTREGISTRATION.ORG. If it cannot, attempt to resolve a more common network address website (e.g., www.google.com).
Certain network and workstation settings prevent names from being resolved at the testing workstations. This may be caused by network problems at the testing site that could slow or otherwise hinder the testing experience. The NSLOOKUP utility can be accessed through Start > Run > (enter CMD) which opens a system command window where the text NSLOOKUP TESTREGISTRATION.ORG can be entered at the command line.
When this command is run, an IP address should be displayed, which means the workstation is resolving IP addresses correctly. However, if no IP address is displayed, then DNS/other network settings may need to be corrected on the network. This issue should be addressed by a qualified network technician at your testing site.
Network Caching General Recommendations
- Turn off all caching (except browser caching) for testadministration.org, act-prod.taocloud.org, and testregistration.org.
- Caching to be turned off includes proxy servers.
Other Possible Concerns
- Content filters: Some filter settings may cause conflicts with ACT WorkKeys Online. Verify that your filter allows all communication from testadministration.org, act-prod.taocloud.org, and testregistration.org
- Firewall: Verify that standard parts 443 and 80 are available for use.
- Throughput: Make sure that the speed and available bandwidth meet industry standards. Various utilities are available to determine internet throughput speed (e.g., https://speakeasy.net/speedtest or www.speedtest.net). Note that these utilities only test the available bandwidth at a single point in time. The available bandwidth may be quite different while examinees are testing (e.g., the number of on-site examinees accessing the internet, downloads or uploads being performed, local technical issues). ACT does not recommend running a throughput speed testing utility while examinees are testing. Doing so will reduce the throughput available for the ACT WorkKeys Online testing experience.
- Real-time Monitoring: Several shareware utilities are available that allow monitoring of networks (e.g., www.pingplotter.com). These programs can be run by testing staff or a technician during examinee testing without adverse effects. Note: ACT recommends complying with all third-party software licensing requirements.
- Microsoft Synchronize: Verify that these types of utilities are not set up to perform regular updates of off-line webpages. Such updates could occur during the test event and affect ACT WorkKeys Online performance.
- Packet Shaping: Consult your network administrator to determine if they use packet shaping on your network. Some features, including those that perform packet manipulation and caching, may not be supported. Others, including bandwidth reservation to ACT websites, may be beneficial.
- On examinee workstations, verify that no other utilities or services are accessing the internet on a regular basis (e.g., Weatherbug™).
- Verify there are no utilities running that are capable of producing pop-up windows during the test session (e.g., MSN Messenger, Microsoft anti-spyware utilities). Pop-up windows can interfere with the overall testing experience.
Customer-Specific Network Issues and Recommendations
PingPlotter recommended settings:
- Enable MAX TIME column (right click on column header for options).
- Under ADDRESS to TRACE enter the ACT server name: testregistration.org
- Times listed in trace routing programs such as PingPlotter are not cumulative. Each time provided on-screen is the time it took for the packet to travel from the source computer to the location on that line. Note: It is possible for intermediate hops to take longer than the final destination if packet processing times at that location take an extended amount of time.
- Throughput testing: When choosing a server location for throughput testing, choose a city that is fairly close to your location. The farther away the server is from your site, the less reliable the connectivity speed readings will be.
Note: ACT does not support Thin Client workstations for Validus.
If you have questions, call 800.967.5539, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Administration manuals can be found on the Administration Resources page.