Culford

Culford School solves the controlled assessment issue

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Culford

  • A solution that allows the school to retain a single student account and simply modify it to control access to students' exams areas and applications via a combination of group policy objects and file permissions
  • Be able to reliably control what the students have access to - flexibly and quickly - meeting the requirements of exam board. Without the administrative overhead and associated complications caused by the requirement to involve IT staff
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Culford School Solves the Controlled Assessment Issue

Culford is an independent school for boys and girls aged between 3 and 18. Along with thousands of other schools, Culford was faced with the issue of effectively managing GCSE controlled assessments. Controlled assessment is a set of controls, introduced by the Qualifications and Curriculum Development Agency (QCDA) to ensure the validity and reliability of coursework and to enable assessors to confidently authenticate candidates' work. From September 2009 controlled assessment replaced coursework for all new GCSE subjects with internal assessment. Schools have had to find a suitable solution provide a secure method for pupils to store work during controlled assessment lessons that would automatically prevent out of class access.

Controlled Assessment Student Account Issues

The general consensus among educational IT managers is that little consideration was given to the practicalities of IT based controlled assessments when specifying what students can and cannot do and exactly how the environment and restrictions should be applied.

The potential solution of creating a new user account for each subject being assessed in an environment that already has hundreds of individual students accounts quickly becomes a significant administrative overhead. Additional issues relate to restricting the user account to meet the requirements of various exam boards. In most cases these accounts should be denied access to email and internet and have only a restricted MS Office menu.

Group policy objects and file permissions

Culford School was looking for a solution that would allow the school to retain a single student account and simply modify it as necessary to control access to students' exams areas and applications via a combination of group policy objects and file permissions. "UMRA Forms allows us to provide a secure interface for teaching staff to switch on access to exam folders in an easy intuitive way. This means they can reliably control what the students have access to - flexibly and quickly - meeting the requirements of exam board without the administrative overhead and associated complications caused by the requirement to involve IT staff at the beginning and end of each exam" said Adrian Edgar.

"UMRA Forms allows us to provide a secure interface for teaching staff to switch on access to exam folders in an easy intuitive way. This means they can reliably control what the students have access to meeting the requirements of exam board."

Adrian Edgar, IT Director for Culford School

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Seperate OU for controlled assessment

UMRA works within an OU for controlled assessment that contains an exam account for each student and an AD group for each exam - for instance "Year 6 Geography". Each exam account has a home area, with the path specified in AD. Teachers need to grant access to these exam folders at the start of every controlled assessment class and deny access at the end.

With UMRA, the teacher has access to a simple form that displays a list of exam classes and can select the appropriate class with a single click. In the background UMRA collects the user accounts of the exam group selected, scans each home directory for the relevant folder and sets the NTFS permissions on the home folder to allow access. At the end of the class, the teacher reverses the process, again with a single click, that sets the NTFS to Deny Access on the student account.

Solutions

With over 6,000 students and 900 staff, Harrison College looked to Tools4ever for a solution to help them with their identity and access management challenge. Tools4ever's User Management Resource Administrator (UMRA) proved to be the best option in managing the users' lifecycle and provisioning into the applications and systems the students needed. Additionally, there was a need for Harrison to implement a self-service password reset tool that could also work seamlessly with user accounts.

Jason Stele, Assistant Director of Information Services, described their need as, "We could have never brought on student email or student Active Directory accounts without Tools4ever. They helped enable us to effectively manage large numbers of individual user accounts with minimal staff resources by leveraging UMRA."

Result

Culford Schools now has an automated system that supports all the security requirements for controlled assessments. UMRA's keeps a log file that records all the relevant information of the controlled assessment classes that can be used to satisfy all auditing requirements.