TestGen-EQ Plug-In Notes

Developed by Tamarack Software, Inc.
Updated for plug-in v.1.007 beta



Introduction

The TestGen-EQ plug-in allows a TestGen-EQ test, consisting of multiple-choice and true/false questions, to be displayed, taken, and scored in a web browser on a local computer. It transmits the results across the Internet back to a text file at a target directory on the local machine where the results can be retrieved and interpreted via CGI or ASP and put into a gradebook or web-based course management system.

If you are using one of the Pearson Education web-based course management systems, you will not need to know most of this technical information. Most of this document is intended for people who want to use the TestGen-EQ plug-in to communicate with a web-based management system that is not provided by Pearson Education. To set this up, you should have technical knowledge of HTML and experience in creating web pages and also be familiar with the file and record storage system used by the particular course management system that will interpret the results from student tests.

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Hardware Requirements

There are separate plug-ins for the Windows and Macintosh platforms. The TestGen-EQ plug-in requires about 2.5 MB of hard disk space and 16 MB of available memory. It will work with the following computers and web browsers:

Windows 95, 98, NT, or 2000 running Internet Explorer 4.0 or higher or Netscape Navigator 4.0 or higher.

Macintosh Power PC, G3, G4, or IMac running Internet Explorer 4.0 or higher or Netscape Navigator 4.0 or higher.

Students can download the most recent versions of the plug-ins from the Pearson Higher Education technical support or course management system web sites they are using.

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Installing the TestGen-EQ Plug-In

During installation, the following files are copied into the PLUGINS folder of the browser of your choice --- Internet Explorer or Netscape Navigator.

nptgeqplugin.dll
nptgeqplugin.dat
nptgeqhelp.html

The following TestGen-EQ fonts are required to display test questions and are installed in the Windows FONTS folder during installation or when the plug-in runs.Copies of the fonts are installed, along with the plug-in, in the PLUGINS folder of the selected browser.

tgeqa.ttf tgeqai.ttf tgeqs.ttf
tgeqas.ttf tgeqasi.ttf tgeqm.ttf
tgeqab.ttf    

Web Server Configuration

If a TestGen-EQ test is being administered from a web server, you will need to configure the server to map or associate the following MIME types and extensions:

Content type (MIME): application/x-test-file
Associated extension: .tst

Content type (MIME): application/x-wtk-file
Associated extension: .wtk

This will allow both Netscape Navigator and Internet Explorer browsers to display tests correctly using the TestGen-EQ plug-in.

Configuring the Plug-in (tgproxy.txt) to Work with a Firewall

Many colleges and universities make use of a "firewall" to prevent direct access to their web servers. In this case, users will have already configured their web browsers to communicate through the firewall using information provided by their network administrators.

If the TestGen-EQ plug-in must send test results to a web server through a Proxy server that acts as a firewall or a filter for the web server, the plug-in also needs to know, or be configured with, the address and port number of the Proxy server.

During installation of the TestGen-EQ plug-in, the user will see a Proxy configuration screen that allows entry of the Proxy server's address and port number. If the user enters the absolute address or a DNS name equivalent along with the Proxy server's port number (usually 80 or 8080) in this manual configuration, the two values will be written to a text file named "tgproxy.txt" and stored where the plug-in can find the information. The tgproxy.txt file may be edited directly with a text editor to change the information in the first two lines of the file, which contain the address and port information. The file may be deleted if no longer needed.

The Version Information Files

The installer for the TestGen-EQ plug-in installs two small files (tgversion.htm and versioninfo.wtk) that display the version information for the plug-in:

Plugin Date
Plugin Version
Operating System
Results of a simple post operation

The version file allows a course management system to know which version of the plug-in a user has so that it can inform the user if an update is available. In addition, the file can be used to test the operation of the plug-in and confirm that it can post to a server. The post operation contains the verison information of the plug-in and has the following form:

major=1&minor=0&bmajor=0&bminor=7

It does not contain any other information. If the post fails, the displayed error messages provide information that is useful for technical support.

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Using the Embed Tag for the Plug-In

The plug-in is used by creating an HTML document that contains an <EMBED> tag. Embedding the plug-in lets you position it anywhere on the page and specify the background color, graphics, text, and links that will appear around it. Embedding also allows you to pass parameters to the plug-in to control its operation.

A simple example is:

<EMBED SRC="mytest.tst" WIDTH=500 HEIGHT=400></EMBED>

An example which sends result via CGI is:

<EMBED
SRC="mytest.tst"
MIMETYPE="application/x-tst-file"
TARGET="/cgi-bin/broker.pl"
TARGET_MACHINE="206.69.128.10"
HEIGHT=100%
WIDTH=100%
USERID="Joe Pearson">
</EMBED>

An example that sends results to a local machine is: (TARGET must end with .txt.)

<EMBED
SRC="mytest.tst"
MIMETYPE="application/x-tst-file"
TARGET="c:/results.txt"
TARGET_MACHINE="localhost"
HEIGHT=320
WIDTH=520
USERID="Judy Pearson">
</EMBED>

A WTK document may be used to display mathematical data in an HTML page. An example of a WTK document.

<EMBED
SRC="mydocument.wtk"
MIMETYPE="application/x-wtk-file"
HEIGHT=320
WIDTH=520>
</EMBED>

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List of Embed Parameters Common to All Browsers

The list below gives a list of parameters that most browsers can understand.

SRC="location"
Specifies the file name (can include relative path or full URL)
Note: If SRC points to a .TST file that contains test scores, the plug-in will automatically go into review mode.

TYPE="MIME_type"
Specifies the MIME type of the file

PLUGINSPAGE="http://www.aw.com/techsupport/download"
Where to get the plug-in if the browser doesn’t have it

PLUGINURL="pluginURL"
The URL if a Java Archive (JAR) file contains the plug-in

ALIGN="LEFT" | "RIGHT" | "TOP" | "BOTTOM"
Sets text alignment on the page with respect to the plug-in

BORDER="borderWidth"
Puts a border around the plug-in

FRAMEBORDER="NO"
Specifies no border (default).

HEIGHT="height"
The vertical space on the page allotted to the plug-in

WIDTH="width"
The horizontal space on the page allotted to the plug-in

UNITS="pixels" | "en"
Set to "en" to specify HEIGHT and WIDTH in half-pixels

HSPACE="horizMargin"
Sets the margin to the left and right of the plug-in

VSPACE="vertMargin"
Sets the margin above and below the plug-in

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List of Embed Parameters Specific to the TestGen-EQ Plug-In

Any parameter the browser does not understand is passed to the plug-in. Additional parameters that can be passed to the plug-in include:

FRAMEPEN = "penname"
You may use this tag to use a special pen to draw a frame around the plugin. The case-sensitive pennames you may use are:

Solid width 1, solid color
Dash1x1 width 1, dashes - 1 on, 1 off
Dash1x3 width 1, dashes - 1 on, 3 off
Dash3x1 width 1, dashes - 3 on, 1 off
Dash2x2 width 1, dashes - 2 on, 2 off
2x2Solid width 2, solid color
2x2Dash width 2, dashes - 1 on, 1 off
2x2Dash1x3 width 2, dashes - 1 on, 3 off
2x2Dash3x1 width 2, dashes - 3 on, 1 off
2x2Dash2x2 width 2, dashes - 2 on, 2 off
Bump pen with weak 3D bump effect
Hole pen with weak 3D hole effect
Bump2 pen with strong 3D bump effect
Hole2 pen with strong 3D hole effect
3x3Solid width 3, solid color
Ditch2 pen with weak 3D ditch effect
Ridge2 pen with weak 3D ridge effect
Ditch4 pen with strong 3D ditch effect
Ridge4 pen with strong 3D ridget effect
StepBump2 pen with sloping bump effect
StepHole2 pen with sloping hole effect

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Additional Parameters for TestGen-EQ Plug-In Test (.tst) Files

TARGET="/cgi-bin/broker.pl"
Set to Full path if target is a local file. Filename must end with a .txt extension.
Set to Partial path if target is a URL. This path is appended to TARGET_MACHINE to form the full URL.

TARGET_MACHINE="address"
Contains the address or DNS (numeric or name) of the Web server. (Set to "localhost" if using a local text file.)

TARGET_PORT="####"
Contains the Port number to use when establishing a connection to a Web server. Please note that this tag should only be used for development purposes since it may override and conflict with information in the Proxy server configuration file, tgproxy.txt.

SECURE="YES" | "NO"
(Default = NO) Allows for the transmission of test results using digital signatures in order to guarantee that the transmission is authentic and has not been tampered with. The signatures consist of an MD5 hash of the test results and the test file. They are signed using 1024 bit RSA private key and the PKCSv1.5 padding scheme which is then Hex encoded for transmission.

The result is a change in the POST structure as follows:

Header format:
HTTP_X_MESSAGE: <the URL encoded list of name/value pairs>

HTTP_X_TEXT_SIGNATURE: <Hex encoding of encrypted MD5 hash of binary stream>

HTTP_X_KEYLABEL: <label identifying the public key to use>

HTTP_X_MESSAGE_SIGNATURE: <Hex encoding of encrypted MD5 hash of message header>

Binary test file:
The body of the POST

The KEYLABEL designates what public key to use to verify the message. This enables the plug-in developers to change private key/public key pairs and forward the new public key along with the chosen label for the course management system. This allows different keys to be used for different servers and provides a mechanism for updating the private key when necessary, with little disruption to service.

USERID="id"
Contains text which will be sent back with student test results in order to identify who owns the results.

DONEURL="done.html"
Sets the URL to go to when the user clicks the DONE button in the plug-in.

BGCOLOR="xxxxxx"
Sets the RGB value for the background color of the plug-in. This is a standard HTML RGB hexadecimal color triplet.

DISPLAYSCORES="YES" | "NO"
Shows a score screen after test is completed. (Default = YES)

WTKWORDWRAP="YES" | "NO"
Indicates whether or not a WTK document (a special type of document from TestGen-EQ, such as the Version Info document) should wrap to fit the size of the plug-in window described by the HEIGHT and WIDTH parameters in the EMBED tag for the TestGen-EQ plug-in. If the tag is set to "NO" then the document will be displayed with the margin settings of the original document (currently 8.5" wide) and will display scroll bars in the plug-in window when necessary.. (Default = YES)

REVIEW="YES" | "NO"
Enables the test review option. (Default = NO)
Note: If SRC points to a .tst file that contains test scores, the plug-in will automatically go into Review mode.

PRINTTEST="YES" | "NO"
Allows the test to be printed from the REVIEW screen. (Default = NO)

CORRECTANSWER="YES" | "NO"
Displays the correct answer on the REVIEW screen. (Default = YES)

STUDENTANSWER="YES" | "NO"
Displays the students answer on the REVIEW screen. (Default = YES)

ANSWERCOLOR="xxxxxx"
Sets the RGB value for the highlight color of the correct answer .
This is a standard HTML RGB hexadecimal color triplet.


REGENERATE="YES" | "NO"
Regenerates random numbers for each question. (Default = YES)

SHUFFLEANSWERS="YES" | "NO"
Shuffles MC answers for each question. (Default = YES)

SCRAMBLEQUESTIONS="YES" | "NO"
Scrambles the order of the questions. (Default = YES)

TESTTIME="##"
Number of Minutes to take test. (Default = 0 or no limit)

WARNTIME="##"
Number of minutes left on test to warn user. (Default = 0 or no time)

PREVIOUS_BUT_ACTIVE ="filenameactive"
PREVIOUS_BUT_DEPRESSED ="filenamedepressed"
NEXT_BUT_ACTIVE ="filenameactive"
NEXT_BUT_DEPRESSED ="filenamedepressed"
SUMMARY_BUT_ACTIVE ="filenameactive"
SUMMARY_BUT_DEPRESSED ="filenamedepressed"
MARK_BUT_ACTIVE ="filenameactive"
MARK_BUT_DEPRESSED ="filenamedepressed"
UNMARK_BUT_ACTIVE ="filenameactive"
UNMARK_BUT_DEPRESSED ="filenamedepressed"
SCORE_BUT_ACTIVE ="filenameactive"
SCORE_BUT_DEPRESSED ="filenamedepressed"
DONE_BUT_ACTIVE ="filenameactive"
DONE_BUT_DEPRESSED ="filenamedepressed"
PRINT_BUT_ACTIVE ="filenameactive"
PRINT_BUT_DEPRESSED ="filenamedepressed"
REVIEW_BUT_ACTIVE ="filenameactive"
REVIEW_BUT_DEPRESSED ="filenamedepressed"
BACK_BUT_ACTIVE ="filenameactive"
BACK_BUT_DEPRESSED ="filenamedepressed"
HELP_BUT_ACTIVE ="filenameactive"
HELP_BUT_DEPRESSED ="filenamedepressed"
These are GIF files to replace the default regular buttons.
Note: If only the ACTIVE GIFS are supplied, the plug-in will generate a button outline when the mouse is over the button, and will simulate a button press.

BUTTONDAT = "datfilename"
Rather then using 22 individual GIF files and 22 individual EMBED tags, Tamarack Software can place all the GIFS into one file. The advantage of this is two-fold: first, only one communication needs to take place with the Web server, and second, the file can be compressed to 1/20 the size of all the separate GIF files. This results in a much faster download with fewer tags.

ROOTURL = "http://company.com/tests/"
Sets the URL path to which graphic files and BUTTONDAT names are appended.
Note: By default the ROOTURL is set to the directory of the SRC location.

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Plug-In Results

The Results file gets created when a student completes a test. It is a text file that contains the settings specified in the embed tag, the test information listed below, and the actual test file appended to the end. The header is a POST to a web server or target url. Each line begins with a label as shown, includes a text entry, and ends with a CR + LF.

USERID:
TOTAL:
CORRECT:
INCORRECT:
SKIPPED:
PERCENTSCORE:
TOTALTESTTIME:
DATE:
CLOCKTIMESTART:
CLOCKTIMEEND:
Q1: "BA7.1.1.1"
Q1.STATUS: "SKIPPED"
Q2: "BA7.1.1.2"
Q3.STATUS: "CORRECT"
. . .etc. ...
Qn: "BA7.1.1.19"
Qn.STATUS: "INCORRECT"

[the TESTFILE]

Each test question and its status is identified by a question ID which includes a book code, a chapter number, section number, and test question number. The Results file will also contain all EMBED tags not used directly by the browser. It is also important to note that there is no particular order to these tags other than that the TESTFILE is at the end and is the body of the file. Therefore, there is a CR+LF+CR+LF separating the tags from the TESTFILE. You can view a sample Results file by running one of the demo tests included with this documentation and viewing the C:\results.txt file.

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Editing the Plug-In Help File

The file "nptgeqhelp.html" is a standard HTML 1.0 file that contains information to help students as they take a test using the plug-in. This file may be edited to contain the desired help contents that will later be displayed on the web page when the plug-in runs.

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Updates for the Plug-In

When new versions of the TestGen-EQ plug-in are released, they will be posted on various Pearson Higher Education technical support and course management web sites. Consult the documentation or web site for the course management system you are using to obtain the latest version of the plug-in.

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TestGen-EQ and the TestGen-EQ plug-in were developed by Tamarack Software, Inc.
TestGen-EQ © 1997-2002 Tamarack Software, Inc.
Licensed and distributed by
Pearson Education.