When taking Listening and Speaking sections, you'll need a working microphone and speakers. For ease of use, Avant strongly recommends that USB headsets with microphones be used for both of these sections. Other headset and microphone options may work, but may require more preparation steps by IT representatives due to being more dependent on the local configuration.
Prior to testing, it is recommended that an IT representative test and configure the headsets for each computer. Configuring a USB headset may be as simple as plugging it in. To check that audio streaming and recording are working, please take a sample test.
Instructions for configuring sound are available through the computer’s operating system Help facilities. On the configuration screens, make sure that the headset is selected and the volume levels are set appropriately.
Using the Headsets
The Testing Coordinator should ensure that arrangements have been made for the headsets to be plugged in before starting the test, and that test takers know how to use the in-line controls on the headsets, if available.
Adjusting Microphone Levels for MacOS and Windows
If you are receiving a low mic or low volume error message while recording in the Speaking section you may need to adjust the sound settings in your preferences.
6. If the slider is set too low, raising it to a higher gain will improve audio quality for speaking responses. Change the slider to a higher gain then press OK.
7. From the Sound Panel, speak normally into the microphone and note whether or not the green input graph shows that it is registering your input. If it is not, double-click the microphone and raise the gain until it does so.
The microphone gain should now be set properly to allow students to record their speaking responses. Close the Control Panel when done making changes.
Adjusting Microphone Levels in Chrome OS
Unfortunately, it is not possible to adjust the microphone sensitivity in ChromeOS. For issues with recording in ChromeOS, we recommend trying an alternate headset, asking the test taker to speak with additional volume, or to move closely to the microphone. If recording issues persist, moving the tester to an area without background noise may be needed
Troubleshooting Recording Issues
Check that the microphone is not muted - many headsets have a mute button on the set itself, or on the wire that is connected to it
Check that the volume on the microphone is not turned all the way down
Make sure the tester is using a supported browser (Internet Explorer, Chrome, Safari)
Try refreshing the page
Stop the test and close the browser window, then restart the browser and log back in
Try a different browser
Make sure the headset was plugged in before starting the test
Also, try unplugging the headset and plugging it back in during the test (for USB headsets)
Ensure that "Allow" is selected in the browser site settings allowing the use of the microphone in the test
Check to see if you can record sound in a different application on the computer
If only one or two test takers are affected, try a different headset or a different computer
If students log into student accounts on the computers, make sure that the student account for logging into the computer does not have restrictions that would affect recording
Deprecated Flash Support
There are some additional options in the Flash Player Settings that can be adjusted
Possible Error Messages
In nearly all cases, these messages are due to an issue with your computer or network setup. Some suggestions are to:
- Check the operating system's sound configuration and to make sure security settings are not blocking access to Avant's servers
- Note that operating system policies can sometimes make non-administrative accounts unable to use the Flash Plugin
"Low mic level" - Refreshing the page and having the test taker speak in a higher volume, or move more closely to the microphone are sometimes all that is needed. If this message is regularly encountered, please refer to the sections above on Adjusting Microphone Levels for MacOS and Windows and also Adjusting Microphone Settings Inside the Flash Player
"Netstream Error" or "Error in controller initialization" - This is a message that may be seen due to connection issues. If encountering this message, please try refreshing the browser page or logging out and back into the test. This should refresh the connection
"Cannot connect to server" - This message means something at your network level is blocking parts of the test from loading. Firewalls, Proxy Servers, and Content Filters need to be set to NOT proxy, filter or block the Avant domain names on the ports listed below. All inbound and outbound traffic for the applicable domain names shown below must be whitelisted
(TCP 80, TCP/UDP 1935) rtmp.avantassessment.com
"Loading..." - This message means something at your network level is blocking parts of the test from loading. Firewalls, Proxy Servers, and Content Filters need to be set to NOT proxy, filter or block the Avant domain names on the ports listed below. All inbound and outbound traffic for the applicable domain names shown below must be whitelisted
(TCP 80, 443) d2joqoyszh6j.cloudfront.net