ERC DOTS FAQs

General Information about ERC DOTS

What is ERC DOTS?


ERC DOTS (Drumcondra Online Testing System) is a platform that schools can use to buy and administer standardised tests to students. It supports the administration and reporting of a wide range of ‘Drumcondra’ tests at both primary and post-primary levels, in both English and Irish. Tests of English reading, mathematics, Irish and reasoning (verbal, numeric ability) are available. After you get set up on ERC DOTS, you will be able to manage all aspects of the administration of tests (purchase of tests, scheduling of test sessions, generation of individual student logins and passwords, downloading class- and individual-level reports of results) from within the system. For all queries related to ERC DOTS, please email dots@erc.ie.




Where can I find information about the different online tests that are available?


You can find out about our different tests here (Primary Tests) and here (Post-Primary Tests).




How long do the tests take to administer?


The Primary online tests (DPRT and DPMT) take approx. 90-100 mins in total, including time for set-up and breaks. The tests themselves are structured in two sections of 35mins each. The Post Primary tests are timed as follows: DRT: Two sections: Verbal Reasoning (20 mins) and Numeric Ability (30 mins). PPRT: 50 mins PPMT: 60 mins TLGG: 80 mins




What hardware/software do we need to run online tests?


The tests will run on laptops, PCs, tablets and iPads, and do not need a large bandwidth (i.e., they should run without problems on most internet connections). ERC DOTS works with keyboard or touchscreen, and with or without a mouse.





Getting Started on ERC DOTS

How do I get set up on ERC DOTS?


Your school should have received an email on 30/04/2021 - to the school’s official email address. The email contains login credentials for accessing ERC DOTS, along with links to short videos to help you get started. The sender’s address was noreply@qemailserver.com, please check your spam folder if you haven’t received it in your inbox. If you did not receive this email, please email dots@erc.ie. This short video shows you how to get started on using the new ERC DOTS system: https://youtu.be/2tarH5DLQTA




The system won’t open. What should I do?


For teachers, the URL is https://schooladmin.erc.ie (if you are new to ERC DOTS, please use the initial link in the original email you received when you were set up on the system). Please email dots@erc.ie if you are having difficulty accessing the system.




I did not receive an email with my ERC DOTS login and password. What should I do?


The email with your login details (from noreply@qemailserver.com) is probably in your spam or junk folder, please check there. If you are unable to locate this email please contact us at dots@erc.ie.




I can’t remember my password. What should I do?


Click Forgot Your Password on the login screen and follow the instructions.




My new password is not working. What should I do?


If you have changed your password and are still having trouble accessing the platform, please email us at dots@erc.ie and we can help reset your password.




How do I access the ERC DOTS User guide?


After logging in to the https://schooladmin.erc.ie website, go to the Resource Area (using the tab along the left-hand side of the screen) and download the ERC DOTS User Guide.




How do I upload student information (such as names and date of birth) to ERC DOTS?


See the Adding Students section in the User Guide. Please note: the only required information for testing are pupils'/students' first name and last name. Date of birth is not required.




I clicked the download CSV template link, but nothing happened. What should I do?


To use the template, you need to ensure that popups are not blocked on your computer. If you have blocked pop-ups, you might see a notification. Click it to enable the pop-up to open.




I have tried to import student details to ERC DOTS but they haven’t appeared. What should I do?


Press F5 to refresh your screen. If the students are not visible, the upload has failed. The three most likely causes are: Step 7 was skipped – in this case, repeat the upload following the steps given in the User Guide. The CSV template was changed (e.g., deleted, renamed, moved a field) – in this case, export the template again, and only paste in first and last names. Make no other changes. The template was not saved as a .CSV file – in this case, open the file again, click 'save as' and ensure that it is saved as a .CSV file. Please ensure you are using the correct format in the template. Please note: date of birth is not required when uploading pupils/students.




How do I use the CSV template?


One way to enter multiple students into the ERC DOTS platform is to download the CSV template, copy the student information over to the file, then save the file. Then, click ‘Upload file with students’ and choose the saved template file.

CSV (Comma Separated Value) is a file format that contains plain text values separated by commas. It can be opened using any spreadsheet program, such as Microsoft Excel, or a plain text editor. It looks and works like a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet, so should be easily usable if you are familiar with Excel spreadsheets. Please ensure when saving the template that the file extension is .CSV as other file types will not be accepted by the platform.

Please Note: For Mac users, the template can default to a Numbers format when saving on a Mac. Please ensure when saving the template on a Mac that it is saved as a .CSV file.





Buying and Scheduling Tests

How do I purchase tests?


Once you are setup as a school coordinator for ERC DOTS, login and Click on 'Payment Portal' on the left side of the screen (see the 'Purchasing Tests' section of the User Guide. Please see here for a short video on purchasing credits for tests: https://youtu.be/1bzwlUIVuqQ




How do I purchase tests without access to a Credit/Debit Card?


Please send your order by email to dots@erc.ie, including the following information: your school details; a contact name and number; a Purchase Order number for invoicing; and details of the type and number of tests that you want to buy. Please note (if required), you can generate a quote from the payment portal on ERC DOTS - after you have selected the tests you want to order, and before the step for processing payment. Please attach this PDF quote to your order email.




How do I set up a test session?


Click the Test Scheduler (using the tab along the left-hand side of the screen). You need to complete all required sections (see the 'Assigning Tests to Students' section of the User Guide).




I can’t save the new Test Session. What should I do?


Usually, this means that you do not have enough credits for the particular type of test that you want to administer (for example, DPRT or DPMT). You can only set up a test session if you have enough credits for that test type. If you bought 20 reading tests and are planning a session for 22 students, you need to buy two more tests.




How do I check how many credits of each test type we have available to use?


While you are logged in, your credits are visible on your account home screen under Product Balance. You can see how many credits for each test type that are available for you to use. Your credit balance is also visible when selecting the test type in the Test Scheduler screen.





ERC DOTS Testing

What do I need on the day of testing?


Please ensure that you have the following ready before beginning your test session: Printed passwords for all students. The Test ID and section password if required (printed on cover page of student passwords) Printed Test Administration Manual for the test you are administering. To access the manual, go to the Resource Area (using the tab along the left-hand side of the screen) and download the manual for your selected tests (e.g. DRT Test Admin Manual).




When I click Get Password, nothing happens. What should I do?


Check that pop-ups are enabled. You need to enable pop-ups to allow the file to open.

Passwords appear as PDF files in your download centre. If more than one class are testing in the same session, separate PDFs will appear for each class.




I have printed passwords for a test session but there are no passwords shown on the sheet. What should I do?


There may be no students in the test session. If you added the class to the test session before it was populated with student details, you will have to remove ( click on the X to the right of the class name in School Classes) and then reselect the class (making sure you have populated the students to this class).




How do I add a new student for testing (before the test session start date)?


If you have already set up a test session for this class and wish to include a new student you will have to: Delete the test session completely, and set up a new test session with the updated class list.
OR Set up a separate test session for just this new student, following the steps in the User Guide section on How To Exclude students (in this case, excluding all students except the new student). For instructions on adding students to a class, please see the Adding Students section of the User Guide.





During Testing

A student login screen looks funny | My student can’t see part of the question. How can I fix this?


Adjust the zoom setting on the screen. If the problem persists, change browser or change device.




A student logged out of the test early or was disconnected from wifi. What should I do?


Log back in. All completed answers are saved, and the student will be returned to their last location on the test.




A question in the test has frozen | A student is stuck on a question | A student can’t access part 2 of the test. How can I fix this?


If you are experiencing issues (e.g., timer issues or accessing Part B of a test), please ensure that you close out of the browser completely between test sessions. If issues persist, in this order try:

  1. Refreshing the page (e.g., press F5 or CTRL + F5 - this can vary across devices).
  2. If the problem persists, logout and then log back in again.
  3. Change to another browser (Firefox, Chrome) and log in.
  4. The device may be too old or its screen resolution too poor. If so, try logging in on another device.
Note: It is ESSENTIAL that you logout from the old device before logging in on a new one. If all else fails, set up a new test session for the school with the affected student as a sole occupant. If you are contacting ERC DOTS support, please have the login numbers of affected students, the test session ID, and details of the devices and browsers being used to test.




The school internet crashed during testing | All screens are frozen. What do I need to do?


Ask all students to log out of the test and to close all browser windows. Then, when the internet connection has been re-established, ask them to re-open their browsers and to log in as normal. Please be assured that all questions answered before the crash have been saved to the system.




There is an additional student who needs to be added to the testing session, but testing has already started. What should I do?


Test sessions cannot be altered once they are Active. Please do not edit classes/add student details to classes that are allocated to a test session - editing student details for classes that have been allocated to a test session may cause problems for that session. The best approach in this case would be to create a new test session with the additional student as the sole occupant of the session. If you need help with this, please contact us at dots@erc.ie or 01 8065 223.




We need to test a student who was absent on the day that tests were administered, but now the test window has closed. What can I do?


You can arrange a new test session yourself from within ERC DOTS - simply set up a new session for the student who was absent (i.e., excluding all the students who have already tested). Any test credits that are not used during a session become available again to be re-assigned once a test session’s end date has passed.





Editing Classes & Students

How do I delete a student who has never been assigned a test?


You can delete student details from within the Students tab. Click the box to the left of the student (or multiple students, as appropriate). The box or boxes will be ticked and a red Delete button will appear above the student list. Click Delete. Press F5 to refresh the screen to confirm the deletion.




I can’t delete a student. How can I fix this?


You can’t delete a student if she or he has completed a test, or has been scheduled to take one. For example, if Joan is in a class that is scheduled to do the DRT next week, she can’t be deleted. You will need to delete the test session, delete Joan’s details, and then create a new test session. (This is one reason to delay setting up test sessions until close to the time (e.g., the week before testing).) If a student (or their parents) want their data to be completely removed from the system for data privacy reasons, they can send a Subject Access Request to delete their data to data.protection@erc.ie.





Reporting after Testing

There is some content missing from our reports, or the formatting is incorrect. How can I rectify this?


Please contact the ERC DOTS team in the ERC (dots@erc.ie) with a description of the problem (and, ideally, a screenshot). We will rectify the problem. Please be assured that there will be no loss of data.




Reports are not showing despite all students having tested. How can I fix this?


Please check that your test window has closed (i.e., that you have passed the last date scheduled for testing on the system), and that all students have completed the test. If you wish to download reports before the testing winow has closed, navigate to the Test Scheduler window. Click the cog wheel where you accessed the passwords for that session and click Finish Session (see the screenshot below). Please note, if you wish to test any absent/not yet tested pupils from a session for which you have clicked Finish Session, you will need to create a new session for these pupils.