How to kill the “no mark!” error message

Some of your students may have triggered an error message like this:

error message

What is it? What triggers it? How do you fix it?

What it is for?

It’s an anti-cheating device. In the past, some students used the back button to give themselves multiple tries at the same question. Others would open a new tab or window to google the answer. Any click outside of the quiz area now triggers the error message.

What goes wrong?

Yacapaca cannot distinguish between an intentional and an unintentional click. In lesson observation, I have seen students click outside the quiz area without even realising they did so. Very frustrating for them, but help is at hand – see below.

What else goes wrong?

Many school and home computers still have Microsoft Internet Explorer installed. This is an obsolete browser which does not always cope with modern HTML5 websites. Specifically, it is incompatible with the implementation of drag and drop in the ReactJS library. We use this for Pair Match and Sequence questions. Why this triggers the anti-cheating system I don’t know, but it does. As the bug is inside MSIE we can’t fix this, and Microsoft won’t fix it.

How to fix the problem of unintentional clicks outside the quiz area

Unintended clicks happen when students do not have adequate control over the cursor. I have seen cases where schools had centrally set the tracking speed of their mice to the highest setting, and younger students’ cursors were flying all over the place. Check your schools’ settings are appropriate to your students and not your technicians. Beyond that, awareness. Show students on the whiteboard how to trigger the alert, so they understand what has happened if they do still do it.

How to fix the Internet Explorer incompatibility

Tell your students to use modern browsers. Chrome, Firefox, Safari and Edge (v79 and greater) all work perfectly. We have just added a popup to the student module, to warn users of Internet Explorer that they might hit a problem. It does not stop them using the browser, so if they have no alternative then they can still proceed without the drag/drop questions.

msie error

My thanks to the inimitable Vee Lakhani and his students at Chesham Grammar School  for all their help in exploring this issue.

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