Frequently Asked Questions about Online Testing Systems
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Frequently Asked Questions about Online Testing Systems

What is TDS?

TDS stands for “Test Delivery System”. It is the online testing system that will be used for the practice tests, training tests, and the optional ELA, Math, and science interim assessments. It is also the testing system for the summative Smarter Balanced assessments, Montana Science Assessment (MSA), and the Alternate Montana Science Assessment (AMSA).

What is TIDE?

TIDE stands for "Test Information Distribution Engine." At its core, TIDE is a registration system for users who will access CAI systems and students who will take CAI tests. It provides users with the tools to add and manage users and students participating in the English Language Arts (ELA)and Mathematics Smarter Balanced assessments, the Montana Science Assessment (MSA), and the Alternate Montana Science Assessment (AMSA).

Will the Help Desk be available in “real time” to answer questions during the administration?

Yes, the Montana Help Desk is available Monday – Friday 6:00 A.M. to 6:00 P.M. Mountain Time at 1-877-365-7915 or

What do students need to log into the Student Test Interface?

The student will need the Secure Browser installed on their testing machine. Once the Secure Browser has been installed, the student will need their first name (as shown on their student record in TIDE), SSID, and the test session ID (generated by the TA).

Are SSIDs pre-loaded in the Secure Browser?

No, SSIDs need to be entered on the machine the student will be using at the time of testing.

Will there be an error message if the entered information is wrong on the Student Test Interface?

Yes, there will be an error pop-up message in the student log in page of the Student Test Interface (Secure Browser). 

How do TAs protector Test Sessions in the TA Site?

The process for administering tests in the Test Delivery System follows the steps below. For detailed information, see the TA User Guide and/or the TA Interface Training Module.

  1. The TA selects tests and starts a test session in the TA Site.
  2. Students sign into the Student Testing Site and request approval for tests.
  3. The TA reviews students’ requests and approves them for testing.
  4. Students complete and submit their tests.
  5. The TA stops the test session and logs out. 

How do Students Sign into the Student Testing Site and Complete Tests?

The process for students signing into the Student Testing Site follows the steps below. For detailed information, see the TA User Guide and/or the Student Interface Training Module.

  1. Launch the Secure Browser on the student’s testing device and the Student Sign-In page appears.
  2. In the First Name and SSID fields, students enter their first name and SSID as they appear in TIDE.
  3. In the Session ID field, students enter the Session ID as it appears on the TA Site. The first part of the Session ID, which indicates whether a student is on the Student Testing Site or the Student Training Site, is pre-filled.
  4. After signing in, students must verify their personal information on the Is This You? Page. The student selects Yes to proceed.
  5. From the Your Tests page, the student selects the name of the test.
  6. Once students have been approved for testing, they can verify their test settings from the Your Test Settings page.
  7. Depending on the test content and the specified test settings, students may need to verify that their testing device is functioning properly on the Audio/Video Checks page.
  8. The Instructions and Help page is the last step of the sign-in process. Students may review this page to understand how to navigate the test and use test tools as well as review their test settings.
  9. To start the test, students select Begin Test Now.