Reliable online test

30 May 2013 by ICTO TEAM
Peter-Leon Hagedoorn (TNW)

Development of an online test for the course “Biochemistry 2” (LB2511) allowing students to earn a bonus that will be added to their final exam mark.

Project description
In September 2014 a new curriculum will come into force. The course “Biochemistry 2” will be examined during the final period. Halfway through the lecture series, lectures won’t be given for a week. The new digital test will be taken during the break and should be reliable and non susceptible to fraud.

Figure 1. Questions in Maple TA (click to enlarge).

The obtainable bonus points should encourage students to complete the tasks successfully and motive to start studying early, which will hopefully lead to more positive exam marks. Moreover, the test should encourage them to continue studying during the break. In this regard, the current homework assignments turn out to be unsuccessful.

Figure 2. Creating a question in Maple TA (click to enlarge).

The test was created ​​in Maple TA, hosted on the exam server, and comprised of 20 questions. Headed by supervisors, the test was taken in the computer rooms at the Faculty of Industrial Design. One hour was given to answer all the questions. The students could gain 0 (insufficient); 0.5 (6 or 7); 1.0 (8 or 9) or 1.5 (10) bonus points. 83% of all participants passed the test with a sufficient mark, with an average of 7.0. Due to a technical issue in the computer rooms, the online test had to be taken on paper.
97 of the 109 students took part in the optional bonus test. 
During the final exam (open questions) 73% of the students scored sufficient (including the bonus) with an average grade of 6.7. Without the bonus, the score was 5% lower and the final grade 0.5 less. The students were pleased with the test and found it a valuable addition to the courses.
I myself was a little disappointed in the final examination results: only those students who had already scored a good mark seemed to benefit from the bonus test.

Figure 3. The “paper” test (click to enlarge).

Tips for colleages

  • Maple TA is very suitable for facilitating digital tests.
  • Always bring a paper copy of the test.
  • Please note that it might be necessary to manually review the test.

Note: The project was carried out in cooperation with Frederiek Peterse-Lammers.

More information

Teacher: Peter-Leon Hagedoorn (AS); email:
Year: 2013-2014

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