Part of the 4TU.Federation
4TU.
Centre for
Engineering Education

Project introduction and background information

Digital testing and engineering education don’t seem to match. Engineering problems mostly require extensive calculations that cannot be properly evaluated by just verifying the final answer.  In a written test the student is being steered through the problem by posing several sub questions, leading to the final answer. The instructor sees the line of reasoning of the student by reading all steps of the calculation on paper, analysing where the student went wrong.

At TU Delft we found out that using so called scenario-questions in MapleTA can help overcome problems:  In a scenario a sequence of automatically graded questions enables the instructor to pose the main question  without giving away the process of solving it. Depending on the student’s response additional questions can be offered to either underpin the initial response or elaborate on the response to explain the line of reasoning. 

In case of digital homework assignments providing instant and detailed feedback can increase the time on task and helps the student to master the concepts that are being taught. In some situations these scenario questions make cases more authentic and valid.

With growing numbers of students, reviewing homework, providing personal feedback or grading a written exam becomes too time consuming. Increasing the number of reviewers often is no option due to financial consequences. Plus, it introduces other issues such as logistics of distributing tests and possible grading inconsistencies due to multiple reviewers.

  • Ability to measure if students can solve the problem by themselves (students are not provided with the steps to solve the problem)
  • Give feedback when needed (formative)
  • Students can show their skills in small steps (summative)
  • In case of mc question: eliminate guessing

Recommendations

Interested to find out more about the possibilities for your course, please contact Digitalexams@tudelft.nl 

Practical outcomes

An article about this project, including recommendations, will be published in the Dutch magazine E-xamens 2017-2 that appears in May. Title: Digitaal toetsen van engineering lesstof op TU Delft. Visit: www.e-xamens.nl