7 November 2012: Automatic assessment of mathematics

Presenter: Christopher Sangwin (University of Birmingham, UK)

Hosted by Dr Mathew Hillier, University of Queensland, Australia starting 07:00AM UST/GMT. Duration 1 hour, 6 minutes.

In this session Chris described and demonstrated a new question type for the Moodle quiz which is designed to assess mathematics. The basic design requires students to respond with an algebraic expression, rather than using multiple choice questions. Using this technology we may

  • randomly generate versions of problems;
  • establish the properties of any answers;
  • generate outcomes, such as feedback.

It was explained why this leads to a much wider range of valid assessments in methods-based courses and mathematical subjects.

Changes in student behaviour as a result of this work were also considered.

Underlying the assessment process is a library of computer algebra functions which are used to establish the mathematical properties of students' answers. For example, establishing that the student's answer is the "same" as the teacher's. The theoretical and practical issues associated with this in the context of the design goals and practical decisions made in developing the 'System for Teaching and Assessment using a Computer algebra Kernel' (STACK) were discussed.

Lastly, consideration was made of how free-form logical arguments might be assessed in the future.

Further information:

Session recording

Start playing via You Tube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7aqYgCohLlk

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