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Approaches to Computer Aided Assessment in the Sciences

Dr Trevor Hawkes, Mathematics Institute, University of Warwick

Special Requirements, Special Rewards
Some features of computer-aided assessment peculiar to mathematical subjects

Assessing mathematics online presents challenges, both to software developers and to authors (teachers writing questions and creating assessments). Happily, there is a flip side. As if to compensate for these hurdles, there is scope for real pedagogical gain when it comes to writing questions with mathematical content. This article presents work from an Education Innovation Fund project, CAA in the Sciences. Some examples of question formats are offered that allow tutors to stretch the testing capability of computer aided assessment software into deeper cognitive areas and to avoid the common traps of minor errors in answers and provision of meaningful feedback. Case studies in science departments at Warwick are outlined to illustrate the achievements to date, including the use of a team of IT-savvy postgraduates to contribute to question authoring and support to students.

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