High stakes assessment

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Jenny Hughes

May 11, 2021, 6:18:09 AMMay 11
to Numbas Users

Has anyone been using Numbas for summative assessment with students off campus on their own devices? We are setting up Numbas as an LTI tool at Sheffield and it's really helpful to look at what other institutions have done already. If you have used it for high stakes assessment I'd be grateful to hear about what you used and how it went.
I've been reading this post https://www.numbas.org.uk/blog/2020/03/how-numbas-can-help-during-the-covid-19-crisis/ which suggests the Safe Exam browser but it's good to know if there is anything else out there.

Thanks in advance,


Timur Zaripov

May 13, 2021, 12:11:11 PMMay 13
to numbas...@googlegroups.com
Dear Jenny,

I can’t answer your question, but I wonder if there is a workaround in the “Remark” feature for the mark overwrite by students: if the exam is remarked in the LTI tool using the copy of original exam, it will ensure marks are not tampered with.

However, if somehow students can fish out correct answers using developer tools, then my method will not help.

With best regards,
Timur Zaripov.

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Jenny Hughes

May 14, 2021, 4:59:05 AMMay 14
to numbas...@googlegroups.com
Hi Timur,

Thank you for getting back to me. I'd not thought about that as a possible risk so will add it to the things to consider. It looks like there may be ways to deal with them being able to get into developer tools though at least.

Best wishes


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Digital Learning Adviser (Faculty of Science) 
Digital Learning Team
Academic Programmes & Student Engagement (APSE)

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Johan Slabbert

May 14, 2021, 6:42:28 AMMay 14
to Numbas Users
Hi there Jenny

We have been using it for high stakes tests for the past 3 years (Previously built into "very old 2.7 Moodle" but since May 2020 have been using Numbas LTI)

Long story short. Use it with Nginx (NOT Apache), Have the number of CPU cores (nproc) the same as the number of of workers / daphne processes

We have written 4000+ Tests at once! and currently: (42 courses with 129 000+ Attempts in 2020)

Other tips. Keep it updated: https://www.numbas.org.uk/blog/ - check for new versions and then also : https://numbas-lti-provider.readthedocs.io/en/latest/installation/upgrade.html (currently busy upgrading from 2.9 from January to 2.12 which was released in April

Also maybe run Zabbix as well to check throughput before and during the tests etc.

Must say Numbas LTI works REALLY well, but needs some tweaking to get it going

Christian and the team have been really helpful getting this running and improving the LTI Tool.

PS - also enable the "email receipts"

PS2 - Numbas basically DOWNLOADS the SCORM package to the student's PC where they "do" the test and it syncs the results back to the server. NB students must NOT close their browsers till they get the GREEN bar stating all submissions have been synced to the server!. Some students think once they get "kicked" after the test ends they can just shut down and go "grab a beer"... The system might still be uploading submissions back to the server so they MUST wait (it also syncs if they review - EXCEPT if they maybe cleared they cache like some like to down - clear cache when closing browser etc).

PS3 - have / learn some Linux skills like updates and editing via "nano" :P

PS4 - Make sure Students ONLY use UPDATED Chrome / Firefox (on PC or Mac)

Johan Slabbert
Educational Technology Project Manager
Department for Education Innovation
University of Pretoria
South Africa
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