Many subjects across the University are challenged by students who struggle with an unexpectedly high level of assumed mathematical proficiency in their courses. As part of an ULTSEC strategic project this summer, we have aimed to tackle this problem by building a significant bank of formative mathematical tests which can be used both as a diagnostic tool and for student-led learning.
The material is largely drawn from the GCSE syllabus in mathematics, and is engaging and accessible for students, even outside of numerate disciplines.
Each question is randomised, making it perfect for practice, and has full solutions.
The material covers topics including: data collection and presentation, probability, statistics, units of measurement, area and volume, algebraic manipulation, sequences and many more. Each topic makes up a mini test with several questions.
A full list of topics can be found on the ASK website, one of the places where we are making the material available to students.
How do I give students access to the material?
Directing students to the ASK website is one possibility. Another is adding the material directly to Blackboard. Numbas embeds seamlessly into Blackboard and can also store student attempts. Adding a test is straightforward, simply select the Numbas – LTI option from the assessment menu, give the Blackboard item a name and then launch the Numbas tool. We have handily provided a menu of the tests on the right hand side of the tool, under “Select a ready-made exam”. The following video demonstrates the process of adding a test:
The settings for all of the tests are optimised for use as practice material. The students can regenerate questions to get new versions, change their answers as many times as they like and get full solutions. If you would like to customise the tests in any way then it is possible by using the Numbas editor. We can also help you to adapt material for your needs; don’t hesitate to get in touch if you require any assistance.
Thank you to our team of students and staff who have helped to develop the material, including undergraduate students Hannah Aldous, Bradley Bush, Stanislav Duris, Elliott Fletcher, Aiden McCall Lauren Richards and Maths Aid tutor Vicky Hall.