The CBTF computer servers use web-based learning management systems to deliver the exams. The predominant system at the CBTF is PrairieLearn, an online platform for homework, quizzes, and tests. PrairieLearn enables complex, authentic (numeric, programming, graphical, design) questions. It also features randomized exam content (each student gets a unique exam), automatic scoring, and second-chance testing.
Because of the automation in the CBTF/PrairieLearn system, instructors are freed from exam logistics and grading time. It is no more effort to run more frequent, smaller exams that reduce student anxiety and better represent student learning. Offering second-chance exams reduces failure rates by allowing struggling students an opportunity to review and demonstrate mastery of concepts that they missed on an exam.
The CBTF labs are in Grainger 057 (85 seats) and in DCL L520 (35 seats). Each lab is open daily for a total of about 80 hours per week (see the CBTF schedule).
Two trained proctors ensure test security via strict check-in procedures and active monitoring. Networking and file system management are controlled. In addition to randomized seating, each of the computers is outfitted with a privacy screen that prevents test takers from reading off the screens of neighboring computers.
Students use a web-based portal (“the CBTF Scheduler”) to select an exam time within a range of days, at a time that is convenient for them. They can change or delete their exam time without faculty or staff intervention.
Faculty users invest time up-front in creating meaningful, authentic questions. Once the questions are developed, time and effort are minimal. Instructors have more time to devote to other aspects of the course, such as using test data analytics to improve and innovate.