Computer Based Testing Facility

At the Computer-Based Testing Facility (CBTF) in the Grainger College of Engineering students take computer-based assessments in a convenient, proctored environment.

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.

CBTF Online

There are still many uncertainties this upcoming semester, but here is what we do know:

CBTF in-person exams are cancelled for Fall 2020. Capacity constraints in the CBTF labs following safety and health guidelines are too low to support the number of students and exams.

CBTF Online is a Zoom-based human proctoring service for exams using PrairieLearn, Gradescope, and/or other learning management systems, provided by the Computer-Based Testing Facility (CBTF) proctors in the Grainger College of Engineering, in cooperation with the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences (LAS). CBTF Online will handle the logistics of exam scheduling.

To learn more about CBTF Online services, visit the CBTF website.

For further information about PrairieLearn:

PrairieLearn: An Adaptive Online System for Mastery Learning
Watch Prof. Matt West as he introduces PrairieLearn at the "Toward an Illinois Learning Sciences Design Laboratory: A Lightning Symposium" event.
PrairieLearn: Mastery-based Online Problem Solving with Adaptive Scoring and Recommendations Driven by Machine Learning
To incorporate both mastery learning and spaced-repetition concepts into online homeworks, the PrairieLearn web-based homework system was developed. This system simultaneously models both student ability and question difficulty and guides students by adaptively awarding students different numbers of points to each question (positive for corrects answers, negative for incorrect answers.)
PrairieLearn: Getting Started
PrairieLearn is an online problem-driven learning system for creating homeworks and tests. It allows questions to be written using arbitrary HTML/JavaScript, thus enabling very powerful questions that can randomize and autograde themselves, and can access client- and server-side libraries to handle tasks such as graphical drawing, symbolic algebra, and student code compilation and execution.

Testing Facilities

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.

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