have a web-based placement test, but we don't use webwork for it.
Actually, webwork comes into the picture, but in a limited way.
Some questions you should consider are:
If it is only advisory and you don't need to keep records, then setting
it up with webwork via guest logins should not be very hard. If you
want to track who has taken it and their scores (probably a good idea),
you can probably hack webwork to handle that too, but it will start to
be a hassle.
- Are you going to require students to take it?
- Are the results binding in any way, or just advisory?
- Who, if anyone, will need to see the scores?
- Do you need scores to interface to some other system?
For a while, our test was advisory but we wanted to keep records. We
coded the test as a long webwork problem (all multiple choice),
generated lots of versions, and stored them statically (the html page,
the images, and the answer keys). We then wrote other software to
deliver, score, record, and report scores. That duplicates part of what
webwork can do, but for multiple choice tests it is easy to code and it
was worth having it taylored to be exactly how we wanted it. Students
could cheat, but who cheats on a self-advisory placement test? Well,
probably lots of people, but talk about someone cheating themself.
The test turned out to be a good predictor of failure in our biggest
course, so taking it was made mandatory. I think at the moment,
students don't have to acheive a passing score to enroll in a
particular course, but we require that they have some score. This again
cuts down on the incentive to cheat. It puts the department in the
position of trying to be helpful in placing students rather than trying
to obstruct their getting into classes they need.
Students could answer randomly, but the hope was that most students
would actually do the placement test and heed our warnings if they did
poorly. The scores are uploaded to a university system so that academic
advisors across campus can see them (and they have access to department
recommendations on what scores should be good enough for each course).
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