Teaching staff at the National Institute of Applied Sciences in Lyon (INSA-Lyon), one of the leading engineering schools in Europe, have implemented Maple T.A. to administer student tests.
The undergraduate programme places emphasis on students mastering basic fundamentals as well as calculus in their first year. Calculus was deemed important for its role in mathematics, chemistry and physics. Placement tests were carried out at the beginning of the year, and a programme was put in place to track the progress of first-year students.
The exams consisted of multiple-choice questions and the tests were handwritten. The assessment of such a large numbers of students proved to be a time-consuming and laborious task.
Philippe Lonjou, associate professor at INSA Lyon said: ‘When we looked for the right testing tool, we wanted to find a system supporting the assessment of mathematical expressions, a crucial function for us as an engineering school, we found Maple T.A. to be the best option.’
Maple T.A. is a web-based system for creating tests and assignments, and automatically assessing student responses and performance. It supports complex, free-form entry of mathematical equations and intelligent evaluation of responses, making it ideal for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).
A number of features in Maple T.A. were of particular interest to the teaching staff at INSA Lyon. ‘Maple T.A. allows us not only to assess mathematical expressions, but also to accurately grade different variations of the same question. We can also see the progress made by the students in various courses and topics, and provide them with additional practice questions they can solve at their own pace,’ added Lonjou.
With 30 per cent of the student population at INSA de Lyon consisting of foreign students, and 25 per cent of students entering their third year directly from varied educational paths, there is a strong need to consolidate their skill levels and knowledge base and bring them to the level required to be successful at the university.