The University of Illinois at Chicago’s placement testing system is utilized by incoming students from all over the world. Pixo transformed UIC’s former pen and paper, on-campus placement testing structure to a fully functional, online, and timed testing solution.

CLIENT University of Illinois at Chicago, Office of Student System Services

The Challenge

Our goal was to create an online placement testing system where students can take timed tests from any location and any country. The system also needed to tie in with the University’s Net ID; the student login authentication system.

Technology

We were originally asked to build the system using Moodle and Quiz Port (Moodle’s default Quiz that allows branching), but after discovering that the testing answers would be revealed in the browser (and to students), we developed an alternative as this wasn’t suitable for graded tests. We built a new custom quiz module that allows branching, does not reveal the answers, and is fully secure.

student login system

When students are done taking a test, generated reports are automatically sent to the grading system. Due to the validity of the data, we had to be extremely accurate in designing the functionality of this reporting system as student grades are on the line and there is no room for error.

Foreign Language Keyboards

One of the most interesting parts of creating this system was the integration of onscreen foreign language keyboards including: japanese, chinese, spanish, and greek. Pixo was in touch with native speakers and instructors to verify accuracy. The keyboards were tested across multiple computers and browsers as each appears slightly different.

Because these are timed tests, we wanted to make sure there was no bias between foreign language keyboards and usage time. Before each student begins the real test, they take a non-timed test to make sure the keyboards work and they have the correct tools. They have to pass this test before beginning.

OUTCOME

Enhancements to the UIC Placement testing system will continue to evolve as new tests are added. A number of future improvements are planned for the coming years including adding other foreign language tests and math tests. Feedback from administration, staff, and students has been overwhelmingly positive.

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