

Maple T.A. On Your Campus 


Maple T.A. Makes Online Testing
and Assignments Easy 
Maple T.A. supports complex, freeform entry and
intelligent evaluation of responses

Five thousand freshmen students are coming
to your campus this fall. Although you are looking forward
to the new wave of eager minds, their arrival bodes a
Herculean task for you and your colleagues in the Mathematics Department. In
batches of several hundred, you will herd them into auditoriums across campus.
There, dozens of proctors will administer a paperandpencil placement test
that decides which math course each freshman should take.
Your department will have
ordered 5000 paper copies of the test from a now overjoyed printing company.
Faculty will have spent hours creating multiple versions of the test to hinderthey
hopeneighboring students from trading answers. After the
test, still more staff will have to run 5000 multiplechoice
answer sheets through the scanner.
Many hours and dollars later, the hard questions still linger. Will the test place
each student in the right course? How many test takers will guess or cheat their
way into multivariable calculus but don't know a cosine from a stop sign?
Can a multiplechoice test really gauge a student’s grasp of mathematical
concepts?
Maple T.A. can free schools from the cost, effort and limitations of
paperandpencil assessment. Maple T.A. is a webbased assessment and teaching
software product from Maplesoft. With it, instructors can create online mathematics
tests, assignments, and practice sessions that are graded by the Maple engine.
Students take the tests through a standard web browser, while a Maple engine
running on the Maple T.A. server automatically grades the assignment as soon
as the student submits it. They can enter their responses either by clicking
buttons from a palette of math symbols or by typing scientificcalculator syntax
into a text box.
"It’s made it much much easier for me to teach the course online. The students can just take the test and then have it graded instantly. I don’t have to do any of that work and we don’t have the 5 or 6 day time delay of sending papers back and forth through the mail."
 Professor Kevin Vang, Minot State University

“Find
the union of the sets {a, b, c, d} and {b, e,
c, f},”
or
“Give an example of an increasing function on the interval [0, 1].” In
the design of the second question, for example, you can have the Maple server
automatically
check whether the derivative of the student’s
response is nonnegative on [0, 1].

Maple T.A. also allows randomized
questions, which obviates the manual creation of multiple
versions of a test. In the first example above, you
could either have Maple T.A. generate random elements
in the sets, pick sets at random from a collection
that you specify in advance, or have the Maple server
generate random sets of random size. Thus, during an
exam, every student would see a slightly different
version of the question. During a practice session,
a student could repeat an exercise with different parameters. 
You
can also include Maple plots inside Maple T.A. questions.
For example, you could give students a 3D plot of
a function f(x,y) and ask them to pick the contour
plot that matches it. 

