DMAS: A Web-based Distributed Mathematics Assessment System

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Assessing student performance and understanding is very important in education generally and in Mathematics education in particular. DMAS is a Web-based Distributed Mathematics Assessment system that can be of great value to teachers and students of Mathematics. Features of DMAS include: DMAD (the core Distributed Mathematics Assessment database), test authoring tool for teachers, online taking of tests, grading and results administration, comprehension diagnoses and linking to remedial materials. DMAS supports many problem types and allows mathematical formulas as well as geometry drawings to be part of questions and answers. Furthermore, DMAS supports the use of test taking as a teaching method. A teacher can monitor all students from the teacher terminal in real-time and either verbally guide the whole class on certain points or interact privately with one or more students via instant text-messaging provided by DMAS. A new Assessment Markup Language, MAML, is designed to make tests and test questions easy to share widely on the Web. Although developed as a sub-system of WME (Web-based Mathematics Education), DMAS is an independent Web system easily interfaced to any Web page through a well-defined API. DMAS system consists of local databases at individual school websites. Each local database collects assessment questions contributed (exported) by teachers in a particular school to be used (copy imported) and perhaps shared with other teachers from same or different schools. Teachers can use the powerful search engine (DMASEngine) to search for assessment questions. Search can be narrowed by subject, topic, grade-level, question type, keyword, and author. DMAD component, as the core component of the DMAS system, is designed to work as one distributed database while providing power, unity, and convenience at each participating school. The system helps create, revise, administer, and grade exams that can contain various types of questions: multiple choices, true-or-false, extended (essay) questions, short answers, two-columns matching, and fill-the-blank. Questions use a well-designed representation (encoding) allowing correct answers, rubrics, formulas, images, geometrical objects (SVG), and multimedia as well as interactive contents. DMAS system provides different views (modes): teacher and student modes. It also supports two types of testing: online and paper testing. The teacher can set Assessment test display options: display questions by a given order, by random questions none-random options, or by all questions/options are in random order. Tests taken online can be graded automatically and stored for teacher review, analysis, and printing. DMAS Assessment system has been piloted into seventh grade students at Kimpton Middle School, Stow, Ohio on 10/05/2007 for real-life testing and apparently teacher and student’s feedback gave good impression and encouraging feedback about the DMAS system. However, our goal is to put DMAS system under extensive trial in schools and collecting feedback and suggestions from teachers, students, school administrators and education experts to help evolve DMAS. As more schools adopt DMAS, the distributed nature of DMAS will be demonstrated in realistic situations. Because DMAS has been designed in consultation with middle school teachers and education experts, the underline DMAS system design and framework is easy and flexible for future changes, requirements, expansions, and customizations. DMAS provides features to support real-life test giving such as loss of power to a laptop and retaking of tests. DMAS is an open system implemented with standard Web/Internet technologies such as HTML, JavaScript, AJAX, XML, CSS, MySQL, and PHP and easily interoperates with other online systems.

Keywords: Assessment, DMAS, Authoring Tool, Online Testing, WME, Mathematics Education
Stream: Technology in Learning; Maths, Science and Technology Learning
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: A paper has not yet been submitted.

Saleh Al-shomrani

Ph.D. Candidate, Department of Computer Science
Institute for Computational Mathematics, Kent State University

Kent, Ohio, USA

Saleh Al-shomrani is a Ph.D. candidate and a Graduate Assistant in the Department of Computer Science at Kent State University, OH, USA. He has a Bachelor degree (B.Sc) in Computer Science from King Abdulaziz University, Saudi Arabia and a Master of Science (MS) in Math/Computer Science from Ohio University, Athens Campus, USA. He was selected by the Graduate Student Senate (GSS) for the research award for 2005 from Kent State University on April 11 2005. His current research is on Web technologies for mathematics education. In 2004, he joined the research group directed by Dr. Paul Wang, Director of the Institute for computational Mathematics at Kent State, and participated in the Web-based Mathematics Education (WME) project. Saleh is designing and implementing DMAS system using various Web technologies to support teaching and learning mathematics on the Web.

Prof. Paul S Wang

Professor, and Director of Research, Department of Computer Science
Institute for Computational Mathematics, Kent State University


A Ph.D. and faculty member from MIT, Paul Wang became a Computer Science professor (Kent State University) in 1981, and is currently a Director at the Institute for Computational Mathematics at Kent. Paul is a leading expert in Symbolic and Algebraic Computation (SAC). He has conducted over forty research projects funded by government and industry, published eight textbooks, many also translated into foreign languages, and released many software tools. He received the Ohio Governor's Award for University Faculty Entrepreneurship (2001). Paul supervised 10 Ph.D. and over 25 Master-degree students. His main research interests include Internet Accessible Mathematical Computation (IAMC), enabling technologies for and classroom delivery of Web-based Mathematics Education (WME), polynomial algorithms, as well as parallel and distributed SAC. He continues to work jointly with experts in other disciplines such as Visual Communication Design and Mathematics Education in research and curriculum development.

Ref: L08P0274