CaTS – Computer-based adaptive testing at university

The CaTS project focuses on a further development of traditional formative summative assessment opportunities in a university context. The project aims at the development, operation and evaluation of computer-adaptive tests in university education, in different disciplines (computer science and educational science/teacher education).

Project objectives

  1. Setup of item databases across locations. The operation of e-assessments is based on existing test items in digital format. Usage of items across locations is planned, which means that teachers from different universities need to access the database at the same time. The TBA Centre is developing and operating such a database using the TAO system, which enables creation and administration of test items as well as their annotation with metadata by the co-operation partners. In a first field test in spring / summer 2018, the tasks are tested and statistical variables are elicited for the test items. Together with the metadata, they provide a basis for selecting the test items in the adaptive assessments.
  2. Development and integration of an adaptive test environment. In connection with the item database, the TBA Centre develops a system for delivery of the adaptive e-assessments. The e-assessments are adapted to the individual test-takers’ abilities according to the lecturers‘ specifications (constraints) which are formulated with respect to item metadata, as well as according to statistical criteria of optimal performance. Necessary adaptive algorithms and the test interface are developed by the TBA Centre. These are integrated into standard learning management systems, together with an interface for lecturers for the specification of constraints (developed by project partners).

  3. Evaluation of formative and summative e-assessments. In a second field test (starting in autumn 2018), the concept is empirically tested for formative assessments. A simulation study is projected for the   evaluation of e-assessments in an examination context, and exam legislation conditions of an actual implementation will be scrutinised.


Cooperation: Goethe University Frankfurt

Cooperating universities: Hochschule Rhein-Main (Wiesbaden), Hochschule Fulda, Universität Hamburg, Universität Bielefeld

Project Management

Project Team

Daniel Bengs

Project Details

Completed projects
2017 – 2019
External funding
Research topics:
Department: Teacher and Teaching Quality
Contact: Daniel Bengs, Academic Staff