Evaluation Instruments: Online versions and controls

Administering the FCI or MBT online

There are a few existing options for teachers who wish to administer the FCI or MBT online. These include:

Use a lockdown browser if possible. (Respondus lockdown browser is an example that works with most online test software/platforms.) Lockdown browsers prevent students from taking screenshots, accessing email, etc. (if you or your institution use online tests frequently, you may want to look into this option for all online assessments).

Posting FCI or MBT in other electronic format:

Instructors who wish to post either of these assessments in electronic format other than those mentioned above must comply with the following guidelines.


Alternative platforms must be “field proven” and used by mainstream educational organizations. If you use another platform, such as Blackboard, Moodle, etc., ensure that your IT department uses all appropriate security measures to prevent hacking into the system.

  • In any other platform, each student must have an individual login that cannot be used by another.
  • Paginate the assessment so the problem order and layout matches those on the paper version.
  • Do not allow the testing software to randomize either the problem order or the answer order.


The assessment must be taken under supervision. This means:

  • Administer the test in a single classroom or computer lab with a teacher/professional present who understands the need to keep the assessment secure.
  • If students request scratch paper (a good test taking skill), be sure to provide only one sheet and collect them all at the end of the time period.
  • Do not allow students access to cameras, cell phones, email, nor to flash drives or any other removable storage while they are taking this assessment.
  • If a class size is large enough that the instructor is not familiar with all the students, take the same steps your institution uses to insure the identity of students for finals and other exams (e.g. requiring ID).

Additional supervision suggestions:

  • Use a lockdown browser if possible. (Respondus lockdown browser is an example that works with most online test software/platforms.) Lockdown browsers prevent students from taking screenshots, accessing email, etc.
  • The assessment must not be accessible to students outside of the supervised period: Either change the password to something that is not known to the students, or use your web server software to exclude access to it.
  • For make up tests, we recommend pencil and paper versions, as it may be difficult to adjust your online version to allow for access during these other times.

Time limits:

Students must have a limited time to access the assessment. In order to ensure this, complete at least two of the following steps:

  • Change the password after each class.
  • Limit the exact hours each individual student can access to their time in class.
  • Set your software so students can only access the test once.

Other time limit suggestions:

  • The suggested time limit for either of these assessments is 45 minutes.
  • In the case of students with documented special needs that are entitled to extra time, you can adjust the above guidelines to accommodate them, but these accommodations must not allow other students to access the assessment outside of class time. If your qualified student(s) will be taking/completing the test in another room, be sure that the supervisor of that rooms understands the importance of security for this assessment.

Other guidelines:

  • Do not identify either of  these assessments by name. Instead, use “Mechanics Concepts Pre-test,” “Assessment of Basic Physics Knowledge” or something similar.
  • Do not tell students their individual scores, nor discuss the questions with them. (Remind them that there will be plenty of similar problems during the semester).
  • Stress that this assessment is designed to evaluate the instructor and the instructor’s use of curriculum, not the strength of any individual student.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


thirty two + = thirty four

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong> <span style="">