Tips: Varied questions by random values

KTH’s unit for educational support describes an examination plan regarding numeracy. It is based on systematic random variations of the calculation data, where several parameters were changed in parallel.


When examining math skills, it can sometimes be difficult to determine if it is a coincidence that students have used the same value or if it is due to cheating.


But it is possible to vary calculation tasks without affecting the students’ ability to show learning objectives with the same level of difficulty.

This example from KTH describes how calculation data was varied by several factors at the same time:

  • Vary values using the students’ social security number.
  • Vary values using a random number generator (e. g. Canvas Quiz question type “formula question”).
  • Vary values and make small variations on the wording and pictures of the tasks using different versions of the same question randomly from a Canvas question bank. Use one question bank per task.

The result? The teachers in the example write: “Because each task differed from student to student, a higher reliability for the examination was achieved. It is more difficult to dismiss plagiarized tasks (where students “happen” to use the same value) as typos as there are several values that ‘accidentally’ coincide.