Bill Foster & Christian Perfect, Newcastle University

What is Numbas?

Numbas is an open-source system developed by the e-Learning Unit of Newcastle University's School of Maths and Stats, based on many years of use, experience and research into e-assessment.

It's aimed at numerate disciplines.

Everything runs on the client - no backend server, even for maths.

It creates SCORM-compliant exams which run entirely in the browser, compatible with VLEs such as Blackboard and Moodle.

Current use

Methods of delivery

Compatible devices

All of them!

Formative vs summative use

Computer-aided assessment is great for formative assessment.

Students can try randomised questions over and over until they're happy.

Summative assessment poses problems:

Open access

Compiled Numbas tests are SCORM packages: they're completely self-contained. Perfect for open access resources.

We want to establish a community of authors and users producing quality open-access material.

The mathcentre editor

Survey of Stage 1 students

"There was a strong consensus that the CBAs were easy to use"

"There was a strong consensus that CBAs enhance the understanding of the course."

"The perception of CBAs being, on average, easier than written assignments is not surprising given the focus on 'seen' questions and the extensive practice mode."

Report on the Numbas blog at




Source code