Assignment Time Estimates

Assignment times are the estimated amount of time a student spent online working on assignments. Assignment time estimates can be viewed on the Scores pages.

Assignment time estimates can be used to compare student performance, identify when students are having problems with a particular assignment, and identify when an assignment might be much easier than other assignments in a class.

Time estimates are updated once daily, so there might be some lag between when a student completes an assignment and when you can view the time on the Scores pages.

The Fine Print About Time Estimates

Note Time estimates are dependent upon student interaction with WebAssign. There is no way to account for the way a student spends the time between interactions or the time a student spends working offline. If a student walks away from the computer while working on a question without entering an answer or submitting work, the time estimate will be skewed by the time spent away from the computer. If a student works on an assignment while not signed in to WebAssign then the time spent solving the question will not be accounted for.

Time estimates for questions are calculated using data from assignments set to question part or question level submission. All of a student's submissions for a question, or question part, are counted towards the time it took the student to answer the question. The time spent on a question is measured starting with the student's last interaction with an assignment and ending with the time the student submits an answer. Interactions with an assignment can include:

  • downloading an assignment
  • entering answers
  • submitting answers

So, the time spent between downloading an assignment and submitting an answer to a question would count as the time spent on that question. The time spent between submitting the previous question and submitting an answer for the next question, would count as time spent working on the next question. When a student submits the answers to several questions at once, the time spent on the submission is divided equally between all question parts in the submission and the time estimate for each question is the sum of a question's parts.

The time between a student's answer being saved by WebAssign and the student submitting an answer is calculated into the total assignment time.

For example, if a student uses 3 submissions for a question the sum of the time spent on each submission is added together to calculate the amount of time a student spent on a question. This time is then averaged in with the times for other students to calculate the question time estimate.

The estimated amount of time it takes to answer questions is then used to estimate the amount of time students will spend on an assignment and the estimated range of time students will spend answering the selected number of questions in a question pool.

Question Pool Estimates

The time estimate for a question pool is a range that is calculated using the sum of the lowest and highest time estimates for the number of questions you choose to use from the pool. For example, if you choose to use 2 out of 5 questions in a pool, then the lowest time is the total of the 2 shortest question times and the highest time is the total of the 2 longest question times. A good question pool will have a small range because all questions in the pool should have similar time estimates in order to ensure fairness to all students.

Assignment Estimates

The time estimate for an assignment is calculated by adding the estimates for all of the questions in the assignment with the average of any question pool ranges in the assignment. When calculating the time for an assignment that contains a question pool, the average of the question pool's range is used. Any questions without time estimates are not counted toward the assignment time estimate and should be manually accounted for.