STACK Frequently Asked Questions
Frequently Asked Questions about STACK
What is STACK?
STACK is a web-based assessment system for mathematics and STEM generally. It was designed to assess students' answers which are numeric and algebraic expressions, but is also suitable for a range of other subjects.
What makes STACK different?
STACK puts a computer algebra system at the heart of the project. This gives STACK mathematical integrity, reliability and sophistication. This is the key advantage of STACK.
STACK is designed to allow teachers create their own tests reliably, with a full question authoring system.
How much does it cost?
STACK is free and open-source meaning that anyone can use it or adapt it to their needs.
Who created STACK?
STACK was developed at the University of Birmingham, and the University of Edinburgh now hosts the STACK project. In addition teachers universities and commercial companies around the world are now using STACK.
Is STACK just for mathematics tests?
Not at all. While STACK’s design makes it extremely useful for maths testing, it can be adapted for a range of tests. Organisations and schools worldwide have already started adapting it subjects such as chemistry, psychology, company skills-testing, and zoology.
How can I give my students access to these tests?
STACK originated as a Moodle question type. It has been ported to the ILIAS learning management system, or STACK can be included within other systems via the LTI protocol. We have a prototype stand-alone API (as of August 2017).
STACK concentrates on questions, with quiz management functions delegated to the hosting management system, e.g. Moodle. This takes advantage of all the accessibility features provided by these larger and well-supported learning systems.
Is STACK available in other languages?
Yes, STACK is routinely used in most European languages, in Japanese and many others. The team of volunteer translators within the Moodle project keep STACK translations up to date as new releases are developed.
Does STACK run on mobile devices?
Yes, STACK runs on phones, tablets, and desktops without any changes by taking advantage of the standards and styles provided by the hosting management system.
Can I try out STACK?
Yes, there is a STACK demonstration site available which you are welcome to make use of.
Can you help me get started?
STACK is a highly sophisticated tool, but it has been designed to be as easy-to-use as possible for new teachers. Each STACK installation has built-in documentation, you can refer to the author quickstart guide on the demo site as a starting point.
What are the system requirements for a STACK server?
As STACK is a question type for Moodle, it should be able to be installed as part of any Moodle server.
At the University of Edinburgh, STACK is installed on Debian, but it should be possible to install and run STACK on other Linux distros as well.
More detailed information about STACK server system requirements is on the STACK wiki.
Can I make changes to STACK?
Yes. STACK is open-source, and we welcome contributions at many levels: examples, sample questions, studies to understand students' use and of course new features.
To find out more about the codebase see our code repository on github.
How can I get in touch with you?
Want to share something you've created? We are always interested in hearing from you. Our contact details are on our contact page.