How KU Leuven uses diagnostic tests to prepare and engage students in their math summer course

KU Leuven





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KU Leuven has a rich history of six centuries that has been marked by excellent research and education. It offers courses in almost all fields and has thirteen campuses across 10 cities in Flanders. According to the Times Higher Education Rankings 2024, KU Leuven is one of the top 50 universities in the world, holding the 45th position.

Ilse Spruyt works at the Department of Mathematics, Education, Econometrics and Statistics (MEES), Brussels Campus. She teaches mathematics and statistics courses for business students.


Every year, the Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) at KU Leuven welcomes a new group of students with different levels of math pre-knowledge. Part of this group struggles to follow the lectures and ends up switching to a different program after a while. To avoid this, the mathematics team wanted to help the students prepare for the BBA program and, in particular, refresh or assess their mathematical knowledge by providing a summer course they could follow at their own pace.

“At the campus in Brussels, we have a Dutch and an English program where the Dutch program already has a preparatory track which we developed ourselves. We wanted to make sure that the English program also offers resources to help students prepare themselves better.”

Essentially, the main challenge was to provide students with individualized support for their math studies, which would ultimately lead to a better-prepared and more successful class.


Ilse looked into a couple of options and ended up choosing SOWISO, as she was already familiar with the platform because of the collaboration KU Leuven has with OMPT (which offers online math admission tests provided by SOWISO).

“When you start using SOWISO, it’s very clear right away. From the first meeting with them, I was keen on this platform because it seemed very user-friendly.

We were all so enthusiastic about the way the material was offered in SOWISO. We also didn’t want something too abstract for the BBA students. All the material we wanted was there in the form that we wanted, in the language that we wanted”.

It was important to create a workflow that would fit students’ needs, and make the learning process easier.

“I like the fact that they could start with the diagnostic test, look into some theory afterwards, see what their weaknesses were, and then practice some more. Besides, the endless practice was also something we were excited about. Students could repeat the question and get a new one each time.”

Illustration of the summer courses

To make it easier for the students, SOWISO was integrated into Blackboard. That way, students could use the same credentials to create their SOWISO accounts.

“The integration was set within one hour, the LTI link was embedded, and from there, everything ran smoothly. The students could just click on the link in Blackboard and end up in SOWISO”.

The idea was for the students to prepare by themselves by going through the Basic Math course. Each chapter of the course started with a computer-generated diagnostic test. If the students did the diagnostic test well, they would be freed up from doing (parts of) that chapter.

“We recommended they focus on the diagnostic tests, and the better they did, the less material they still had to go through”.


Throughout the summer, Ilse kept track of students’ results in the reporting environment and found out that the students were actively working through the course.

“I noticed that the students were working, and I didn’t get any complaints over email. I also saw that just under 80% of the enrolled students within the trajectory actively participated in it”.

A group of student researchers at KU Leuven intends to look further into this and get in-depth information about the student experience with the summer course and SOWISO. They are also hoping to find out why some students didn’t join it.

Ilse is currently preparing a new summer course on SOWISO for the new intake of students starting in January 2024 and is currently also investigating the possibility of including the Bachelor of Business Engineering too.

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