(Photo Martin Pot, CC-BY 3.0, Wikimedia Commons)

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.

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

Design goals

  • Scalable, reliable and accessible to a broad range of users.
  • Good at maths, but usable for other subjects too.
  • Good-looking and easy for students to use.
  • Used by question authors who aren't experts.
  • Emphasis on creating rich formative e-assessment and learning materials.
  • Feedback an important part of the design and implementation.

Why use Numbas?

  • Easy to obtain, use and tailor to your own requirements.
  • You have full control over the creation, use and dissemination of assessment.
  • Customisable everywhere, from appearance down to core functionality.
  • Browser-based so you can include all that the web can offer.
  • Sustainability built in - fully supported by the School of Maths and Stats at Newcastle.

Integration with a VLE

  • Numbas can use the SCORM standard to integrate with compliant VLEs, such as Moodle and Blackboard.
  • Or there's a Basic LTI tool provider which works better than most SCORM implementations.
  • Or you can use it without a VLE.

Current use

  • At Newcastle in the Maths and Stats degree, and many service courses.
  • 100+ universities in the UK and around the world.

The mathcentre editor

  • Open to everyone.
  • Over 1,000 questions available to use.
  • Collect ready-made questions into a custom test, or write your own.

Transition material

This Summer, five student interns made > 150 questions aimed at transition to uni.

All available under CC-BY licence.

A great place to start!

Get involved



Source code

Task 1: Create a test using existing questions.

  1. Register at
  2. Browse the question bank. Try a few questions.
  3. Add some questions to your "basket", and create an exam using them.
  4. Upload your exam to Blackboard.

Task 2: Intro to writing questions.

  1. Have a look at the Numbas documentation on question writing (
  2. Think of your own question, and implement it.


  • Give everything sensible names!
  • Avoid complicated ideas