Cell metadata disappears

Hi everyone!

I use Jupyter Notebooks for exercises in my class. The students write code into Notebook cells, which are protected from deletion by setting the argument deletable to false in the cell metadata. The cells are also linked to tests using a custom cell metadata tag named test, which holds the name of the associated test as the string. My tool then runs the Notebook cell and the tests to check the students’ solutions.

However, recently I’ve come across weird behaviour: my students report that the tests no longer run, and when I investigate the matter, I see that the cell metadata often disappears from the last code cell in the Notebook.

A simple explanation would be that the students simply delete the cells, but they are protected against deletion. I’ve also asked the students, and they have not messed with the metadata intentionally.

Is there a possibility that some keyboard shortcut might delete the cell metadata? Otherwise I’m super confused by this, because not all students report this behaviour, so I’m also thinking that it might be a bug?

Here’s some info on my system:

jupyter                       1.0.0
jupyter-client                7.1.0
jupyter-console               6.4.0
jupyter-core                  4.9.1
jupyter-server                1.13.1
jupyter-telemetry             0.1.0
jupyterhub                    2.0.0
jupyterlab                    3.2.5
jupyterlab-pygments           0.1.2
jupyterlab-server             2.9.0
jupyterlab-widgets            1.0.2
nbclassic                     0.3.4
nbclient                      0.5.9
nbconvert                     6.3.0
nbformat                      5.1.3
notebook                      6.4.6

Any insights would be much appreciated! Happy to dig out additional information, if anyone has questions.