Online Quiz Creation Guide

Online Quiz Creation Guide

Online quizzes can be great tools in​ helping students learn and check their comprehension of​ the information they have been taught. However, a​ quiz must be worded, ordered, and structured properly to​ ensure that students understand the appropriate material.

Like written quizzes, online quizzes are usually short in​ length and specifically test a​ student’s ability to​ comprehend information previously presented to​ him. For example, a​ student may read a​ lesson about the history of​ the automobile and then answer questions about who created the internal combustion engine, who created the Model T, and so forth.

One thing to​ keep into consideration, however, is​ that a​ quiz should test a​ student’s ability to​ recall pertinent details and make generalizations about the entire subject on which he is​ tested. Instructors commonly create questions that test irrelevant details or​ are too directly related to​ the material to​ be of​ value to​ the student. One instructor may ask for dates and names of​ famous battles in​ English history, and a​ particular student may do very well on this quiz. However, when he is​ assessed on his knowledge of​ English history and asked to​ write an​ assessment on the War of​ the Roses, he could very well come up short. The disparity stems from the low-level, pure comprehension nature of​ the questions in​ the quiz as​ compared to​ the higher-level thought process required to​ write an​ analysis of​ history.

Teachers also can make the mistake of​ creating questions that are overly general. One of​ the common complaints of​ students is​ that questions appear too abstract or​ ambiguous, and this is​ often true. an​ instructor may ask a​ question like: “What was the nature of​ early English-Native American interaction?” Such a​ question is​ perfectly innocuous, but when the answer choices are given as​ one-word characterizations like “timid,” “overbearing,” and “indifferent,” students are left to​ guess what a​ teacher “meant to​ ask” rather than ponder the material covered in​ the quiz.

A teacher must strike a​ balance between questions that are overly specific or​ overly general. While it​ is​ not always easy to​ tell what a​ “good” question entails, here are a​ few guidelines:

* The question should reflect the student’s ability to​ comprehend and not simply recall information

* The question should aid in​ a​ student’s analysis of​ the information presented

* The question should be worded such that the student cannot determine the answer easily by process of​ elimination from the answer choices

* Good questions require the judgment of​ the student so that the student does not just choose the “correct” answer, but the “best” answer

Consider the following two questions as​ illustrations of​ the points above. Both questions ask essentially the same thing, but one is​ a​ good question while the other is​ decidedly ineffective as​ a​ learning tool.

Is the NFL-AFL merger considered an​ example of​ monopoly? Why or​ why not?

Which features of​ a​ monopoly did the NFL-AFL merger exhibit? Which features allowed for an​ exemption from antitrust law?

While both of​ the above questions test a​ on a​ student’s knowledge of​ antitrust legislation and the NFL-AFL merger, the above question is​ ambiguous as​ to​ what the question really wants the student to​ respond with. The question below, while asking basically the same information, requires the student to​ cite specific examples of​ features of​ monopolies and antitrust while guiding the student in​ an​ effective analytical response. Clearly, the bottom question is​ superior.

Of course, it​ is​ difficult to​ judge every question as​ a​ “good” or​ “bad” question, but over time, educators can get a​ feel for the effectiveness of​ the quizzes by the responses they receive from their respective students. Effective quizzes will help students use knowledge in​ analytic responses and on lengthy assessments. Ineffective quizzes will encourage students to​ “brain dump,” or​ cram. if​ used correctly, quizzes are an​ indispensable tool to​ the educator and a​ great learning tool for the student.

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