Ready to hit the books?
Whether you’re pumped for back to school season or not, quizzes always pop!
Today, just in time for the new semester and hot on the heels of our PD article, let’s study up on how to make a quiz that scores.
Full disclosure: Yes, I’m a teacher, and I’m totally into learning. But you don’t have to be a teacher to give a good quiz! Whether you’re giving a personality test or a candidate quiz, these tips will help you assess whether your assessment measures up!
Build a Better Quiz
FIRST: Know your stuff. There’s nothing worse than a test the author fails. If you’re not sure of the answers, do your research before you subject test-takers to your mistakes. Nobody’s an expert in everything, but you need to be absolutely accurate on everything you test others on. Plus, be sure you’re using the right assessment question types.
For a multiple-choice quiz, this means being absolutely sure that the correct answer is included among your options. Sometimes test makers are so focused on giving plausible alternative answers that they forget to include the right answers. Yikes! Be sure to double-check and review — don’t let this happen to you!
In what state is New York City located?
- New Jersey
- North Carolina
- New Hampshire
- North Dakota
- New Mexico
FOCUS: What’s your goal? I’m definitely not suggesting that you teach to the test, but your testing should definitely reflect the topics you’ve covered. If you’ve been studying and practicing homophones and just announced that you’re giving a quiz on homophones, that’s exactly what the quiz should be about. While it’s totally natural to build upon existing knowledge, keep to your intended topic. Throwing in random items that test something else won’t help you evaluate whether or not learners have made measurable progress on the intended objectives.
FAIRNESS: Getting stressed out while taking a quiz is pretty common. Exacerbating that stress intentionally is an obvious no-no for quiz designers, but there’s still a reason I’m mentioning it here: People do it all the time! Some test creators find it nearly irresistible to include little tricks — trick questions, tricky wording, or even problems that are impossible to solve. If you’re running a stress test or a psychological experiment, okay, but if you’re trying to test a concept or skill, keep it together!
A critical element here is clarity. Language should not get in the way of understanding. Otherwise, you’re really testing the participant’s ability to read your mind!
Which of the following would you not do if someone was unable to access their account without having login details delivered to them by an account administrator?
FLOW: Again, this varies by purpose, but in most cases, flow is a useful consideration to make sure you’re testing the participant’s knowledge rather than test-taking skills alone. When having a conversation, you naturally flow from topic to topic, using clues and context to ensure your interlocutor is along for the ride. On a feedback form, survey, or any other data collection method, the same ideas apply. You don’t see verbal and math questions mixed up on the SAT, GRE, or any other major exam. Remember all of those guiding instructions included in standard exams — the ones your teacher read aloud as you anxiously waited to get started, or that you skipped past to dig in to the real questions on the next screen. These instructions help both test takers and test makers by improving focus rather than increasing disorientation.
FOLLOW-UP: How soon can you deliver results? If you’ve used a quiz tool with automatic scoring, you can include scores on the post-submission results page. You can also deliver automated Instant Thanks messages that include scores and relevant follow-up messages, like congratulations for passing… or invitations to review sessions.
Put Your Quiz Results to Work
No matter your tools, topics, or participants, it’s important to set expectations about what’s next. There’s a reason you gave this assessment. Make sure you have a plan regarding results. Maybe it’s advancing to the next level of studies or gaining an additional certification. Maybe it’s reminding participants of review opportunities before they try again. How much of this can be automated? The more you can integrate within your existing tools and processes, the better off you’ll be.
Ready to go? Get started today and create a quiz that delivers A+ results!