Tests and quizzes – which tool do I choose?

This article looks at the quiz tools currently available at UWE to help you choose the correct tool for your intended learning outcomes. Here we cover asynchronous tests and quizzes, i.e. ones that students can do in their own time. For synchronous (in-class) delivery, see ‘Tests and quizzes in the (virtual) classroom’.

Quizzes and tests can support learning in many ways:

  • Consolidating learning
  • Encouraging interaction and engagement
  • Encouraging reflection
  • Formative testing for monitoring performance
  • Feedback from students during a module

To decide on the best tool for your purpose, consider not just the question types and features you are after, but also how you want to embed the tests in your teaching. You will also need to think about whether you need to record grades, and if so, how you can do that.

Blackboard

Question types

Blackboard has an impressive range of question types in its built-in test tool. Many question types are marked automatically, though there are some which require manual marking.

Features

Blackboard has great randomisation features for the order of both the questions and the possible answers. It is also possible to create question pools and randomly draw questions from these pools, which is great for formative assessment, as each test attempt is a different combination of questions.

Set-up and deployment

This very comprehensive testing tool also comes with many setting options which need to be considered carefully. The Blackboard Help Pages have a full description of the settings to help you.

Grading

One of the benefits of using Blackboard Tests is that they can be linked directly to the Grade Centre. Anonymous responses are therefore not possible; you would need to use Blackboard Surveys if you wanted anonymous feedback.

Panopto

Question types

Panopto has a built-in quiz tool that allows you to add quiz questions when editing your recording. The question types are limited to Multiple Choice type questions and Fill In The Blank questions; all are automatically marked.

Features

It is possible to add questions at any point during the video, not just at the end. The student will play the video and when it reaches a point where there is a question, it will stop and wait for the student to answer.

Set-up and deployment

Quizzes are easy to set up within the Edit screen of your Panopto video. You then share the video with students through Blackboard as normal.

Grading

As long as the permissions for the recording require a Blackboard login, you can view the results in the Panopto statistics window. It is possible to download the results in a .csv format, but unfortunately the report does need some manipulation before it can be uploaded to Blackboard.

Dewis

Question types

Dewis is used for mathematical and statistical assessments. The questions require some knowledge of programming to set up, but there are also question banks containing common question types, which can be edited to suit your purpose.

Features

The advantage of Dewis is that questions can randomly select numbers from a set of data, which means students could try the same question multiple times and still get different numbers to practise with every time. Dewis can also do follow-on marking, so if a student gets the first part of a question wrong, they can still get credit for a correct calculation based on the incorrect first result.

There is a reporting function that allows you to look at data for each question, to see what students are struggling with.

Set-up and deployment

There is some initial time cost to setting up Dewis tests and adding the links to Blackboard. The tests can then be re-used year after year, simply by copying the link to the test in Blackboard and changing the dates for the test in Dewis, which is easier to set up than Blackboard tests.

Grading

There are various ways that Dewis can be set up – from completely anonymous formative tests to tests that communicate directly with the Grade Centre in Blackboard.

Xerte

Question types

Xerte is a tool for creating learning objects by choosing from an extensive range of page types. Some of these page types are interactive and can be used for multiple choice, matching and sorting exercises, and interactive text passages. Many of these can be automatically marked.

Features

Xerte allows you to create a resource containing text, links, images, audio and video as well as tests and quizzes, so it can be used very flexibly. For example you could set questions based on a video clip, or ask students to visit a link and then complete an activity.

Set-up and deployment

It takes some initial effort to set up a Xerte resource, but it doesn’t require any programming knowledge. It helps to familiarise yourself with the page types in advance, as there may be more than one way to test your students’ knowledge, and a bit of creative thinking can lead to a very effective resource that will keep students engaged and active.

The published resource is accessible by a link, which you can put on your Blackboard course or send in an email.

Grading

If you are simply supplying the link, the Xerte resource can be used anonymously for formative testing. Many of the interactive page types have the option to give pre-defined feedback automatically.

However, it is also possible to connect a Xerte object to Blackboard using SCORM, so that marks can be uploaded (SCORM is a particular standard for interoperability between e-learning packages – email fet.liu@uwe.ac.uk if you are interested in this functionality). In that case, students would access the resource through Blackboard and the results would be attributable to the student.

Mentimeter*

Question types

Mentimeter is a polling rather than a testing system so most of the question types are not designed to have a specific answer (e.g. ranking, Likert scales). However, there are Multiple Choice and Multiple Image question types where a correct answer (or multiple answers) can be defined, and these can be used for informal testing.

Features

Mentimeter includes some basic content slides (e.g. Heading, Paragraph, Image) that you can use interspersed with your question slides.  You can also include an image as part of a question.

Mentimeter is anonymous – while this is a limitation, it can also be an advantage as the anonymity can sometimes encourage less confident students to take part.

Set-up and deployment

Mentimeter presentations are very quick and easy to set up. For asynchronous delivery, you would set up an audience-paced presentation and share the voting link with students on your Blackboard site or via email. Students can respond from their own computer or mobile device.

Grading

Grading is not possible using Mentimeter because all responses are anonymous. It can give useful formative feedback to students however, as they can compare their answer with the rest of the class and with the correct answer. It also allows you to see an overall picture of students’ understanding and where there may be common misconceptions.

 

* Note Mentimeter can also be used in synchronous delivery.

 

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