Today we’ll take you on a tour. In part one, we’ll explore the most used question type and its variations. Now what could that be?
You guessed it: Multiple-choice (MCQ)!
Then we’ll proceed with the second part of the tour exploring other lesser used but valuable question types.
But before we start the tour, let’s have a look at some common terms we’ll be using by completing this H5P (drag and drop onto image) matching quiz question. Don’t worry! You don’t need to know anything about anatomy to answer this question and you can have another go if you need to! So have a go and if you would still like to see an explanation, hover/click here.
All aboard for our two-part tour!
These two ‘Presentations’ created in H5P will show you some working examples of question types and offer tips on when and how to use them. The first tour contains questions that should be super easy to answer (just to show the question types) and the second tour has questions that are slightly more taxing.
If you have a small screen, you may wish to click the double ended arrow to make it fullscreen then click it again (or press Esc) when you’ve finished to return to the post.
While concluding that standard MC questions are best for occasional testing of large cohorts, Hughes (2002, p.76-78) listed these drawbacks of multiple choice (in bold with extra details underneath):
- The technique only tests recognition knowledge
We should not only focus on receptive skills and neglect productive ones.
- Guessing may have a considerable but unknowable effect on test scores
Having four or five options will decrease this.
- The technique severely restricts what can be tested
Absence of viable distractors may mean important aspects are not tested.
- It is very difficult to write successful items
Many assume that because they are easy to score they are also easy to create then end up with ambiguous questions or ones that give the answer away through poor stems or distractors.
- Backwash may be harmful
Unless students get feedback and pay attention to it, the quiz may reinforce misconceptions.
- Cheating may be facilitated
It is important to consider the use of settings to randomise questions, shuffle questions and options within them as well as restrict when students can access the quiz and for how long.
Good thing there are variations and other question types at our disposal in part two of our tour:
What did you think of our two-part tour of question types and tips? Which question types or ideas presented are you keen to use in your teaching? Do you have any question types or ideas to add?
Learning through quizzing
Auto-marked quiz questions lend themselves to experimenting in low or no-stakes quizzes where the purpose of the quiz is to learn by having a go.
Instead of giving students a list of terms and definitions, images and labels, words and equivalents or phrases and translations to passively absorb, we can get the students to make educated guesses and their retention will be much greater.
The highly popular (and gamified) language learning app, DuoLingo essentially teaches through quizzing. People clearly don’t mind not knowing all the vocab and grammar before being quizzed on them. They actually embrace the challenge.
Over the last six months, the author of this post, Rowena, has been enjoying the process of learning Indonesian in her free time via a number of platforms including DuoLingo and the online version of The Indonesian Way which both use a variety of quiz question types to great effect.
Can you tell us about your experiences of learning through quizzing? Have the quizzes you’ve encountered (as a student and/or educator) had a good variety of question types? How would you like to use quizzes in your courses?
Want a quiz knight to come to your rescue?
Come to our Wattle Quiz Building Workshop!
For those of you at the ANU, we would like to invite you to a Wattle Quiz Building Workshop which will be held 10am – 12pm Thursday 5 September 2019.
We’ll guide you through how to:
- create a variety of question types using the Moodle (Wattle) Quiz tool
- categorise questions
- tweak quiz settings and scoring
We hope to see you there! Click here for more information and bookings.
Resources, readings and references
- Hughes, A. (2002). Testing for Language Teachers (Cambridge Language Teaching Library). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511732980
- Centre for Teaching Excellence, University of Waterloo, Designing Multiple-Choice Questions. Retrieved 09/07/19 from: https://uwaterloo.ca/centre-for-teaching-excellence/teaching-resources/teaching-tips/developing-assignments/assignment-design/designing-multiple-choice-questions
Clearing up Question Name Confusion
- Names for question types using different platforms can vary so here is a table we’ve drawn up showing the question types available in Moodle (known as Wattle at ANU), H5P and Canvas. This is a working Word document so will be updated regularly.
- Moodle (2018) Question Types. Accessed 12/06/19 from: https://docs.moodle.org/37/en/Question_types
- Macquarie University, Quizzes [Detailed Moodle Quiz how-to guide]. Retrieved 12/06/19 from: https://staff.mq.edu.au/teach/learning-technologies-and-spaces/teaching-technologies-and-tools/ilearn/ilearn-quick-guides-for-staff/quizzes
The activities featured in this course were made using H5P. The ANU is planning to activate the H5P plugin for Wattle later this year. It is hoped it will help teachers to create formative online learning activities for their students.