Quizzical is an on-line, multiple-choice question writing and testing tool that is discipline independent.
Quizzical is a PHP application, with MySQL as recommended database. The code has to be deployed to your institutional server infrastructure. For more information, consult with the University of Toronto Software Guild (coming soon 2021).
With a fully functional application, the instructor then stipulates their preferences for question authoring and quiz participation. Students are selected at random to author questions and can be required to meet criteria for taking quizzes. Student authored questions may be directed to one or more teaching assistants for marking. Marks and scores for quiz participation are shown to students both textually and graphically, and are reported to a grade center. The instructor can download the grades to incorporate them into the gradebook, and selected questions can be downloaded for use on formal exams.
Quizzical was designed to give students practice at concise technical writing, which is the general format of multiple-choice questions. This affords opportunities to learn and to properly employ and master discipline specific terminology that can defeat unprepared students in formal exams. In addition, by requiring students to take quizzes, they get test practice in a way that mimics formal exams. Finally, if the instructor requires students to validate their questions/answers and to associate a textbook figure with their answer, viewing these after a question attempt is a learning experience for the testee.
Yes. On end of term evaluations, students were asked to evaluate Quizzical by answering the generic question “Online tools, used to support course activities, contributed to my learning of the course material.” More than 84% of students responded with either ‘A great deal’ or ‘Mostly’. In addition, there were numerous positive written statements about how Quizzical helped them.
We began our course with a tutorial (https://quizzical.ca/tutorial/) that introduces students to Quizzical and how to use it. We also covered examples of best practices in writing MCQs. When students log into Quizzical, they can click on links for help. On this website there is a video on the student stakeholder experience: https://play.library.utoronto.ca/play/6XzobNLPS8jx
New instructors log in and are guided through course set-up by the Quizzical software. An overarching video that describes the instructor dashboard and course set up, as well as the student stakeholder experience may be viewed at https://play.library.utoronto.ca/play/kIYIj0Ni3HVl
Yes. On set-up the instructor can elect to activate an equation editor so that mathematics based questions can be formulated.
Yes. We charted student engagement and test scoring over a two year period and reported positive correlations between participation and scoring. This study was recently published in CBE-LSE (https://www.lifescied.org/doi/10.1187/cbe.19-09-0189)
- Your institution can purchase a membership in the University of Toronto Software Guild (coming soon 2021), which gives you access to Quizzical as well as other educational apps created by UofT faculty members.
The default is that the instructor grades the questions, but they may be distributed to one or more TAs on a percentage basis to fit your needs.
Quizzical code was written to allow users with little or no experience in educational software to easily set up the course. Quizzical guides new users through the scheduling process, the TA assignment process, a number of authoring specific and quiz specific features, and how to upload images from external sources so that students can use them in the question justifications. The instructor stakeholder video covers all of these aspects. Initial course set up takes on average 15-20 minutes, and the time commitment thereafter is minimal (unless the instructor is the grader).
After attempting a question and seeing the answers/validations, quiz takers are asked to rate the question on a Likert scale. The average value is recorded and associated with the question on the instructor’s dashboard. This is a measure of the students’ perception of the value of the question can could also be considered a ‘fairness’ rating. Secondly, as students take quizzes a point biserial score is calculated for each question. This rating is a measure of question quality and its discrimination value. We use these two factors to find good questions for use on formal exams. Knowing that some student authored questions will appear on exams seems to promote engagement by students.
No. As indicated above under “How much instructor time is required?”, instructors with little or no experience with educational software can easily deploy Quizzical.
Based on the features selected by the instructor at course set up, Quizzical tracks question authoring grading and quiz participation and keeps records of use. These scores may be easily downloaded as a .csv file for incorporation into the instructor’s gradebook. Students can also see their scores and their history of engagement on their dashboard.
For technical problem with Quizzical at the University of Toronto, please send your issues to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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