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Linking to learning
Some easy, fun ways to create quizzes
by Bill Stamatis | April 2, 2009 New York Teacher issue
Standardized tests reduce a child’s academic achievement to a few sets of digits. But teachers know that this doesn’t give them the bigger picture and they understand that multiple forms of evaluating children are necessary to get a more accurate gauge of student progress. But creating these evaluations isn’t always easy for teachers, who have more than enough to do.
There are numerous quiz-building tools on the Internet that can make test creation and grading less of a chore. Providing students with Web-based tests allows them to take them anywhere they have access to the Internet, such as the school library or at home. However, you may want to make sure that the quiz is printable so you have the option of using the test in the classroom, too. To help prevent cheating, make sure that the quiz builder includes password protection or the need to enter a code to take the quiz.
Here are a few test-building Internet resources that can come to the rescue of time-strapped teachers.
EasyTestMaker (www.easytestmaker.com) is truly easy to use and offers a powerful set of tools to help make test- and quiz-writing a less painful process. You can create multiple-choice, short-answer, fill-in-the-blank, matching and true-or-false tests and quizzes. You can automatically format multiple-choice answers into one to three columns. You can add bold, italic and underlined text. You can edit, rewrite and reorder the questions. And, you can save them and then send them to your printer.
The basic software package is free, but if you want additional features you have to pay a modest subscription cost of only $14.95 per year. You will have to upgrade if you want the software to automatically generate alternate versions of the test, or add existing questions from any test you’ve already created to another test that you want to publish. This comes in handy when you build a unit or final exam that will include questions you have asked on earlier exams. This is a very good and inexpensive quiz builder that will handle a wide spectrum of your testing needs.
The test building tool from Discovery Education (www.discoveryeducation.com) is one of the better subscription-based quiz- and test-generating tools on the Internet that includes access to more than 5,000 streaming video resources from the Discovery Channel. If your district or school has an account, you should take advantage of it so you can gain access to Quiz Builder under the Discovery Education Streaming Plus link. By adding streaming video into your quizzes you make them multimedia events and not just another ho-hum test.
Another test creation tool is Quiz Star (http://quizstar.4teachers.org/) from ALTEC — the Advanced Learning Technology Center at the University of Kansas. You can create a class and register the students, then build tests that include multiple-choice, true-or-false or short-answer quizzes. One nice feature is that you can include multimedia, like You Tube videos, in the tests. Students take the tests online and the results are returned instantly. Before you fork over any cash, sign up for the 30-day trial period. The subscription rate is $39 per year, but you get 1,000 quiz attempts by students every month.
Quia (www.quia.com) is another quiz-building site that also allows you to create numerous word games and puzzles that can make learning a lot more fun. You can use as many as 10 question types in your quizzes, get instantaneous results, add images, audio and video, and build a question library on various topics so you can use them again for summary exams. Quia offers a 30-day free trial and costs $49 per year if you decide to subscribe.
This is only a small sample of the test-building products online. If you do a Google search for the term “quiz builder” you’ll find hundreds of other test-building resources for teachers.