Chemistry Internet Quizzing System

In the Fall, 1996 semester, written quizzes in some courses will be replaced by computerized quizzes. Students have the option of taking their quiz in the Chemistry Learning Center using the Quizzing program which runs on a local area network, or from other locations using the Internet Quizzing program. Both programs offer the same features. The Internet version produces output formatted in HTML.

Arguments for and Against Computerized Quizzes

There are arguments for and against replacing written quizzes with computerized quizzes. On the plus side, valuable class time need not be used for giving quizzes. Instructors and teaching assistants can instead spend that time working with students. At the University of Illinois we use graduate teaching assistants to teach the discussion sections where quizzes are given. Since each teaching assistant writes his or her own quiz, the quality, coverage, and level of quizzes varies enormously. Giving uniform quizzes removes the variation introduced by individual written quizzes and removes the need for end-of-semester normalization. Since quizzes are graded and scores are recorded by the computer instructors do not spend time grading quizzes and the scores are recorded into the computer gradebook automatically. Students can take the quiz when they are ready to do so, presumably after they have prepared.

There are also reasons why computerized quizzes may not be successful in all cases. Removing the responsibility for writing and grading quizzes from teaching assistants may mean that the very people who have the closest contact with the students have lost some control in the educational process. The opportunity for cheating increases enormously. Administrators may form the opinion that students now need fewer hours in class, since one of the large time consumers in discussions has now been removed.

Features of Chemistry Quizzing System

Students must use a name and password in order to receive a quiz. Quizzes can have the same questions for each student, or selected randomly from a group of questions, or some that are required for each student and some that are randomly selected. Question types are Multiple Choice, and Short Answer. The kinds of Short Answer questions for which intelligent grading is available incluce number with unit, number with no unit, nomenclature, formulas and true false. For each student, the order of questions is randomized, and for multiple choice questions, the answers are randomized as well. For each student, the location from which they took they quiz, the starting time and the ending time are recorded in a database of information, along with the quiz score.

Because the html formatted quiz is generated when the program runs on the server, there are never quiz.html documents to be stored and modified. However, a simulated Internet Quiz can be viewed in Figure 7.

Internet Menu

Main Menu