|In the past, OpenStax College has hosted practice quizzes through Learningpod. Unfortunately, the future of this support is uncertain. Wikiversity should fill the gap by hosting quizzes for OpenStax textbooks.|
- 1 What is Quizbank?
- 2 How can I see the exam questions?
- 3 Isn't it insane to let everybody see the testbank?
- 4 Advice for professional exam bank designers
- 5 External links, references, and subpages
Courses currently using quizbank:
- Phy1120 Trig-based Physics I
- Phy1050 How Things Work (conceptual physics)
- Phy2410 Caclulus-based Physics II
To view a list of quizzes associated with Quizbank visit Category:Quizbank/bank and its subcategories.
What is Quizbank?
Quizbank is an effort to create an open source "bank" of exam questions that can be coauthored by instructors and students, and used by instructors in grade assessment.
The word "Quizbank" was chosen because a Google search reveals that testbank has another meanings related to software development, and because assessment bank has too many syllables. A new word was chosen because this will be an open source testbank: When made large enough, it will be useful for grade assessment. By making the questions available to all, we avoid the cost and futility of keeping the questions concealed from students. And we create a resource that can accept contributions from students.
But the biggest benefit of Quizbank will be facilitate the use of flipped classrooms. In the future, instructors will be able to select a collection of quizzes for students to study before the first class meeting. A collection of open-source test questions will give students a specific assignment that they must pass before the actual instruction begins. In an enlightned educational system, it is understood that both tutoring, as well as alternative assessment will be given to students who are underprepared, or suffer from test anxiety or have other special needs. For students who are too creative to thrive in a multiple-choice environment, alternative assessments might involve preparing study materials or developing new questions for the bank. But since the majority of students do not need such extra attention, Quizbank should allow us to drastically reduce the cost of higher education.
It costs $91 to take an AP exam, but the real cost of exams is not the fee, but the cottage industry of schools and professors creating exams and preparing students to take those exams. The internet offers every person on this planet the opportunity to master many subjects at no cost. Now we need a way for people to demonstrate mastery at little or no cost. Student debt has recently surpassed credit card debt in the USA. While an opensource quiz (assessment) bank will never offer degrees in higher education, it might reduce the cost of that degree. It will allow professors to ensure that students have solved a few basic physics problems or learned some fundamental facts about Astronomy, before attempting to learn the subtleties of the topic. The answers and problem solutions are freely available, so that students can learn these basics as virtually zero cost, and with little or no help from the instructional institution.
- See also OpenStax College, especially #Sometimes_less_is_more
- It appears to be possible for students to be assigned projects in which they create new exam questions on a private wiki farm
How can I see the exam questions?
- Quizbank/List of quizzes for a list of all quizzes.
- Study guide:
Do you have any sample exams?
This collection of tests closely resembles those taken in a first semester calculus based physics course. The students would use this study guide, from which a random collection of questions is taken. A sample of four midterms and a cumulative final is shown below:
In pdf form
Typically a Wikiversity pdf file is opened by clicking the image and looking down for the bold faced Original file above the Summary. In the gallery shown below, it should be possible to just click "download".
Recently all five exams in two versions were combined into on very long document. This permits the instructor to print out a single but lengthy document as the course begins. Before each exam, the appropriate pages are printed out for the students (in two versions).
Isn't it insane to let everybody see the testbank?
The cat is out of the bag. Students can already download testbanks for a fee of typically $50
Advice for professional exam bank designers
- If you wish an uneditable copy of this section, copy/paste the following permalink to this version of this page into your any document or into your browser's list of favorites
A bank of exam and quiz questions should be designed to make the instructor's job easier. I suggest that many of the features of this Quizbank be incorporated into any future effort to develop a platform for banks of exam/quiz questions.
Also, I am not certain that a platform with the desired features does not already exist. What follows is based on an investigation of known platforms performed over a few days using Google:
- Make it possible to write questions in a markup language (e.g., LaTeX, Wikitext or the one used by OpenStax College). UNLESS I AM MISTAKEN, the software used to create questions on TestGen, Examview and D2L are slow and cumbersome. Also, the MS Word to D2L Importer Tool at US-Madison is flawed in how it inserts figures and equations. The practice of converting equations to images needs to be replaced by an equation markup such as Mathjax.
- It is essential that exams can be printed out in paper form for in-class proctoring. Someday all in-class exams might be conducted in special proctor rooms equipped with computers, but that will require physical changes in how colleges and universities are built. Meanwhile, any effort to use at-home cameras to proctor online exams using "lock-down" browser technology seems futile and expensive.
- Thoughtfully develop a system by which random numbers can be inserted into numerical multiple choice questions.
- Create a venue in which teachers can share each other's testbanks privately, in such a way that restricts uninvited access.
- Understand that the ideal testbank should be specific to one textbook, or even a single edition of that textbook. Most ventors supply a generic bank that remains unchanged as the textbooks are upgraded. Such banks are labor intensive for instrutors to use.
- Make it possible for students to submit their own questions, and also to submit explanations to questions that are already in the bank. It is a well known adage that one only truly understands a subject after one attempts to teach it. Also, though economical, multiple choice exams are the lowest form of assessment. Having student write essays pertaining to multiple choice exam questions not only represents a higher level of learning, it would reduce the cost of education if some of the materials were written by students attempting to demonstrate mastery of the subject. See for example this outstanding contribution made by an Astronomy student in only the third week of a 15 week semester. (See also Special:Permalink/1651364)
- The ideal testbank should recognize that it is possible to classify different types of exam questions, and that the questions need to be separated accordingly. I have not attempted a complete classification scheme, but here is a good starting point:
Quizbank classification scheme (under construction)
- Memorization questions: vocabulary, phases of the Moon, names of planets, fundamental equations. Students can and should see these questions in advance to "know what will be on the test". In other words, and exam bank needs to be viewed as a source of both exam questions, as well as study guides for those exams.
- Secret questions: "Secret" or "surprise questions" need to be withheld from the students until the day of the exam. Instructors should have these questions in mind as they teach the course in such a way that students are prepared for them only if they have achieved a sufficiently deep understanding of the subject. Keep in mind that though such secrecy is essential, and to some extent possible, 100% secrecy cannot be achieved.
- Vague multiple choice questions: Some questions are vague, but make sense only after a lecture. I once observed an excellent teacher prepare students for an exam by showing the class a multiple choice question regarding the distinction between a hypotheses and a theory. She admitted that one could argue that two different questions are correct, but explained why the authors of the testbank made their choice. Students who attended and paid attention got rewarded for knowing the answer that was expected on the upcoming exam.
- Clusters of questions: A large number of questions that test a single concept should be clustered together, with a large portion made available to the students. Otherwise students just remember a phrase from the question and memorize the correct answer. By reading a large collection of similar questions on a study guide, we can hope that students actually learn the concept. Every true/false question that is also on the student study guide should come in at least two versions, one true and the other false. 
- External links:
- allthetests.com Is there any possibility of a collaboration with these people? It's not unlike a wiki, but they use advertisements.
- Quizlet is also commercial but with a minimum of advertisements. It is used by Wikiversity's IT Fundamentals.
- It's not really a cottage industry, but resembles on in its decentralized nature and lack of efficiency. It costs lots of money to devise exams, and then teach students to take those exams.
- http://www.politifact.com/virginia/statements/2014/jun/10/mark-warner/warner-says-us-student-debt-has-surpassed-credit-c/ amd http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Student_debt&oldid=658255096#United_States
- It is necessary for the entire rendition to be printed once in single-side mode so that the individual exams and answer keys can be printed separately.
- also known as "University Physics"
- The Course Management System is secure because a permalink to this page is uneditable and because the page contains permalinks to pdf files. To ensure that it is the right version of the page, students must obtain the correct [[w:URL|]] from the instructor.
- (i.e., Calculus based Physics)
- A good example of a a question cluster is this effort to teach a Physics_equations/06-Uniform_Circular_Motion_and_Gravitation/Q:derive At the top of the quiz is a (non-calculus) geometric derivation of a formula. Students are asked to master the derivation and practice the true-false questions that follow. Only one or two such questions on an upcoming exam will incentivize students to master the notation required to prove the theorem. If we are going to set learning free, we need to also focus on the cost of education, and this method of verifying that students have understood a proof is worth trying.