My name is Todd Johnson. I am a grade 6-9 Science and Social Studies teacher at a K-9 school in Winnipeg, Canada.
Creating assessment that provides meaningful and immediate feedback for students. Making tests that are learning experiences in themselves. Turning assessment into an ongoing process and not a one-shot and you’re done exercise. Creating engagement during assessment and relieving some of the stress associated with test-taking.
For the past year or so, I have been investigating online quiz-making. I have slowly been changing all of my tests and quizzes to online quizzes using iSpring’s Quizmaker software. Not only has this made tests and quizzes more enjoyable for my students, but it has made the entire “testing” process more enjoyable for me as well.
iSpring Quizmaker is really impressive software. Before choosing iSpring Quizmaker, I tried out 3 or 4 different options. But iSpring was by far the best software. The interface is simple and clean, but yet it is full of options when you dig deeper.
Making a 25-30 question quiz takes me about 45 minutes to an hour, but the time and effort is more than paid back in a variety of ways. First of all, you don’t have to mark the quiz as the software does this for you. It then e-mails the detailed results to a predetermined address. Secondly, the quiz creates an engaging learning experience for the student and provides immediate and personalized feedback. The feedback a student can receive through one of these tests is way more effective than comments on a test.
Quizzes are created through the software (Windows version for me) and then they get posted to our school’s website. I usually post the link on our class blog on the morning of the quiz. Students then take the quiz in our computer lab. I generally give them time in the week following to redo the quiz if they are interested in doing so. Occasionally I get questions from parents and colleagues like: “So you just let them redo the test. Isn’t that kind of unfair to those who studied in the first place?” To me, it’s not a question of when the students learn the material, it’s a question of if they learn it. I am fine with students learning the material and redoing the quiz. In fact, I hope they do! It identifies the students who care about improving and learning the material. Plus, I try to structure the quiz in a way that it provides new information and additional learning on each question. So it’s not just a quiz really, it’s a new learning experience. I also find that the opportunity to redo a quiz lessens the stress involved with quiz/test taking. For those students who have no computers or devices at home, I make sure to offer time on the computer in my room.
All of the research about learning/assessment says that students learn much better when feedback is provided, especially when that feedback is immediate and personalized. Well this is where this software is the most valuable. The feedback and branching options in iSpring Quizmaker make providing personalized feedback easy and intuitive.
10 Thoughts about iSpring Quizmaker
- I love getting notified with e-mailed test results on evenings and weekends. I enjoy seeing that students have improved their quiz marks on their own time. I generally allow students to do the quiz once in class, but then I leave about a week or two where they can redo the test at home or on their own time at school. A lot of students take advantage of this opportunity.
- Tests can be set up so that it shuffles the questions and/or the answers. This makes each test experience different so rote memorization of answers is more difficult. If students don’t put work in to improve their scores, they don’t generally improve much just by redoing the test. Also, the shuffling of questions reduces students looking at the computer next to them because they are all on different questions.
- Students consistently tell me that they “love doing tests” in my class. I imagine that’s a rare thing to hear. I often put funny answers or feedback into my quizzes and I always enjoy watching the students smiling as they do the test in the lab.
- iSpring Quizmaker gives you the option to print out the quiz and administer it as a paper quiz. In my 50+ quizzes that I’ve given, I always offer this option. To date, I’ve had 1 student choose to do it this way :)
- In the two times I’ve contacted iSpring’s support, their response has been awesome. They’ve gone above and beyond what I’d expect from a support desk. They are also constantly tweaking the software with updates. They’ve made some great improvements recently, for example a “slide view” that shows you what the quiz will look like live.
- My favorite question type is probably the ‘hot spot’ option. This allows you to upload an image and make a part of it clickable. I’ve tried this with other quizmaking software, and iSpring’s is definitely the best/smoothest. I use this all the time, for example, to click on a part of a plant cell that is described in the question.
- You can also create awesome surveys with iSpring Quizmaker to gauge student opinion on a topic or to get feedback about something.
- The quizzes respond very well to different devices. Some students do them on iPads. Some do them on their phones.
- The best part of this software is the IMMEDIATE feedback it provides. One millisecond after clicking, students get a visual response to their answer and specific feedback can be given depending on the answer chosen.
- I use Pixabay, a free image site to find quality stock photos. These really add to the visual appeal of the quiz and help visual learners.
iSpring Quizmaker has become one of my favorite teaching tools. It’s easy to use, and fun/valuable for students. It’s even fun watching students take the quiz. I often just wander around the computer lab and watch students as they hover their mouse cursors over each answer as they read them. Inside I’m hoping that they’ll choose the correct answer and it’s really rewarding for all of us when they do! I cheer a little inside (or occasionally out loud) when they choose the correct answer.
Soon, I hope to investigate the option of ‘upload results to server’ or ‘send results to iSpring Cloud’. The ability to be able to see class summary for a question would be invaluable. iSpring Cloud will have to wait until next year’s budget!
Do you have great experiences using iSpring in a classroom environment? Share them with us in the comments below!