Online Quizzes - Are they Worthwhile?Vera Mello
vcqm [at] ruralsp.com.br
This article is based on my oral presentation given at the Fifth Laurels International Conference on Education and Management in English Language Teaching in Sao Paulo, Brazil in July 1997. It is aimed at those who would like to have further information on the applicability of the Self-Study Quizzes for ESL Students.
Objective of the ArticleThe possibility for education on the Web is amazing. In fact, the Web is becoming the most popular medium for the delivery of instructional materials. The ever growing interest of instructional designers on the Web is stimulating more and more the creation of quiz pages. The objective of this article is twofold. First, to show that the quizzes delivered over the Web are powerful and useful tools for language teaching and learning since they provide students with additional and supplemental language material in specific areas of language learning. Second, to demonstrate how a teacher can use the quizzes in the lab and in the classroom.
The Self-Study Quizzes for ESL Students
The Internet TESL Journal's Self-Study Quizzes for ESL Students are a collection of quizzes developed by ESL/EFL teachers around the world to enhance learning. The quizzes are designed to help students who want to study online or who are interested in doing extra class work. The quizzes also provide teachers with extra material to complement their classes. All the quizzes are grouped into categories to facilitate selection by the teacher or the student.
See an example from each category.
- Idioms, Phrasal Verbs & Slangs
- Scrambled Words
- Trivia, Culture & Sports
Considering that variation is important in increasing students' motivation, different types of quizzes are presented. The types of quizzes are:
- Fill in the Blanks
- Multiple Choice
- True or False
- Multiple Choice with Radio Button
- Multiple Choice with Radio Button and Notes
- Match the Columns
- Alternatives Hidden Under the Hint Button
- Word Order
To guide teachers and students in their selection of quizzes, the quizzes are now in the process of being sorted according to levels of difficulty. The three levels are easy, medium and difficult.
Strengths and LimitationsAmong the advantages in using the Self-Study Quizzes for ESL Students, the main one is related to the format of the quizzes. Whereas a great number of quizzes found on the Web are CGI format quizzes, the Self-Study Quizzes for ESL Students have small filesize and use only HTML codes, which speeds up the downloadable process.
Other advantages of the Self-Study Quizzes for ESL Students over CGI format quizzes are:
- The students and the teacher can work with the quizzes off-line or print them out. This is possible because the quizzes use HTML codes, so the quizzes with the answers are run by the web browser itself; there's no need to rely on re-connection with the main server.
- The students can get prompt feedback on their performance checking their answers against the correct ones which are displayed under the answer button. They don't need to submit their answers and wait for the web server machine to return the results, which may take some time.
As general limitations we have:
- The necessity of having an Internet account to be able to access the information.
- The problems of the Internet itself, that is, the connection is sometimes slow or down.
- The students have to keep their own score as they check their right and wrong answers against the correct answers given.
- The students are not given the time spent on each quiz, which would allow them to better judge their performance.
Ways a Teacher Can Use the Self-Study Quizzes for ESL Students in the Lab and in the Classroom.It can't be denied that the use of technology for language teaching and learning is much more effective, motivating and challenging than the use of the traditional classroom tools: pen, paper and chalkboard.
To make the learning process more interactive, I suggest that:
- The teacher refer the students to the URL of the Self-study Quizzes for ESL Students and indicate the quizzes to be used in that lab session.
- The teacher lets the students select the quizzes they want to use. By doing this, the teacher helps to make the students more autonomous and, therefore, more conscious of their needs and less dependent on the teacher.
Since the quizzes are a good medium to teach and learn English, they can easily be adapted for classroom use too. The teacher has only to download the quizzes, edit them or not, print them out and give them to the students as handouts.
ConclusionsTaking into account everything presented in this article, one can conclude that there are more pros than cons to the use of quizzes. Undoubtedly further studies on online quizzes must be carried out to come to any conclusion on their effectiveness in the learning process, but judging by the feedback I have received from colleagues and from students around the world, I can affirm that quizzes, especially when used interatively, can be of great value to motivate students in the study of a foreign language.
NoteFor information on how to contribute to the Self-Study Quizzes for ESL Students, refer to the How to Write a Self-Study Quiz page.
The Internet TESL Journal, Vol. III, No. 7, July 1997