Outreachy week 2: Questions and questions

Which of the following was my main activity during the week 2 of Outreachy program?
A. Composing the outlines for the trainings for WordCamp Organizers and WordPress Deputies
B. Creating quiz questions for WordCamp Organizers training
C. Chilling at the beach and eating strawberries

And the correct answer is B! (You could probably tell. And we don’t even have a beach where I live.)

You may remember in my last post I mentioned I like writing questions for quizzes quite a lot. Here are some of the rules I use when composing them. But first, let’s mention the anatomy of the question.

When does it make sense to book an unusual venue for your WordCamp, such as a public aquarium? (question stem)
A. You want your WordCamp’s “underwater” theme to be truly memorable for the participants. (distractor)
B. Your connections through the meetup allow you to get the venue for free. (correct answer)
C. No other WordCamp has been held in an aquarium – you’ll make history! (distractor)
D. It is the only one that is available for the date you have in mind. (distractor)

Starting with the rules relating to the question stem:

  • Focus the questions solely on the material covered in the course. The goal here is to help the learners retain key material and assess how well they master it, not to make them feel stupid or trick them.
  • Try to keep the wording clean and simple. It’s annoying to have to read the question several times only to understand what’s being asked.
  • Follow the learning objective with your questions. It’s important to ask that people remember the exact answer only for the questions they absolutely need to know it according to the goal we have in the corresponding lesson. Otherwise, it’s better when they are encouraged to think.

Now, let’s discuss writing distractors:

  • Try to keep the options about the same length, or at least do not let the correct answer to be the only “long” option
  • Avoid ‘all of the above’ and ‘none of the above’. That can be really confusing, especially if the system you use will shuffle the options. If a question that has multiple correct answers is required, a multiple-response question is a better option.
  • The distractors must be plausible. If a learner can choose the correct answer right away just because none of the other options make any sense, that will not help the learning process much.

Some of these rules are harder to follow than others, but it’s important to try 😺

Next week I’ll be finalizing quiz questions for WordCamp Organizers training and transferring them to the testing site we’re working on for now.

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