By: Richard Flynn |Audience: All
Making the quizzes available in two formats imposes a certain discipline on the quizzes, as both have to be taken into consideration. The online versions can be of any length, but the handouts have pages, which generally take about ten questions, so the minimum length of a test has to be about that. However, handouts might be used in different years, so the quizzes are never in fact finished and can be improved. We try to make sure that new quizzes appear every week, but also try to add questions to older ones as and when we think of them. This way, the quizzes are slowly growing both in breadth and depth. Unlike paper exercises, they have no fixed length and can continue to grow over time, which means that they have the potential to end up covering a topic in greater depth,which can supplemented with entries in the articles section.
We also have a test section in the members' area. Here, there are a number of differences. Firstly, and most importantly, results are saved, so that students can look back at what they have done. The tests present a random selection of ten questions from the list in the database. Given that all of the tests have more than ten questions, some considerably more, this means that the tests can be retaken without being exactly the same.
Change is a principle running through both sections. We have tried to make quizzes and tests that would last over time and be worth doing more than once. The poll section contains a list of questions about English usage, which can either be viewed randomly, or searched through a directory of the database. Again, the random element in this section adds variation and ensures that different experiences are available from these sections.
In these ways, we have tried to reduce the 'factoid' nature of the sections, and make them ebb and flow over time.