I investigated two online test-creating and grading tools: QuizStar and ClassMarker. Both offer time-savers for teachers and instant feedback for students. Both allow the teacher to manage class lists and register students. Tests or quizzes can be saved, even shared with another instructor. Quizzes can be duplicated in order to create different versions. Questions can be framed as multiple choice or true/false, can be displayed with an image, or written in different languages. The instructor can set a time limit for the test. Students can see their score immediately after taking the test, in points and percentage. If the instructor allows it, the student can review each question to see the correct answer and points for each. Tests are automatically graded (that’s the best part) and scores are available to the teacher.
Now the differences: ClassMarker gives you all of the above for free! QuizStar costs $24.50 for 6 months, $39 for a year. For that price, QuizStar will also give an analysis of the scores by class, student or question in Excel format. ClassMarker provides analysis too in their “Pro” version (also in Excel), which costs $24.95 per year. For the extra 50¢, ClassMarker not only gives an extra 6 months, but provides some other useful features. In the “Pro” version, ClassMarker will email results to the instructor. ClassMarker has a setting that will randomize the question order, making it harder to copy your neighbor while taking the test in the computer lab. The free text question (fill-in-the-blank) allows the instructor to list up to 10 acceptable responses. QuizStar allows free text too, but these must be graded by the instructor and the scores adjusted manually. I took ClassMarker’s sample quiz. It was easy to read, with A, B, C, etc., listed in a column on the left. QuizStar’s answer choices are listed in a row underneath the question, which I think is a bit harder to follow. The look and feel of the test on ClassMarker was sleek; QuizStar seemed a bit old-fashioned by comparison.
Online tests can serve as study guides. Students that have Internet access at home can take the quiz to prepare for an in-class test. Quizzes can be assigned as homework, either for a grade, or as a review. The great thing is that there is a record of the students who reviewed and those who did not. If your classroom has “clickers” (hand-held input devices that communicate with an interactive whiteboard), you probably won’t use these test tools during class time. But if you don’t, and your class has access to computers to take tests, online tests are awesome. Teachers who do not have access to computers or Internet in their classroom may want to get the free ClassMarker account for the ease of creating a clean-looking test that can be printed.