Quiz Websites

1. What are Quiz Websites?

On their site, Willmaster, William and Mari Bontrager, sell a webquiz software tool. What's interesting may not necessarily be the tool itself, but the questions they ask on their homepage that help visitors to distinguish between quizzes and surveys. They ask "Is your website quizzable?" and by this they are asking, rhetorically, whether you can properly assess the functionality of your website/work regardless of whether it's for education, entertainment or business. (http://willmaster.com/master/quiz/ )

Quizzes, unlike surveys, allow both the assessor and the assessee a chance to measure a certain kind of acquired knowledge. On the Internet today, one can find literally hundreds of sites containing exercises that assess and evaluate language acquisition and ability. These sites may
1) offer practice quizzes and assessment, or
2) generate quizzes by using predetermined templates.

Quiz Websites offer quizzes that help to assess all types of language skills, including, but not limited to: reading comprehension, listening, writing, vocabulary, pronunciation exercises, and spelling including specialized quizzes for specific purposes such as the TOEFL or other standardized tests.
They also provide thematic and subject-area assessment in the sciences, mathematics, history, and foreign languages as well as ESL.

Quizzes come in many forms including multiple choice, true-false, drag and drop, cloze exercises, fill-in-the-blank, and matching thereby accommodating multiple learning styles.

Quizzes are generally designed using Java or Flash, with the aid of audio files, and can be accompanied by sound, video, animation and visuals
They offer the following advantages in learning assessment:
  • practice in the form of fun, interactive games (i.e. crosswords puzzles etc), poetry, jokes, tongue twisters etc.
  • immediate feedback. The feedback can come in the form of a simple answer sheet all the way to answers with bells and whistles such as sound effects (applauding sound effects)
  • a wide variety of practice materials with answers, timed quizzes, assessment
  • lesson plans, extra help, ask a teacher forums, further reading and explanations, and some even keep a record of the work you have done
  • informal and formal types of assessment

Web quizzes are generated by enterprising individuals as well as large organizations. As a result, learners and educators have a variety of choices from which to choose. Some of the sites include
  • useful external resources which include teaching ideas
  • printable versions that the teacher can use in class which may be free or for purchase
  • options for multiple learning styles
  • quizzes grouped according to the topic (vocabulary, grammar etc) and level of difficulty (easy, medium, difficult)

2. What is the place of quiz websites in the broader topic of assessment?

  1. Usually fun, interactive type of formative assessment
  2. Help teachers and students to assess students’ current knowledge in order to progress and learn more
  3. Offer a variety of types of quizzes and activities that highlight various learning styles and allow the learner to work at an individualized pace
  4. Student has lots of autonomy: he or she can determine the time, place, sequence, and pace of the assessment
  5. Feedback is usually immediate
  6. Help point out areas that students need to work on further, especially with regards to pronunciation, vocabulary, grammar, or usage
  7. May be, but often are not used as an assessment that receives a grade

3. What are the benefits of Quiz Websites?

Quiz website assessments transcend limitations of space and time.
Students can practice the language skills anytime and anywhere they want. They can do the practice not only at school but at home.
Quizzes can be retaken as many times as the student needs.

Helps to develop students’ autonomy.
By using the computerized testing themselves, students become autonomous and self-paced learners. Assessments are part of learning, and learning is basically a very personal endeavor, so it should follow that students’ autonomy should be honored in the assessments, too.

Quiz assessments help motivate students.
Some assessments design the quizzes according to the students’ language level. Others are more interesting than the traditional pencil-and paper assessments, thus students are more interested in the computer-based assessments.

Quizzes often use/or reflect authentic material

Quizzes assess the process and the outcomes.
In the past, most assessments emphasized the outcomes of learning. Recently, the process has become more important in evaluating students’ achievement. Putting the focus on the learning process leads to more concern about how students think, solve problems, reflect on their own learning, and set the next goal. In this way, teachers will not label students by the outcomes which they produce, but to understand what difficulties students have so that necessary help can be provided.

Quiz assessments fit the new emphases of integration, guided learning, and critical thinking.
Computer-assisted assessments allow learners to develop new information for assessment purposes using the target language in an authentic, meaningful, and holistic way. The thinking skills required for integrated projects are much more varied than those required for traditional pencil-and –paper tests. In the process of creating, the teacher and the learners can see the development of thought easily. The teacher can give learners guidance and feedback with the expectation that the learners will take the advantage of the ease in making corrections that the quiz assessments allow.

4. What are the benefits of the technologies that support Quiz Websites?

Matching Benefits
  • Matching provides choices from which students can narrow down
  • Gives hints
  • Uses process of elimination in order to get answers which encourages problem solving
  • Can implement pictures into the target language, allowing there to be no need to use anything but the target language (instead of English-French, use picture-French)
  • Can be manipulated to allow for lower-level vocabulary
  • Speedy and quick assessment tool that students can complete quickly
  • Works well for young learners (with some programs, written words are not required)
  • Can be presented in the form of a game - like audio phonetic matching, memory matching

Fill in the Blank and Cloze Exercise Benefits
  • Gives context so learners can use context to figure out answer
  • Shows correct language use and sentences
  • Helps students practice correct spelling
  • Is active
  • Can be read all together after which helps reading skills (if they are correct)
  • Can be manipulated to allow for lower-level vocabulary

Multiple Choice Benefits
  • gives students choice
  • provides language input
  • tests specific knowledge

Game Benefits
(e.g. wordweb game, click the letters or word in order, hangman, speedword, scrambled words, audio concentration game, etc.)
  • Fun and interactive
  • Visual
  • Attract kids’ attention and interest
  • Allows learners forget the explicit learning content and focus merely on the game
  • Engages students
  • Great deal of variety
  • Sound effects good for auditory learners

Word Finds and Scrambled Letters, Words, and Sentence Benefits
  • Language input
  • See the words over and over again
  • Learn word usage rather than definition in the dictionary
  • Learn new vocabulary
  • Fun
  • Interactive
  • Calls attention to the important details of the word (one letter or one word can change the whole thing)
  • Discrepancy between synonyms
  • Focus on the form of the word or the form of the grammar in the sentence order
  • Helps with spelling

5. What are the drawbacks of these assessments?

For the User
  • A lot of sitting time/staring at the computer time
  • Because there are multiple learning styles, it can be a trial to users who do not benefit from the style of learning that is being valued in a particular assessment.
  • Few provide explanation for error correction. No authentic feedback, no personal or human error correction
  • No "true" communication going on
  • The feedback is not always personalized
  • They can be difficult to find since they are often part of a group's site, but not the purpose for the site

Technology Issues
  • Some require software that the user does not have in order to run them, such as Java Applets or Flash
  • They can be repetitive and become boring after a while
  • Not much of an opportunity to speak/practice pronunciation or write extended amounts
  • Not every student has a computer at home
  • Certain websites can cause web browsers to crash.
  • Benefit: everywhere there is the internet; drawback: NOT everywhere there is the internet
  • Some audio and video files remain unaccessible if the internet connection is not very good

To the Teacher: Impersonal and Anonymous
  • Teachers can't always receive information on how the student did. (Although the students can report what they did.)
  • It is easy to cheat on them if one would want to. The parameters can't be set by the teacher, necessarily; so the teacher doesn't have control over the time spent or materials used
  • Not as easy to compare individual performance against the whole group

  • Students may not really "engage" when doing these quizzes; they just kind of space out and click buttons
  • Many tempting places to go on the net and so they may wander off course
  • NO BOUNDARY of time, place, and the user can be a drawback

6. What are the drawbacks of the technologies that support Quiz Websites?

Matching Drawbacks
  • Process of elimination does not encourage language learning
  • Limited output
  • No creativity
  • Can be boring
  • Can be too easy

Fill in the Blank and Cloze Exercise Drawbacks
  • If the computer is thinking one answer and you write another (that is also correct), it may mark it wrong
  • Correct spelling is required
  • Takes a long time to complete
  • Very nit-picky or detail oriented
  • Can be boring
  • Somewhat passive
  • Not overly creative, does not value divergent thinking
  • Limited output

Multiple Choice Drawbacks
  • Does not require students to produce the answer
  • Questions are often easy to just guess at
  • Requires reading skills and comprehensive vocabulary
  • Takes a long time to complete and read through the choices
  • Can sometimes be worded very trickily
  • Student is forced to choose from the four choices
  • Passive
  • Not creative
  • Limited output

Games Drawbacks
  • Can be too competitive if students are partnered
  • Can be loud
  • Often requires supplemental plugRequires flash and all sorts of plug-ins
  • Sometimes the instructions are not clear
  • Students get involved in the game, but not in the learning
  • Not always clearly defined goals with the games

Word Finds, Scrambled Letters, Words, and Sentence Drawbacks
  • Can be very tedious and boring
  • Not good for auditory learners
  • Limited output
  • Users can lose concentration (get fatigued) in a short time
  • Does not necessarily lead to understanding of word

Recent books and articles related to computer/electronic assessment in education:

  1. Bickle, M.C. and Carroll, J. C. “Checklist for Quality Online Instruction: Outcomes for Learners, the Professor and the Institution” College Student
    , Vol. 37, 2003
  2. Brawner, C.E. “Practical Tips for Using Web-Based Assessment Systems” T H E Journal (Technological Horizons In Education), Vol. 28, 2000
  3. Brown, E.L. “Overcoming the Challenges of Stand-Alone Multicultural Courses: The Possibilities of Technology Integration” Journal of Technology and Teacher Education, Vol. 12, 2004
  4. Chinnery, G. M. “Going to the MALL: Mobile Assisted Language Learning” Language, Learning & Technology, Vol. 10, 2006
  5. Falchikov, Nancy, Improving Assessment through Student Involvement: Practical Solutions for Learning in Higher and Further. RoutledgeFalmer, 2004
  6. Faul, A. Frey, A. and Yanklov, P. “Student Perceptions of Web-Assisted Teaching Strategies” Journal of Social Work Education, Vol. 39, 2003
  7. LeLoup, J.W. and Ponterio, R. “Foreign Language Teachers' Greatest Hits” Language, Learning & TechnologyLanguage, Learning & Technology, Vol. 10, 2006
  8. Milheim, W.D. and Osciak, S.Y. “Multiple Intelligence and the Design of Web-Based Instruction”. International Journal of Instructional Media, Vol. 28, 2001
  9. Perez-Prado, A. and Thirunarayanan, M.O. “Comparing Web-Based and Classroom-Based Learning: A Quantitative Study” Journal of Research on
    Technology in Education
    , Vol. 34, 2001
  10. Patterson, D.A. “A Large-Scale, Asynchronous, Web-Based MSW Comprehensive Exam Administration: Outcomes and Lessons Learned.
  11. Journal of Social Work Education, Vol. 42, 2006
  12. Supon, V. “Implementing Strategies to Assist Test-Anxious Students” Journal of Instructional Psychology, Vol. 31, 2004
  13. UC Irvine Utilizes Web-Based Tests for In-Class Learning (Technological Horizons In Education), Vol. 26, 1999

Resources for Quiz Websites:


  • http://www.eduplace.com/kids/ The Eduplace site is US-centric in that it asks users to identify the state from which they are working--in order to complement textbook and curricular activities. Regardless of the state one chooses, however, it seems that the "student" section remains relatively constant where it concerns the activity section to which this link points. Here one can find not only matching games, but fill-in-the-blank exercises, grammar and parts of speech games, and other pedagogically sound elements that can be used for both teaching/learning and for assessment.
  • http://www.englishclub.com/esl-quizzes/index.htm This site, within www.englishclub.com, provides matching quizzes as well as grammar, vocabulary, pronounciation, "jumbled" quizzes and general knowledge quizzes for ESL learners.
  • http://www.englishclub.com/esl-games/matching.htm Although not really intended for direct assessment, "these matching games are an excellent and fun way to practise your vocabulary. In each game you have to find a matching pair, that is two words that correspond with each other."
  • http://www.englishforamerica.com/ English for America is a simple site created by Kenneth Davis in 2000. It contains three types of ESL exercises--fill in the blank, matching, and hangman. The fill-in-the-blank exercises include references to over 300 words as does hangman. Learners can choose between "opposites" and "similar words" in the 20 matching quizzes containing 10 "matches" each.
  • http://www.eslbears.homestead.com/matching.html This simple matching site within ESL Bears, includes animated pictures to be matched with words from a pull down list. They matching categories are divided thematically--school, animals, fruit, money, rooms in the home, and many more. There is some risk for confusion with the pictures and their relation to some of the words. As with any exercise, the teacher should look them over carefully before use and then simply prepare for any incongruities or potential problems. Under "school" for example, there are two chalkboards pictured--one with a teacher standing in front of it, the other with animated writing passing over it. The words, chalkboard, teacher, and chalk are all offered as options in the pull-down list. Because the first picture that appears of a chalkboard also happens to include a person, it would be easy for students to choose either "teacher" or chalkboard, and then to be confused by the appearance of the next chalkboard further down in the quiz.
  • http://iteslj.org/links/ESL/Quizzes/Requiring_Flash_or_Shockwave/p2.html An excellent resource that contains nearly 13000 links to ESL and language-related quizzes and activities. Sadly, not all of the links are functional. I would recommend the ESL Blues links that appear at the top of these pages, or simply go to: http://ww2.collegeem.qc.ca/prof/epritchard/trouindx.htm Even here, however, a test of one quiz on irregular past participle verbs proved problematic when the final question in a set of 10 offered the wrong "catch" instead of "wake" as the prompt verb for the question which was: Have you the kids yet? Yes, I have. They're up and about.
  • http://a4esl.org/a/v.html This link represents but a small part of the a4esl.org website that contains a plethora of links to ESL instruction, quizzes, and activities. Some of the assessments include matching--others do not.
  • http://activities.bradleys-english-school.com/ This site is developed by the Bradley's English School, based in Koriyama City, Fukushima
  • Prefecture, Japan (about 225km north of Tokyo). As with many of the quiz sites, the aesthetics lack professional quality and are a bit cluttered, and there are seldom clearly marked navigational buttons to assist users, but aside from these small problems, the quizzes are useful and varied--for alphabet study, spelling, vocabulary, and grammar. The menu bar at the very top of the page includes "activities" which is the source of the exercises referred to here. Once a user knows that the bar is there, navigation is actually easy!
  • http://www.manythings.org/fq/[[http://www.manythings.org/fq/|]] Charles I. Kelly's ManyThings site is probably one of the best known and used ESL sites online today. This particular link inside the manythings.org site includes not only matching quizzes, but timed exercises and fill-in-the-blank to assess vocabulary, verb inflection and tense, cultural knowledge, listening, dictation and more. One interesting quiz, for instance, that tests one's understanding of the proper uses of "to play" is: http://www.manythings.org/fqhci2/[[http://www.manythings.org/fq/|]]

Drag and drop:

Fill in the Blank and Cloze Exercises:




Word/Sentence Scramble:



· http://www.funwitharabic.com/quiz.htm
· http://www.mylanguageexchange.com/HmanList.asp?x3=4
· http://www.ezlearnchinese.com/1stclass_ch.html
· http://cpt.mtc.ntnu.edu.tw/tma2
· http://www.angelfire.com/pq/pages/
· http://eleaston.com/french.html#qz
· http://eleaston.com/german.html
· http://www.serve.com/shea/work.htm
· http://www.mckinnonsc.vic.edu.au/la/lote/german/materials/grammar/gramlist.htm
· http://eleaston.com/italian-grammar.html#p
· http://web.uvic.ca/hispanital/italian/italian100/prelim/
· http://www.japanesepod101.com
· http://genki.japantimes.co.jp/self/self.en.html
· Assess your proficiency: (multiple choice) http://www.transparent.com/tlquiz/proftest/Spanish/tlspatest.htm
· Vocabulary Drills (multiple choice)
· General Resources for tests in Spanish