Craft Your Quizzes

Learning Objectives

After completing this unit, you’ll be able to:

  • List some best practices for writing good quizzes.
  • Start writing awesome quiz questions.

What’s in a Quiz?

When a learner nears the end of their myTrailhead path, they should have gained some new knowledge or skill—and you want those learnings to stick. The best way to make that happen is by taking your learners through challenges that get them to reflect on what they’ve read.  

In this unit, we show you how to craft good multiple-choice quiz questions. 

For starters, every quiz question must reflect the material covered in the unit. To ensure that happens, map the questions to your learning objectives (and be sure the unit content covers the learning objectives!). 

Here are some ways to approach quiz questions. 

Ask the Learner to Assess

Assessment questions ask the learner to make a judgement call based on what they learned. The unit should provide the information the learner needs to make that call. 

Here’s an example of an assessment question, at the end of a unit that describes the qualities of helpful feedback.

Chang gave this feedback in a 1:1: “I want to give you some feedback. In the meeting with the team yesterday, you did a great job. It really helped us clarify our agenda.”

How can Chang best improve his feedback?

A. Provide feedback in a more timely manner.

B. Add constructive criticism to the feedback.

C. Give the feedback in a public forum.

D. Provide greater detail on Jane’s actions.

Ask the User to Analyze or Identify

Questions that ask the user to analyze or identify are similar to assessment questions. However, they don’t require a judgement call. Rather, the user has to solve a problem by breaking it into component parts.

We find that non-recall questions are best for quizzes, because they engage the learner more actively with the content.

Here’s an example of an analysis question, at the end of a unit about field data types in Salesforce.

Universal Containers has a custom object called Shipping Container. Each record must indicate the types of transport devices with which the container is compatible. Which field type best meets this requirement?

A. Checkbox

B. Multi-select Picklist

C. Formula

D. Text Area

Write the Stem

The stem is the question itself, and the response items are the list of possible answers. 

To write a good stem: 

  • Keep it as brief as possible. You don’t need a lot of context or extra information.
  • Phrase questions as complete sentences.
  • Avoid questions with negative phrasing (“Which of these is not …?” or “All of the following apply, except …?”). Readers have trouble processing words like “not,” “except,” and “only.”
  • Make sure the question covers concepts explained directly in the unit.
  • Don’t ask tricky or overly complex questions. Make sure all questions are fair.

Write the Response Items

Follow these guidelines to write response items that hit the sweet spot.

  • Create at least four response items for each question.
  • Provide only one correct answer per question.
  • Vary the position of the correct response from question to question. It shouldn’t always be the letter C, for example.
  • Keep the response items grammatically consistent. If one response starts with an imperative verb, make sure the rest of the responses do too.
  • Avoid “All of the above” and “None of the above.” These can confuse learners.
  • Try to make all responses roughly the same length. Make sure that the longest response isn’t always the correct answer.

Incorrect response items are called distractors. Writing them is often the hardest part. There’s no magical formula for writing distractors, but brainstorming with someone else who knows your module and the subject matter can help. Avoid distractors that are obviously wrong, too complex, or too silly.

Those are some general rules to follow, but you can go deeper on this topic by checking out the Resources section. 

Summary

You’ve absorbed a ton of information in the last five units. We hope it helps you create a myTrailhead experience that keeps your learners coming back for more. 

Resources

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