More on checking questions – an unhelpful tool

I’m still thinking about guidelines for checking questions. Except this is a guideline for what not to do…

My husband has been checking some Moodle questions for colleagues today and has mentioned two things to me. First of all he told me that when he’s checking the questions there’s a ‘helpful’ button he can press to reveal the correct answer. I’m sure it is meant to be helpful. But if we want the best questions for our students, I’m afraid I don’t think this is it. It encourages checkers to be lazy and to just check that the question ‘seems right’. Maybe I’m being mean, but I’d prefer checkers to be forced to attempt all questions as if they were a student.

The second thing Richard told me was about a problem he’d found in a particular question – and I doubt he’d have found it if he’d used the ‘helpful button’. I suspect that the question author has done just that. It’s a drag and drop question where you have to fill in the blanks in a sentence. The problem is that, unless you are being incredibly pedantic, some of the dragable terms meant as an option for one place in the sentence are  interchangeable with those meant for elsewhere, and if you get the wrong one e.g. ‘lower than’ instead of  ‘less than’ you get marked wrong, with no targeted feedback. This is the sort of thing that gives interactive computer-marked assessment a bad name.

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3 Responses to More on checking questions – an unhelpful tool

  1. Tim Hunt says:

    The ‘Fill with correct’ button has been part of Moodle’s question preview window since before I started working on Moodle in 2005. Therefore, I had never really thought about it, but you raise a good point. Hm …

    I will say that the preview window serves various purposes, not just checking questions, and perhaps the Fill with correct button has valid uses in those situations.

  2. Sally Jordan says:

    Many thanks for this Tim.

    Perhaps the onus has to be on checkers to do the responsible thing, and do the question for themselves rather than ‘cheating’!

  3. Björn Einarsson says:

    There is on the left setting: Switch role to… among the roles is student. So the checker could/should switch to the student role.
    Of course the checker cannot correct errors right away in that role.

    The Fill with correct button in the Preview is absolutely necessary for a question with many parts. I have for example a question making a message in code with 28 parts, each part 1 to 4 numbers. If I could not click in Fill in correct then if I would find one error I would have to manually reenter the whole answer to recheck and drive me crazy.

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