UniServe*Science News, Vol. 5, November 1996

Question Mark

Rob Mackay-Wood is a Courseware Developer with the School of BiologicalSciences, University of Sydney.

Question Mark
is a set of three applications for the construction anddelivery of tests or surveys (QM Designer and QM Presenter),and for the reporting of user performance or responses (QM Reporter).

There are templates for a number of question styles to choose from withinQM Designer ranging from simple multiple choice to more difficultquestions that involve the ranking of answers in order of relevance. Eachstyle has a number of variations, and graphics, movies or sound can be easilyembedded into the questions to keep the test 'interesting'. All screen componentsof the questions are able to be edited allowing you to fully customise anystyle of question to suit your needs.

As well as creating questions in QM Designer you can create 'Banks'of ques-tions and store them in libraries. Libraries can be incorporatedinto a test either as a whole, with all questions being delivered, or partially,with selected questions being delivered. Either option allows the randomisingof the questions. Libraries, when used as question banks, are a very timeeffective and powerful option.

Test delivery options include: setting a time limit, question sequencing,user information, feedback options and question retry options. Answer filesare created if 'Save to disk' is selected in the 'Test Control' optionswindow and can be password protected and saved on the local hard disk oron a mounted server volume.

QM Presenter is the run time application for the secure deliveryof the 'test' and QM Reporter produces reports on user performance.Reports can be simple 'Name and Result' style or comprehensive reviews ofuser results question by question (useful for surveys). There is basic statisticalanalyses available within reporter and reports can be exported as Excel,DbaseIII or CSV text files.

In addition to the basic set of applications there are 'Add ons' for addedfunctionality. These include additional security, different languages andQM Web for placing the surveys or tests on the Internet.

Tests or surveys can be printed if required and results can be entered manuallyinto QM Presenter for analysis by QM Reporter. This is timeconsuming and is recommended only for small class/sample sizes.

The aim of any test generating software is to produce interesting questionswith the minimum of programming effort. Question Mark it achievesthis aim with the numerous styles of questions, smooth integration of mediacomponents and its ease of building and editing questions. QM Designerdefinitely falls into the intuitive category with very little need to consultthe extensive manual. I must admit to looking up the manual for more complexoperations, but generally I found button descriptions (when moving the mouseover the toolbar), and the online help adequate.

I would recommend this application to people interested in creating testsor surveys on the basis of the QM Reporter summary functionalityalone but Question Mark is more than that. This is definitely a wheelthat does not need to be re-invented.

Rob Mackay-Wood

rob@bio.usyd.edu.au

Requirements: Macintosh:any modern Macintosh, including on the Power PC. System 6.0.7 or later isrequired.
PC: mouse, Windows 3.1, at least 4 MB RAM; Windows 95: atleast 8 MB RAM. The software works on all common networks that support Windows;
PC DOS: Tocreate tests: 640K RAM and a hard disk. To deliver tests: 512K RAM and ahard or floppy disk. To use graphics, you need a graphics display; QuestionMark supports VGA, EGA, MCGA and CGA displays.

Distributor: Question Mark Australia,PO Box 76 Fairfield Victoria Australia 3078

URL: http://www.qmark.com

Tel : (03) 9486 8344 Fax: (03)9 486 7187

email : qmark@melb.alexia.net.au

Cost: Question Designer $1280; QMGuardian $680; QM Web Converter $550 (2.5x these costs for a departmentalsite licence).