Quiz Script

Recently I’ve been working with my wife Christine (who teaches in the French Department at UVIC) on a simple system, called Quiz Script, that makes it easy and quick to generate online interactive quizzes. This is the handout we gave to accompany our talk at the May CALICO conference at UVIC. Try it out!

Quizscript – interactive exercises without tears

Quizscript is a simple cloud-based system for generating interactive quizzes from marked-up – in fact, punctuated – text. There is no software to download and install on the client’s computer, and none to install on your institution’s servers. There is no maintenance and, currently,  no charge. All an instructor needs to create a set of exercises is an internet connection, a browser and, optionally, a text editor (an editor for composing unformated texts). Once created the quizz (in the form of an .html text file) can be deployed on a server, emailed to the students, or distributed directly on CDs or flash drives.

All the student needs is a browser and either internet, email, or the CD/flash drive. The interaction is provided by the browser’s Javascript interpreter.

To create a quiz, the instructor visits the site


At the top of the page is a text box. Into this textbox the instructor types (or pastes) the text with the special punctuation, then presses the submit button. The punctuated text is sent to a Uvic Computer Science server where it is transformed into a mixture of HTML and Javascript and sent back to be displayed in the instructor’s browser. The instructor can immediately try out the quiz but will normally use the browser’s Save As command to save it as an HTML (text) file, which is then distributed to the students. The Computer Science server’s work is done at this point and it plays no role in administering the quiz.

The markup/punctuation is extremely simple – much simpler than XML. We describe here what is required for the simplest case, there is (admittedly brief) documentation on the Quizscript page itself.

In the simplest case the quiz consists of multiple choice question in which the list of choices is always the same. For example, in a French quiz on the definite article, the choices are « le », « la », « les » and « l’ ». The instructor declares this list once and for all at the beginning, with the line

.c le la les l’

Thereafter, at every place the instructor wants the student to have to choose the correct article, the instructor simply types the correct article (the answer) preceded by « # ». For example, the following line

J’entre dans #la salle de classe. Je vois #les élèves et #le professeur.

will generate a sentence with three embedded multiple choice questions.

The Quizscript site explains the other features : multiple default choice lists, directly enumerated (one-off) choice lists, fill-in-the-blank questions, and interactive hints.

The text window is small but can accept large files – the simple notation makes it practical to generate quizzes with hundreds of questions. One could, for example, paste an article from today’s Le Monde and in a matter of minutes add the punctuation required for turning it into a quiz on a topical subject.


About Bill Wadge

I am a Professor in Computer Science at UVic.
This entry was posted in research. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Quiz Script

  1. swchemistry says:

    I tried pasting the code into one of my word press pages but all I got was the code showing and not the quiz? Is there a plugin needed for word press?

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