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QuizMaker - Graded Web Lessons
Educational software for the web
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Curtis Dyreson
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Note, if you are interested in an ungraded quiz, see the Self-Assessment Maker (SAMaker).

What is a quiz?

A quiz is a set of questions with marks (and negative marks) which a student may enter only at specified times using a specific password. Quiz answers are collected for later marking.

Please try the demonstration quiz at your leisure. NOTE: any password is acceptable, the quiz security has been stripped. You can also mark the demonstration quiz.

What is QuizMaker?

QuizMaker is a free tool that you can use to produce a WWW-based quiz. It is very easy to use QuizMaker by doing the following.
  1. Edit a text file with the questions and appropriate tags. The quiz is a plain text file interspersed with tags. The only hard part to learning to use QuizMaker is learning what the tags mean. The tags entirely control how the quiz is formatted and constructed. This is the source text file for the demonstration.
  2. Run the text file through QuizMaker. We have set up a Makefile for you to use, so that all you usually have to do is type 'make'.
  3. QuizMaker produces an entry page, a marking page, and passwords for student entry.
QuizMaker is a Perl program to convert the text file source into the appropriate databases and pages, and the CGI-bin scripts to process those pages.

Of course everyone always makes mistakes when they create a quiz. But, unlike a paper quiz, an electronic quiz can be dynamically modified. One must be careful when modifying a quiz because some students may already have answered some of the questions. If you have created a quiz and want to modify either

  • the entry/submit passwords or times
  • the wording of a question, e.g., reword a question to make it clearer, or
  • the correctness of an answer, e.g., add a new answer to an exact answer question,
then just edit the source text file and run it through QuizMaker again. Changes other than those mentioned above are not likely to be kosher.

Does it really work?

We have used QuizMaker in most first and second year subject here at James Cook University over the past two years. So this software has been field-tested. And from this field-testing we know it needs some improvements, namely more control in the marking stage. This software is actively maintained, if you find a bug please e-mail a bug report to Curtis.Dyreson at and we will fix it.

Is it really secure, that is can students cheat?

It is not secure! Students can cheat, it is impossible to prevent it. Read the AusWeb paper for more details.

What features are coming soon QuizMaker desirable?

  1. Multi-lingual - Every bit of QuizMaker's output is entirely under your control. The optional FORMAT tags control the formatting of every page and question.
  2. Hints and explanations of answers are supported.
  3. Development in text editors - Our goal in writing QuizMaker is to make it easy to create quizzes and then self-assessments from those quizzes. QuizMaker shares the same tags and philosophy as SAMaker. Never write a QuizMaker quiz from scratch. Copy an old one and edit that as you see fit. QuizMaker can be seamlessly layered with other tools such as the fabulous latex2html.

How can I get the code?

Perl 5.002 code (Quizcode.tar.gz 32K).
  • Future release: v1.0, Feb. 12, 1998. New features include:
    • no longer uses DBM files,
    • multi-lingual, all formatting is entirely under author's control,
    • and as many questions as desired on each page in the quiz.
  • First release: v0.9, Aug. 10, 1995.
To use the software you will need Perl 5.002 (or above) and the ability to install CGI-bin scripts on your server. Contact your server administrator to determine if you lack any of the above. If you have all of the above, the software should be relatively easy to install and use for someone with a limited knowledge of Unix. It has been successfully installed and used at numerous sites. Please send e-mail to Curtis.Dyreson at if you have successfully installed the software or are having problems. The software was written on a DEC-Alpha in a Unix environment using Perl 5.002.

Further Information

If you'd like further details, or a description of the tags, consult the the QuizMaker paper, presented at AusWeb '96. If you are interested in software to make self-assessments take a gander at SAMaker. If you would like software to make a student survey you can hop over to ASurveyMaker.
Curtis E. Dyreson © 1995-2000. All rights reserved.
  E-mail questions or comments to Curtis.Dyreson at