What is a self-assessment?
A self-assessment is a sequence of true/false, multiple-choice,
many-choice, and/or exact answer questions that a student works
through at their own pace.
When a student tries a question (or page of questions), feedback
is immediately given on their performance.
Please try the
demonstration self-assessment at your leisure.
Because SAMaker is multi-lingual, we did the
same tutorial in German,
which you can also try.
The translation was performed by the
Altavista translation service so we have no idea if it is correct, but it looks
You can also look at
collected statistics on demo questions,
stats on the German demo.
What is SAMaker?
is a free tool that you can use to produce a WWW-based self-assessment.
It is very easy to use SAMaker by doing the following.
SAMaker consists of a perl script to convert the text file source
into the appropriate databases and pages, and the CGI-bin scripts
to process those pages.
- Edit a text file with the questions
and appropriate tags. This is the
source text file for the example
(and here is the
source for the German example).
- Run the text file through SAMaker. We have set up a Makefile for
you to use, so that all you usually have to do is type 'make'.
- SAMaker produces a self-assessment entry page and a statistics page so
that the teacher can monitor how well students are performing on various
New - LessonMaker
Multiple self-assessments can now be directly included within any HTML
document. LessonMaker is a tool (distributed with SAMaker) that
automatically constructs the embedded self-assessments.
To get an idea of how it works, we have embedded the
two example self-assessments in a lesson.
The lesson was generated from
an HTML text.
Does it really work?
We have used SAMaker in most every first and second year subject here
at James Cook University over the past two years. Collectively, students
have attempted over five million SAMaker questions in hundreds
of different quizzes.
So this software has been extensively field-tested.
Furthermore, this software is actively maintained, if you find a bug
please e-mail a bug report
to Curtis.Dyreson at usu.edu
and we will fix it.
What features make SAMaker desirable?
- Multi-lingual - This is a World-Wide Web, not just an
Every bit of SAMaker's output is entirely under your
control. The optional FORMAT tags control the formatting of every page
- Hints and explanations of answers are supported.
- Development in text editors -
Our goal in writing SAMaker was to make a self-assessment fast
and easy for a teacher familiar with a text editor to create.
Never write a SAMaker self-assessment from scratch. Copy an old one
and edit that as you see fit.
Furthermore SAMaker can be seamlessly layered with other tools such as the
How can I get the code?
Perl 5.002 code (SAMakercode.tar.gz 28K).
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 usu.edu
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.
- Latest release: v1.3, March 7, 2001.
- cleaned up STATS-PRESENTATION
- Should now be able to configure for Windows as well as Unix.
- Latest release: v1.2, June. 17, 1998.
- added STATS-PRESENTATION format to control formatting of statistics
- Installation script fixed.
- LessonMaker v1.0 included.
- v1.1, Mar. 10, 1998.
- bug fix to chmod routines in LessonMaker
- v1.0, Dec. 12, 1997. 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 self-assessment.
- First release: v0.8, Aug. 10, 1995.
If you'd like further details, or a description of the tags, consult
the SAMaker paper, presented at ACSE '96 (SAMaker.ps.gz 158K).
If you are interested in software to make assessable quizzes take a gander
If you would like software to make a student survey you can hop over to
Curtis E. Dyreson
© 1995-2000. All rights reserved.