Tag Archives: GIFT format

Online quizzes!

Last week I took a look at Moodle and tried creating a quiz using the “regular” method – using menus and buttons to navigate graphically through the process of making categories for questions, then populating these categories to form a test bank, then actually putting questions together. It turns out that this is a slow process. I thought that there would be a better way, especially since most teachers already have questions defined from past terms.

There is indeed a faster way. Moodle can import 12 different types of quiz files, including Blackboard and WebCT. The quickest way to go, however, is probably the GIFT format. This is a simple text-based format that uses a variety of delimiters for different purposes. For example, if I want to create a multiple choice quiz I could start by making a plain text file like this, indicating correct answers with “=”:

How many glasses of water per day should a person drink?{~15 ~0 =8}

What is the best type of donut? {~sprinkles ~jelly-filled =eclair}

The GIFT format allows a wide variety of questions: multiple choice, true/false, “missing word”, short answer, even essay. If your answers are numeric you may provide a margin of error. In my first example, for instance, I could say that any answer within 10% of the correct answer would still be graded as correct. 

Here is another example question, this time in matching format:

Match the following IWU departments with their corresponding buildings. {

    =Theatre -> McPherson

    =IT  -> IT House

    =Admissions  -> Holmes

    =Mathematics  -> CNS


There are also provisions for feedback to be given for certain question types, describing why an answer was correct or incorrect.  

It wouldn’t take a lot of work to reformat an existing quiz in Word to fit these patterns. It is also possible that existing test banks that come along with textbooks may already be formatted in one of the Moodle-compatible formats. Once the questions are inside a Moodle course page you can add a quiz wherever you’d like in your course outline (Week 8, topic #4, etc). Next week I’ll add a quiz and get my IT House colleagues to try it out!