Why tag questions?

When you are building a quiz using pre-existing questions from the question bank, you are going to wind up with very inconsistent tagging. Why is this important, and what should you do about it?

  • What are tags for?
    Analysis. Both teachers and students see results analysed by tag after a quiz. The tags allow results from groups of questions to be amalgamated, resulting in much more reliable reportage of real attainment. They are also very valuable in search, and are used by many authors to manage quiz compilation. 
  • How many tags per quiz?
    3-6 is ideal. More is likely to be overkill.
  • Why 3-6?
    Imagine you have run a quiz at the start of a lesson. How can this analysis help you refine the lesson on the fly? You may want to know what is the one concept it’s worth doing a reinforcement exercise on. Or perhaps you can see that it’s time to move onto why rather than what. With 30 kids permanently on the brink of being out of control, you need simple, clear pointers. And you don’t want your attention distracted by information that is not immediately useful.
  • How many questions should a tag cover?
    More than one, and fewer than all. The ideal range is between a quarter and a half of the quiz. 
  • What is the best way to write a tag?
    A simple phrase in plain English. “Spreadsheet formulae” is better than “formulae” because Maths and Chemistry both have those. Don’t add punctuation  “Spreadsheets: formulae”, it is more likely to confuse users than help. 
  • Should I delete non-useful tags?
    No. When you are working with other peoples’ questions, you do not know what else they use the tags for. Quiz analysis is only one of several functions they serve. If it’s your own quiz, that’s different.
  • Is it even possible to delete a tag?
    Yes. Edit the question. You can add or remove tags under the Tags tab of Question Creatr. It’s a bit of a faff, and only for use in exceptional circumstances, or with your own quizzes.
  • What is the principle of choosing the right tags?
    Teachability. Can you make this lesson better by knowing this about your class? Not theoretically in a perfect world, but in a real classroom on a normal day.
  • Knowledge or process tags?
    Both. Look for questions that address higher-order thinking skills, the answers to which could not have been rote-learned. If there are more than two in a quiz, give them a tag! It is the most reliable way for the teacher to spot the real high-ability students. 
  • What about tags that are already in the quiz, but add no analysis value?
    Just ignore them. We are changing the analytics displays to hide single-question tags, and to display data in order of the number of questions tagged. This will usually be enough to make the most useful data most prominent.


3 responses to “Why tag questions?”

  1. I’m trying to “teach” Dionysus’ story through a quiz as you suggest in your authoring quiz. Do you mind checking my feedback and tags? Am I on the right track?


    K. Huck


    • Hi Kara, I took a look at your Dionysus quiz. Love the illustrations!

      I see you have it tagged so far with dionysus and mythology. I recommend you tag every question dionysus. It won’t help with results analysis, but it will be very useful for finding that set of questions for future projects. The mythology tag could be useful for building general quizzes across several myths, if that is something you plan to do.

      Here is how to generate good analysis tags. Imagine you are in 1:1 conversation with a student, and you want to know if they have really understood the underlying concepts. What 2-3 questions would you ask, to draw that out? These are your analysis tags. It’s quite a good discipline to work from concepts->tags->questions because it results in a well-balanced quiz that delivers really useful analytics.

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