Answers To Ut Homework Quest Physics

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Quest Learning and Assessment, UT Austin
Lewis, Gerald; McDonald, Patsy; Hostetler, Rhonda
American Physical Society, Joint Spring 2010 Meeting of the Texas Sections of the APS, AAPT, and SPS, March 18-20, 2010, abstract id. C2.004
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Quest Learning & Assessment is an innovative web-based tool for instructors and students of math and science. Quest was created at The University of Texas at Austin to address educational challenges at one of the biggest universities in the country. It now serves a primary role in classes taught within UT's College of Natural Sciences. Quest covers subjects ranging from mathematics, chemistry, biology, physics, computer science and statistics. For instructors, Quest offers an easy way to create homework assignments, quizzes and exams with its extensive knowledge base. Since most questions have built-in variations Quest can create custom assignments for each student, which are automatically graded. Once solutions are available, students can read detailed explanations to questions and understand why their answer was correct or incorrect. Quest has graded over 30 million student responses and is now available to all education institutions.

Quest is an online bank of science and math questions managed by the College of Natural Sciences. To get an account on Quest email your EID to Patsy McDonald at

Main points of Quest

  • is the starting point for you and your students.
  • You set the starting date (when students can download the assignment) and the ending date (when solutions not just answers will be available to students).
    • Students download a pdf of the questions and enter answers online.
  • You must “Publish to Class” to make the assignment available to students.
  • To pick questions choose an Area, either All Physics or you can choose a textbook.
    • Choosing a textbook does not give you problems from that book it simply lists problems by topic with order of the topics matching the order of topics in that book.
  • Questions for which students enter a numerical answer have a tolerance of +/- 1%.
  • Many numerical questions give random numbers so each student gets different numbers.
  • You can choose to allow students multiple attempts or only a single attempt. For multiple attempts each wrong answer gives the student negative points. Details of the grading algorithm are available in the Help section.
  • You can choose to allow late submissions with various stipulations.
  • You can submit your own questions by typing the question in LaTeX and emailing it to Patsy McDonald.
  • You can import assignments you’ve made for other classes whether they are current classes or from previous semesters.
  • If you find a problem with an error you can flag it from your assignment page. You can also email corrections to Patsy.
  • You can enter addition comments to accompany any problem
  • You can print questions for a scantron exam or students can enter exam answers using a Clicker.

Pros of Quest

  • You do not have to spend time writing questions for homework or exams.
  • Quest does the grading for you.
  • You see the success rate for each question and a histogram of the number of attempts for each question. In Manage Students you can look at an individual student’s questions and answers.
  • Students like the instant feedback of knowing if their answer was right or wrong.

Cons of Quest

  • You have to spend time looking for questions. There is no way to sort questions other than by textbook.
  • There is no easy way to see what the most common incorrect answer was for any question.


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