[Example] Question Banks & Surveys (without macros)

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[Example] Question Banks & Surveys (without macros)

Postby DACM » Fri Aug 24, 2012 9:23 am

We occasionally get inquiries about building question banks or surveys with Base. Unfortunately, Base is not very well-suited for these tasks due to distribution and security issues. After all, Base must be installed locally and the default Base configuration is not very secure.

In any case, a Base user asked:
dubya12 wrote:Can you suggest a non-macro approach to accomplish the following?

Simple multiple choice exam/form where the user selects the best answer and that answer identifier is saved to their answer sheet.

I couldn't resist because Base does possess the tools necessary to implement both surveys and question banks while recording individual user-responses -- without macros. The following example demonstrates these functions using the available Form tools and relational database concepts (i.e. standard SQL, many-to-many relationships) utilizing the bundled relational database.

Here's a few highlights of this example, as well as, some hints for self-customization or reverse-engineering purposes:
    1. The database structure and Forms support multiple users and answer keys. No reports are provided at this time, although reports or queries could be used for automated grading/scoring.
    2. The database structure and Forms support multiple question banks and/or surveys. Hard copy questions/surveys could be produced through reports, though none are provided in this example.
    3. Optional "stats" tables were added to support statistical analysis by user's gender, race, etc. No associated reports or Calc-graphs are provided at this time.
    4. Admin Forms allow the creation and modification of users, as well as, question-bank development. These Admin Forms could be enhanced (automated) considerably with macros, but no macros are employed in this example.
    5. Admin Forms are also used to select a user and question bank for each quiz session. A dedicated "filter table" (technique) is used to hold these two criteria for duration of the session.
    6. A "junction table" is used to save selected quiz answers by username, question bank and question number, to include answers in essay format.
    7. A multiple choice Form is demonstrated, but essay answers are also supported by the table structure. Each multiple choice question has four (4) possible answers. Macros would be necessary to adjust the Form display dynamically for a different number of possible answers per question. Macros would also be necessary to add feedback mechanisms during testing such as "Correct" or "Wrong Answer" guidance, and to display (unhide) hints and other source material.
    8. SubForms based on 'SQL commands' are used to filter Form displays using linked fields. Multiple choice answers utilize radio buttons and a dedicated SubForm per answer-choice. This string of cascading SubForms involves at least three (3) linked fields, all of which are copied automatically to the "junction table" (SELECTIONS table) through Base magic (SubForm parent-slave links). 8-)
    9. Images are saved in the database for convenience and portability, but using a dedicated IMAGES table in order to maintain database performance as the number of images grows. This technique utilizes a SubForm (effectively nested-SQL) to store/access images in the dedicated IMAGES table. This SubForm effectively sets-up a 1:1 (or 1:n) relationship between each question (QUESTIONS table) and its associated image (IMAGES table).
    10. Security is not considered due to the 'embedded database' configuration used for this example; all Forms are embedded thereby exposing the Base interface; any answer key (optional; ANSWER KEY user) is readily accessible as well.
 Edit: Version 3: Improved Admin forms 
Question Banks & Surveys without macros
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AOO 4.1.x; LO 4.2.x; Windows 7/8 64-bit
Warning: Avoid embedded databases --> Solution: Adopt a portable 'split database' folder
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