Hello again! For those of you in the United States and everywhere else that’s almost done with this school year, I hope that everything is wrapping up nicely for each of you. This was my 25th year in education, and it continues to amaze me how each year can be so different from the last.
In this newsletter, I’ve included important information about the following topics:
- Site license renewals due July 1st
- Summer site maintenance
- Coming in Fall 2023 – PhysQuiz.net!
- New quiz features & bug fixes
Site license renewals due July 1st
Thank you to everyone who has already renewed their school’s site license for the ChemQuiz.net Dashboard for the 2023-2024 school year! Site licenses are how I pay for the web hosting and the software I use to write the quizzes, and it keeps the website ad-free. (I understand their purpose, but I’ve always hated web ads.) I’ve sent out invoices for next school year to everyone with a current site license, but if you didn’t receive one, please let me know.
If you take no action, current site licenses for the ChemQuiz.net Dashboard will expire on July 1st, after which you won’t be able to create student accounts, classes or assignments. If you plan on renewing for next school year but you need a little extra time for the paperwork to go through, just drop me a line and I’ll extend your school’s expiration date to September 1st. I’ve taught in three public school districts over my career and each handled purchase orders differently – and they were all in Ohio! – so I understand how convoluted the process can be.
If you currently have a demo account and would like to purchase a site license for the 2023-2024 school year for just US$50, you can pay through a school purchase order or personal check, or via CashApp, PayPal, Venmo or Zelle at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by credit card through Square. Please reach out if you have any questions at all about site licenses or how to purchase one!
Site licenses also help me offer the ChemQuiz.net Dashboard for free to public schools in the U.S. with high rates of poverty. I’ve seen firsthand how schools with limited resources have to scrape and scrounge just to be able to teach their subjects (my school just got new Chemistry textbooks for the first time in 21 years, and I’ve personally repaired one-quarter of the desks in our two chem rooms). If ChemQuiz.net can do anything to help a student pass Chemistry in high school, then I figure they’re more likely to go to college and possibly major in science. Who knows! There’s no question our country needs more science literacy.
So far, the free site licenses program has been a success – 96 public schools have taken advantage of this offer, creating 2,500 student accounts and 676 assignments this school year, which have resulted in over 26,000 completed assignments. If you teach in a high poverty public school or school district (at least 50% of your students on free/reduced lunch or designated “economically disadvantaged”), please send me a link to the supporting documentation and you’ll get a free site license for the ChemQuiz.net Dashboard forever.
Coming in Fall 2023 – PhysQuiz.net!
Last spring, I planned to spend my spare time during the upcoming school year writing physics practice quizzes for a new website: PhysQuiz.net! I figured I’d be able to “coast” on all of the existing Environmental Science and AP Physics 2 materials I’d developed over the years. Then, two of my science colleagues suddenly resigned – including our department chair – and everything got turned upside down. This ended up being a much more challenging school year than I had expected.
Fortunately, I’ll be teaching physics and computer science next year, so I’ll be able to focus on writing those physics practice quizzes that I meant to get to last year! Also, I’ll have a student helping me who’s going to major in computer science; she’s been learning coding with me since she was in the Kent Girl Coders Club as an 8th grader. The plan is that she’ll help me write physics quizzes this summer so she can develop a portfolio of work for her college applications. Everyone wins!
If you’re interested in news and updates about PhysQuiz.net, please fill out this short form or send me an email at email@example.com. Once the site is up and running, PhysQuiz.net site licenses will be available at a bundled discount for schools that have already purchased a site license for ChemQuiz.net. More details will be available as we make progress on the new website!
Summer site maintenance
Each year, ChemQuiz.net has continued to add more schools with more students who generate more quiz results, so it’s necessary to archive older material to keep the website’s database running efficiently. For example, there are currently 158,000 quiz results in one database table just from the past two years! 😱
I’m going to be performing the following maintenance items over the summer, starting on or shortly after July 1st:
- All students accounts, assignments, quiz results, and classes created during the 2022-2023 school year (7/1/22 – 6/30/23) will be archived (but not deleted)
- All student accounts created during the 2021-2022 school year will be deleted
Items that are archived will still be accessible to you through the ChemQuiz.net Dashboard. If you don’t want me to archive your stuff, or if you operate on a different school calendar, please let me know before July 1st! Also, I back up everything regularly, so I can always restore anything you might need.
New quiz features & bug fixes
Like many of you, I’ve been especially “teacher tired” this spring! I feel like I’ve had to work harder than ever to keep my students focused and motivated after Spring Break, but they’ve been good sports about it (mostly). As a result, I wasn’t able to find time to write any new quizzes, but I did fix some bugs and add a few new features that I thought would be helpful:
- changed demo account to 30 days with no limit on creating student accounts or assignments
- added the ability to share (create a copy of) an assignment with a colleague at the same school (thanks, Helen!)
- added the ability to quickly restore (unarchive) an assignment from the Assignments page
- apostrophes in text would break “Notes to student” when creating an assignment
- added the option to not display solution setups after students completed a quiz (thanks, Susan!)
- answers and problem setups were wrong for problems with multiple hydroxide bases (thanks, Scott & Susan!)
- pressures should use parentheses instead of square brackets in word problems (thanks, Susan!)
- dilution problems sometimes had the same before & after volume or an increase in concentration (thanks, Malcolm!)
- correct answers marked as wrong when using “simplified” given values (thanks to my own students for reporting this bug!)
- before & after were sometimes the same when using “simplified” given values
- gas temperatures were often below 200K, which is unlikely
- rate constant units were incorrect on some problems involving change in concentration over time (thanks, Debra!)
- rate law answers were being interpreted as scientific notation due to ^ character (thanks, Susan!)
- table header showed “Concentration” instead of “Amount” for problems with moles (thanks again, Susan!)
- answers correctly rounded to the hundredths place were sometimes being marked wrong (thanks, Caitlyn!)
I keep a list of every bug or issue that gets reported as well as every new quiz suggestion, so my plan is to address those once our summer break starts next week. ChemQuiz.net has improved significantly over the past three years thanks to the bug reports and suggestions sent in by teachers and students alike, so please keep sending them in!
Help me share ChemQuiz.net with the world!
If you like using ChemQuiz.net, there are three quick and easy things that you can do to help me promote the site!
- Follow @ChemQuizDotNet on Twitter and Facebook and share my updates with your fellow Chemistry teachers!
- Tell another Chemistry teacher about ChemQuiz.net and encourage them to try out the Dashboard!
- Opt-in to adding your school to the list of supporters on the About ChemQuiz.net page! Go to the ChemQuiz.net Dashboard, click on “Your Info” in the top menu bar, check the box next to “Display School on ChemQuiz.net“, and click the “Update Your Info” button.
We only have one more week for semester exams at my school, and then I get to take our Environmental Club to the Ohio Envirothon Competition for the third year in a row! This year’s state competition takes place at Defiance College in Defiance, Ohio, which I’ve driven past but never been to, so I’m looking forward to seeing some new places. If you’re in the U.S. and your state participates in the Envirothon competition, I highly recommend getting involved! In Ohio, the competition is run through our Soil & Water Conservation Districts, so contacting your county’s district may be a good place to start. The kids really learn a lot about regional environmental issues that they don’t normally see in class, and it can be a lot of fun!
Thanks again for all of your support, suggestions and feedback over the past three years! Working on ChemQuiz.net and collaborating with teachers all over the globe has been a deeply fulfilling experience. Please get in touch with me via the Contact form or at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions, comments, or concerns. If you’re in the United States, I hope you have a restful and peaceful Memorial Day. Take care, stay safe, and enjoy your summer break!