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Committee on Chemistry Education

Number: 2005-003-2-050

Title: e-Quiz for promoting chemical education

Task Group
: K.V. Sane and Govind Hari Singhania

Members: S.C. Agarkar, Ved Goel, V. Natarajan, and Raj Kumar Tandon

Completion Date: 2006 - project completed

Conducting a quality Quiz is an effective way of canalizing student interest in chemistry beyond the confines of syllabi. This expectation has been borne out through an exploratory exercise held during 2003-2004 in which nearly 5000 students participated from over 40 schools in Delhi, Mumbai, Kanpur and Kota (near Jaipur).

Background - A Chemistry Quiz titled RASAYANIKA ("Chemistry' is called 'Rasayan' in Sanskrit) was conducted in Delhi in 2003 under the auspices of the JK Foundation for Human Development (JKFGD) - a part of the JK Organization which is one of the most prestigious Industrial Houses in India. The Indian Quiz is an adaptation of the pioneering work carried out by Dr. Charles Fogliani under the auspices of the Royal Australian Chemical Institute. (The Australian National Chemistry Quiz is being conducted by Dr. Fogliani in the Australasian region since the 1980s.)

RASAYANIKA is designed to improve the awareness of the role that Chemistry plays in everyday life in a developing country like India. The highly enthusiastic response from students and teachers in 2003 led to the idea of conducting the Quiz outside Delhi in 2004.

It is now felt that it will be useful to go on-line to reach a wider audience and to professionalize the assessment tools and techniques so that RASAYANIKA becomes a catalyst for improving student interest in Chemistry. To enable the participation of schools where Chemistry is not taught in English, the on-line version will also be accessible in local languages where necessary.

Proposal - The objective is to design the on-line version of the exploratory trials conducted in 2003 and 2004. This will enable students to take part from all over India in 2005-06 and pave the way for a regional extension of the Quiz. The academic part will consolidate the following:

  1. Design and development of a Question Bank. This collection will be classified according to categories. Each question will carry the objective i.e. specify whether the question tests the conceptual ability, application ability, numerical ability and so on.
  2. Performance of participants will be analyzed for each item (i.e. each question) in the Quiz on a five-point scale. The analysis will be made available to all the schools with comments and suggestions for a follow-up. It is hoped that this step will motivate many schools to begin a capacity building program in chemical education.
  3. The analysis will be used to validate the items in the Question Bank. This will permit labeling of questions in the Bank by the so-called Discrimination Index which indicates the efficacy of an item for assessing the student performance.
  4. To attract large student turn-out, RASAYANIKA 2005 will be held under IUPAC CCE banner and all Quiz Certificates will be signed by IUPAC President, CCE Chairman and Chairman of the IUPAC Sub-committee Chemistry for Development.
  5. To facilitate the participation of students from non-English medium schools, the Quiz will also be conducted in local language. (It must be mentioned that India shares some languages with some of its neighbors; extension of the geographical scope of the Indian Quiz should therefore foster regional cooperation in Chemical Education.)

To summarize, the Task Group envisages the e-Quiz as a catalyst for enhancing student appreciation of Chemical Science as a creative and a dynamic agent. It proposes to achieve this objective by establishing a platform for bringing together specialists (for creating the Question Bank and for validating the items in the Bank), school teachers (for providing feedback), industry and government agencies (for instituting prestigious Awards) and University teachers (for initiating capacity building programs for schools/teachers). Though India is the focus of the proposal, it should be obvious that the follow-up will be border-less when an on-line facility is created.

The first round of Quiz competition was held in late May 2006 and the evaluation completed early June. The student response is quite satisfying performance-wise as well as number-wise.


Last update: 4 August 2006

<project announcement published in Chem. Int Jan-Feb 2006, p. 22 >


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