Backgrounder – 1
Let’s start with a history of the quiz. From Britannica: “The earliest known appearance of the word quiz in print, according to the Oxford English Dictionary (OED), is surprisingly recent—1782—and the word then referred to an odd-looking person… As a term that refers to a test of knowledge, the word quiz first appeared in print in 1867, according to the OED, when it applied specifically to a set of questions used to evaluate a person’s knowledge in an academic context. This specific sense of the word has survived and is still used by instructors to denote tests that are not long enough to qualify as examinations and are often not announced prior to being given to the surprised students. By the early 20th century, American newspapers were applying the word quiz to a form of amusement… The OED theorizes that [the change in meaning] may have occurred by way of association with the word inquisitive or question.”
A short answer from ChatGPT: “Quizzing has a long history, dating back to ancient civilizations where tests and competitions were used to measure knowledge and intelligence. In modern times, the first known quiz competition was held in the early 1700s in London, England. Quizzes became popular in the United States in the early 1900s, and were often used as a form of entertainment on radio and television shows. Today, quizzes are still used as a form of entertainment, but they also have many educational and professional uses. They are also widely used in online platforms and mobile apps for fun and for educational purposes.” It also explained the most popular formats:
- Multiple-choice format: This is one of the most common quiz formats, where participants are presented with a question and multiple answer choices, and they have to select the correct answer. This format is easy to grade and score and can be used for a wide range of topics and difficulty levels.
- True or False format: This format consists of statements that are either true or false, and participants have to indicate whether they believe the statement is true or false.
- Matching format: In this format, participants are presented with a list of items or concepts and have to match them with the correct category or definition.
- Fill-in-the-blank format: This format consists of questions or statements with one or more blank spaces that participants have to fill in with the correct word or phrase.
- Open-ended format: This format consists of open-ended questions that require participants to provide a written or verbal response. This format is often used for more in-depth or subjective questions.
- Team format: This format is where participants form teams and compete against other teams in answering questions, usually in a buzzer system.
Quizzes satiate our curiosity to learn and be tested – either individually or against others. As Britannica explains: “Curiosity is why most quiz events take place away from the spotlight, in dingy basements and rented halls on weekends. What drives serious quizzers is a combination of the desire to know more and more about the things they see and read about and the joy of retaining and recalling these unrelated facts in the heat of the moment to answer a question.”