I used to have this recurring dream that I would wake up and forget that there was a quiz due today. As I woke up and realized I hadn't been in school for years, there was a sense of relief, but also a bit of stress that wouldn't go away. Turns out, this is a common dream for adults as they worry about keeping up with the demands of life. If you've had this dream or something like it, I'd love to hear from you.

Today, quizzes are big business. Many sites including ours give you quizzes that test your knowledge. It’s supposed to help with retention and becomes a differentiator for hiring. People who have quiz badges get better job offers and are more likely to get jobs.

Stress from Quizzes

Recruiters and companies love this as a differentiator because it makes their jobs easier. They need easy ways to filter through the vast quantity of resumes they receive. I don’t blame them.

Quizzes are Ineffective

I don’t think quizzes are effective at gauging ability or performance in a job. I think companies can end up hiring people who are good quiz takers, which is a specialized skill. A good skill…maybe.

I don’t remember anyone being happy or excited when there was a quiz though. One notable quiz was my citizenship exam. I remember people quizzing each other in the waiting room; everyone was super stressed about that one.

The Perfect Quiz

When I taught at a local college, I came up with a no-stress quiz. You had to complete one assigned to each lesson. The quizzes gave you points towards your final grade…only if you got a 100% score. But you could take the quiz as many times as you wanted and take as long as you wanted for the quiz UNTIL you got 100%. You could just take the quiz, write down what you got wrong and then take it again until you were successfull.

The idea was that it would help you learn what you didn't learn. The quiz identified concepts that weren't clear in your mind and allowed you to go find out what they were. They were designed to help you, not punish you for your lack of retention.

Quizzing Developers

The problem with quizzing front-end developers on something like JavaScript is that memory retention is useless for web developers, sometimes detrimental. There's no way any developer knows the "best way" to do anything. Web development is too vast and constantly changing. That's why sites like Stack Overflow and tools like Github's CoPilot are so popular.

A Quiz I loved

In that same class, there wasn’t a book for the course because any print book they could get would be obsolete as soon as it was printed…probably WHILE is was being printed. So quizzing developers on what a specific method does or a certain property in CSS is in my opinion useless. Every real developer I know, just looks stuff up.

This week, as I’m still working out a live streaming show I’m calling The Toolbox, I decided to take a quiz during the live stream. The quiz is called JS is Weird. Now, the purpose of the quiz is to show you how some things in JavaScript don’t behave the way you’d think.

I had a blast taking the quiz because I knew it didn’t really matter. Plus, the test was ridiculous. You weren’t supposed to KNOW the answers…because JavaScript is weird. Nevertheless some people’s competitive nature just goes wild.

JS is Weird Quiz

Score Bragging

My friend Morten wanted us to do quizzes together on livestreams (no thanks). People started to boast that they got much higher scores and that they didn't know JavaScript.

I think they’re missing the point. It’s not called JS is Logical, so technically if you got a high score on a quiz on a language that doesn’t make sense, what does that mean? I wonder how a room full of capybaras randomly interactive with a keyboard would do? Who cares? I guess some people do, but not me.

Maybe I’m just the one with the weird dream (stop quizzing everyone)