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M. Varela1, JP. Leal2

1Faculdade de Ciências de Lisboa (PORTUGAL)
2Faculdade de Ciências Universidade de Lisboa (PORTUGAL)
With the development of new Information and Communications Technologies in several areas of knowledge, it became impossible not to apply and use them as a backup for new teaching and learning material. The software developed and described here [1] aims to be an additional support tool in the study of chemistry for Portuguese secondary level students (10th and 11th grades).

The objectives for the software should include: 1-scientific correction; 2-adequacy to the themes focused as well as to the degrees of difficulty and complexity suggested by national syllabus; 3-interface conception through good usability practices in order to allow a broad use and to make human-computer interaction an easy and pleasant task.
To generate the test the user can choose if they want a test covering only one curricular year or a global test. Figures are taken directly from the software and are written in Portuguese. To make their meaning clear a translation is presented in the captions.

The user can choose all the topics and sub-topics that they want to see included in the test. For that, they only have to tick the desired options. Also, the difficulty degree of the test as well as the number of questions can be determined by the user. If a global option is chosen, the software will generate questions randomly taken from the several topics and sub-topics as well as questions with different difficulty degrees.

After the options to generate the test are set, the user can decide if they want to solve it on screen or if they prefer to have the test on paper (with or without the printed solutions). In the first option (screen mode) the test questions appear in the screen one after another and the user is provided with multiple choices questions and the obtained result at the end. In the second option, the test is printed (the user can edit it before printing) as well as the solutions.

With these two options, the software can clearly be used as a study auxiliary, as well as a tool to be used in classroom achieving the proposed goal of being a working tool aimed at students from the learning levels mentioned, although it can also be used by teachers as a teaching resource.

The selected framework was Visual Studio 2005 by Microsoft, and the adopted language was VB.Net. For questions databases SQL (Standard Query Language) Server 2005 was chosen.

[1] M. M. L. Varela, MSc. Thesis “Software educacional para a área de físico-químicas: programa gerador de testes – vertente química (de acordo com os programas do ensino secundário)”, Lisbon University, 2008.