Question Mark for Web (QM Web) is believed to be the world’s first commercial web testing and surveying product. QM Web version 1 was released in October 1995. Version 2 of QM Web was released in September 1996.
To quote contemporary descriptive language: “Using QM Web, you create your questions and load them onto a Web or Intranet server. People anywhere in the world can then answer the questions using just a Web or Intranet browser (e.g. Netscape Navigator or Internet Explorer). Their answers can be sent back to you for analysis, or else marked on the server with immediate results. If you need to gather information from people and analyze the results, using the Web or an Intranet, then QM Web is the answer for you. Typical uses of QM Web include:
- Distance education. If you are presenting courses at a distance, you can add assessment – finding out what people know, checking what they have learnt, or offering a formal end of course exam to validate performance.
- Self-assessment teaching material. Add interactivity to your training and educational material. Create quizzes that people can take to find out how much they know, or as practice tests prior to important exams.
- Checking employee competence. Ask questions to prove your sales staff understand the products they are selling or that your employees know safety regulations.
- Recruitment skill tests. Get a prospective employee to take a test to give you objective information on their capabilities, or gather information on the Web prior to selecting people for interview.
- Surveys and questionnaires. Ask employee attitude surveys, get feedback from trainees on the quality of courses or ask your customers or people accessing your site what they think of your service.
QM Web gives you instant assessment, instant learning and instant results, anywhere in the world.”
QM Web took questions and assessments created in Question Mark Designer for Windows (a Windows assessment management system) and converted them into HTML for use on the web. A server-side program then allowed scoring, feedback and results reporting.
Evidence of its release and availability:
- Press release on QM Web (questionmark.com, May 6, 1996)
- Another press release on QM Web (Jan 12, 1996)
- Autumn 1995 newsletter (on the Wayback Machine)
- Virtual presentation about making web tests from Sunderland University (July 3 1996)
- Press release at ASTD 1996 (Wayback Machine, September 18, 1996)
- There are still a few QM Web tests on the Internet, for example see this Chemistry one from the University of Sunderland or this dinosaur quiz. (You can answer the questions but not get scored.)
- A paper by Glenn Fulcher in Oxford University Press’s ELT Journal Volume 53/4 October 1999 which mentions QM Web being produced in 1995 and used at the University of Surrey in January 1997. (Abstract of paper here.)
Evidence of its functionality:
QM Web functionality grew from its original release in 1995 to fuller capability in 1996. Manuals on this site have been uploaded with the permission of the copyright holder.
- Scan of October 1995 QM Web manual
- Original files used for September 1996 QM Web manuals (zip of Word and WordPerfect files)
- The Wayback machine has preserved information sheets and online manuals for a slightly later version of QM Web as at May 1997
- Product information sheets here and here
- FAQ (May 1997)
- QM Web Converter manual (April 1997)
- QM Web Interactive manual (version 2.11, March 1997)
Feel free to ask me any questions about QM Web.
John Kleeman, May 29 2012