Quiz: Do Minimum Wage Laws Work?

Last June, the Seattle City Council approved an increase in the city’s minimum wage to $15/hour. The wage increases will be phased in beginning in April of this year, with all businesses required to pay the new, higher wage by 2021.

The new law affects large businesses first, and an international franchise group says the roll-out plan is unfair. As the policy rolls into court this week, it’s fueled on ongoing national debate about how minimum wage laws impact both individuals and the economy.

Test your knowledge about the minimum wage!

I didn’t get as far with this assignment as I’d hoped, since I was teaching myself to use jQuery while making the quiz. This was a very silly idea, and I didn’t get nearly far enough to use any actual logic in the quiz — you can just get a score for now, and there are all other kinds of $&^% problems with it — but I’ll explain where I was headed after the jump.


Ideally, when you submit your answers, the quiz should calculate your score and provide you with a “Correct/Incorrect” for each question with a response — and additional information — tailored to how you did on the quiz.

As you can (maybe) see from my diagram, each multiple-choice question has two possible outcomes: you got it right (TRUE), or you got it wrong (FALSE). At the end of the quiz, if you got mostly correct answers, you would be shown a different result than if you got mostly incorrect answers.

My idea was that knowing how a wrong answer fits into the quiz-takers broader pattern of knowledge could give you an opportunity to (a) “grow” their knowledge by linking the right answer to something they may have answered correctly elsewhere in the quiz, or (b) use more directly persuasive language to counter a pattern of misinformation.

And, for a right answer, you’d be able to either (a) build from this right answer to help persuade them on the more controversial or difficult ideas in the quiz or (b) reinforce their position and perhaps expand with new information outside the quiz, making them a better advocate.

Therefore, each quiz question would have 4 possible responses, as shown. In theory, the responses would have attempted to do the following:

Mostly correct Mostly incorrect
Correct answer Reinforce and extend with additional information from outside the quiz. Reinforce and extend with adjacent information from other questions on the quiz.
Incorrect answer Educate using information from other questions on the quiz. Educate with an emphasis on persuasion.

I also considered not giving the “results” as a direct question-by-question response, but rather as an article with multiple variations. Each user might see a version with different paragraphs and/or a different structure depending on their answers — but that was clearly overly ambitious for this week’s assignment. In general, I am interested in the idea of how you can provide multiple versions of a story for users to help them better navigate it.



One thought on “Quiz: Do Minimum Wage Laws Work?

  1. Celeste this is a really cool way – really cool – to engage a reader who may feel she’s already heard enough arguing about min wage but helps her discover she doesn’t actually know that much. I LOVE the quiz format in context of story. Very inviting and made me think. I’d use this at NPR.

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