Best Practices for Delivering Online Quizzes

Filed in assessment, Canvas, didyouknow, HowTo, online, remote by on July 19, 2020

Updated Post: 07/19/2020, originally posted 7/06/2017

There’s no 100% foolproof way to (in class or online) to guarantee that students aren’t cheating. But here’s some ways to help maximize quiz security using the available settings and tools available in Canvas.
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1) Draw your quiz questions from a pool of questions using Question Banks. The larger the number of questions in the question group (compared to the number randomly being picked for the quiz) the more secure the quiz.

2) Remember to review and update your Question Banks for each course offering. This can help keep your quiz questions from appearing on test bank sites on the internet or being shared from term to term.

3) When using the Multiple Choice question type, Randomize (or Shuffle) answer choices for each question. Each student will receive the answer choices in a different order.

4) Use Question Groups to randomize question order if you are not using Question Banks. If you do not have enough questions to warrant a Question Bank, you can still randomize the order in which the questions appear for your students.

5) Using Images in Quizzes: If a course has the Files link enabled in the course navigation menu then students will be able to use that to browse all the files and this includes by default, any images you’ve uploaded to Canvas to embed in your quiz. To prevent this, it is a good idea to either:

6) Give students a reasonable time limit for completing assessments. This is a checkbox option under quiz settings and limits the amount of time students have to take a quiz. You may still grant individual students additional time if needed for accessibility. Timed quizzes begin once a student begins the exam and do not pause if the student navigates away from the quiz.

7) For high stakes exams, display one question at a time. This is a checkbox option under quiz settings and allows students to only see one quiz question at a time. It is recommended to use this feature in conjunction with the “Lock Questions after Answering” option. Used together, it requires the student to answer each individual question before moving on and prevents students from going back and changing their answer.

8) Let Students See Their Quiz Responses: This is a checkbox option under quiz settings and after a student submits a quiz allows them to see the quiz questions & answer options, the answer options the student selected, if they got a question incorrect or partially incorrect and ALL question feedback.

    • For enhanced quiz security leave this box unchecked or leave it unchecked until after the “Due’ and ‘Until’ date(s).
      • Any checkboxes in this area that allow students to see their answers in any fashion before the “Until” date (see Quiz Availability recommendations below) are not recommended for high stakes exams as they could share this information with classmates.
      • You may come back and adjust quiz settings after ALL STUDENTS have completed the exam (Check this in Gradebook or Moderate This Quiz) and release answers manually if desired.
    • Show/Hide Correct Answers at: For enhanced quiz security, the best option is not use this until after the “Due” and “Until” dates (see availability options below) and then also limit how long the students can view the correct answers.

9) Quiz Availability: make the quiz available only for a specific amount of time. You can do this in the Settings area of your quiz under “Assign To.” Note: If you have course sections that meet at different times but are merged into a single course site, you can still specify different due dates and availability for a quiz.

  • The Due Date you specify in Canvas does not stop students from taking the quiz, but quizzes submitted after the due date will be marked late in Gradebook.
  • Available From: this is the date and time the quiz “opens” for students to begin taking it.
  • Until: this is the date and time students will no longer be able to take the quiz. If this date is set after the due date, students will still be able to take and submit the quiz but it will be marked late.
  • Things to note: Canvas will auto-submit the quiz at the “Until” date/time regardless of whether the student is in the middle of taking the quiz or not. If there is no “Until” date set then the quiz will not auto-submit until the end of the course.
  • For enhanced security instructors should set the “Until” date to be the same as the “Due date” because it prevents students from taking the quiz after it is due. But again, this will cut students off in the middle of taking the quiz because the “Until” date will automatically submit the quiz.

10) Require an Access Code: This is a checkbox option under quiz settings and prevents students from taking the quiz without the correct code. This feature can be used to make sure students are taking the quiz at a specific time or in a certain location; this works especially well for students who need to take a test in the EPC with a proctor. The Access Code can be changed at any point during the test availability period.

  • Please note: This option cannot be used in conjunction with remote online proctoring services like Honorlock.

11) Do not release the students’ test scores until the availability time has ended (use the Grade Posting Policy feature in the Gradebook)

12) Do not release results to the students until after all students have taken the exam.

13) Routinely review start and end times for exams to identify anyone who takes an unusually short period of time to complete an exam. (Available under Moderate This Quiz.)

14) For students with Accessibility needs, use the Moderate This Quiz tool to give additional time or attempts to students who need it.


Additional Resources

quiz screenshotWebinar: Feel Secure about Your Relationship with Quizzes

Quiz Settings to Maximize Security

What options can I set in a quiz?


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