Hello and welcome to the next installment of the Canvas blog-a-thon. Up until this point, we have looked at the following areas of Canvas:

Today, we look at how to set up a simple quiz. Let’s get started!

What is the purpose of a quiz?

Quizzes can be a quick and informal assessment of student knowledge. They are often used to assess a students’ level of understanding of course content and they provide feedback on student progress. Quizzes can highlight any knowledge gaps in learning which allows for the planning of teaching and revision sessions.

What question types does Canvas allow?

Quizzes can have the following question types:

  • Multiple choice (MCQs)
  • Multiple response
  • True/False
  • Multiple answers
  • Multiple dropdowns
  • Matching
  • Numerical answers
  • Formula question
  • Fill in the blanks
  • Essay
  • File upload
  • Text

There are advantages to many of these questions types. The biggest advantage is automatic marking and feedback of results to students who have completed the quiz. Results and feedback can be immediate (formative) or delayed (summative and after exam board).

All question types can have points attached. Multiple Choice to Fill in the Blanks can have the correct answers selected by the academic on Canvas. Once the quiz is set up, i.e., date / time available from and until, the rest of the process is automated. Feedback should be provided on correct / incorrect answers and if possible, sign post students to resources to help improve their knowledge and understanding.

Essays, File Uploads and Text answers need someone to read over them as this is too subjective for Canvas to mark accurately. If these questions are used, Academics need time to mark the non-automated items.

How can I set up my quiz with points?

In short, yes. Most questions are positive marking whilst some are negative marking. This is something to be aware of and communicated to your students. For example, if a multiple response question has three correct answers and three points allocated to it, if a student chooses 2 correct and 1 incorrect answer, they will be allocated 2 points less 1 point. This gives a total of 1 point to the question, not 2.

Depending on the number of questions in the quiz, the points could be divided up to total 100 points, or questions can have a set number of points as decided by the academic. This needs some consideration. Points on quizzes can be formative where students check their own understanding of a subject and it doesn’t count toward their grades. Or, quizzes can be summative and points do count towards end of year grades.

If quizzes are summative and affect the end of year grade, there may be an assessment weighting attached as well. Just something to be considered.

Can I schedule my quiz for a particular date / time?

Of course. When a quiz is set up, give it a title and add instructions (as shown):

Canvas - setting up simple quizzes
Canvas – setting up simple quizzes

You can see from the starter settings above, academics can choose the quiz type. These include practice / graded quizzes and graded / ungraded survey options. The quiz can be assigned to quizzes (practice) or assessments (counting toward grades).

On the next image, you have a choice of whether answers are shuffled (or not). Time limits can be set along with multiple attempts at taking the quiz. Sometimes it’s one attempt only. Do have a look down through the settings. Depending on the quiz set up, you might want students to see their answers immediately or you might want to delay students seeing answers if everyone has to complete the quiz. You can see there are show and hide correct answers with options of adding in dates and times.

Canvas - quiz settings
Canvas – quiz settings

Quizzes can be restrictied to have an access code and Filter IP addresses if in an exam setting within a computer lab.

The next image shows how you can allocate the quiz to all students within the module. If Add was chosen, individual students can be given different dates and times to complete the quiz. This is beneficial for students who are registered disabled and get extra time.

Canvas - Assigning the quiz
Canvas – Assigning the quiz

Where dates / times are concerned, all three of these date boxes need to be completed. The quiz can be available from a set time and a deadline (due date) set for submission. The Until date allows for late submissions and Canvas highlights those late submissions.

Are quizzes automatically marked?

Mostly, yes. Essay and text answers need a human marker.

What feedback do I need to provide?

Feedback to students is always good. Exam feedback will be after the exam board and this is where settings in the quiz set up are more important. However, the feedback we are looking at here relates to formative feedback, when students are self-assessing their knowledge and understanding. Formative feedback.

When creating answers and setting an answer as correct. It’s important to provide feedback on why an answer is or is not correct. Simply saying ‘correct’ or ‘incorrect’ is not sufficient feedback.

On incorrect answers, inform students why this is not the correct answer. Even signpost students to resources which they can review and allow them to try the quiz again. The feedback does not need to be a long answer and the benefit here is when the feedback has been added, it won’t need to change unless you amend the question.

Where correct answers have been selected, feedback can be shorter and the number of points gained on the quiz is also feedback to the student.

Are my questions to easy / difficult?

Academics will be able to identify the really easy or hard questions as all students will either get them right or wrong. These questions need looked at in terms of difficulty and amended to better test student knowledge.


When writing multiple choice questions, the question is the stem. The answers should have ONE definite correct response and several plausible correct responses. Also makes answers of the same length. Studies show answers which are much longer are typically the correct answer.

Multiple Response questions

When giving answers for multiple response questions, avoid answers with ‘all of the above’ or ‘none of the above’. These are text-book go-to answers and don’t test student knowledge.

Adding in Questions

Now you have the instructions, etc., completed, click the Questions tab. Toward the bottom you can choose to +Question. Decide on the question type. Add in the question and the correct/incorrect responses. Select the actual correct answer and provide feedback per response.

Repeat the process until all questions have been added to the quiz. Remember to SAVE your work and PUBLISH the quiz when ready.

Canvas - adding in questions
Canvas – adding in questions
Next time

Tomorrow, we look at setting up question banks within quizzes and how to link them in. Tomorrow, we will also look at some platform issues and when quizzes don’t work so well.

Please do join us then to learn more and don’t forget to follow us on Twitter: @MDBSelearn.


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