IDEA Courseware Team Support
Online assistance for Canvas and Learning Tools from Wharton Computing

All about Quizzes: exams, surveys, & graded online homework


A Quiz in Canvas can be a graded or ungraded quiz, question-by-question homework, or survey. Most interactions that lend themselves to a structured question/answer format between teachers and individual students are candidates for quizzes. Check the Canvas Guides for extensive "how-to" documentation. Here we focus on the issues that arise most commonly at Wharton.

Unlike assignments, a quiz cannot be submitted by a student group in Canvas. You can have an individual from each group submit the quiz on behalf of the group, but there is no way to share the results of a quiz among the other team members.

The Quiz tool can also be used for exams but requires advance planning and special consideration. To learn more, please consult:
Preparing an online exam for delivery through Canvas

Quiz Configuration

Due and availability dates

  • Use a "Due" date/time to track whether a quiz was submitted on time or late.
  • Use an "Available From" date/time to prevent students from taking the quiz until that particular date and time.
  • Use an "Until" availability date/time to cause the quiz to submit at a certain point in time. An "Until" date/time will cause the quiz to be submitted at that time regardless of whether or not the student voluntarily submits it. (Note that the "Due" date/time does not cause automatic submissions.)
  • Please see this article for more information about using these dates and times.

"Mute" to allow multiple attempts without revealing answers or scores

A common model at Wharton is a graded quiz where the instructor wants to allow unlimited attempts, but doesn't want to show any answers or scores between attempts. To suppress all answer and score information, you need to mute the quiz in Gradebook or SpeedGrader. If you mute the quiz, you will over-ride all the settings discussed in the point below.

Be careful with quiz answers on multiple-attempt quizzes

The settings which govern whether or not to show responses and correct answers make the most sense when used in conjunction with quizzes that only allow one attempt. If you're allowing multiple attempts, unless you mute the quiz, some information about the quiz score will always be available between attempts. If you want everything hidden, feel free to mute the quiz, which will override the settings we discuss below. We are working with Instructure on adding additional clarity and functionality, but in the meanwhile, you should know:

  • There is no way to suppress the display of the student’s score (eg, 8 out of 10) without muting the quiz.
  • There is no way to let the student view their previous answers without revealing correct/incorrect information about their answers.
  • If you check the "Let Students See Their Quiz Responses" setting, students will see their answers and a correct/incorrect indicator for their answer. If you're allowing multiple attempts, this means they can use trial and error to figure out the correct answers. Also note that if you're using answer comments, these will be displayed as well, so if your comments reveal enough information, students will only need to take the quiz once to learn the correct answers.
  • If you check the "Show Which Answers Were Correct" setting, in addition to seeing their answers and a correct/incorrect indicator for their answer, the correct answer will also be marked. If you're allowing multiple attempts, this means they only need to take the quiz once to learn the correct answers. Again, answer comments will also be shown.

Information to include for students on graded quizzes

When you create or edit a quiz, you'll see a text box where you can insert general quiz instructions. We recommend providing the following information to students to prevent confusion.

  • You must fill in a complete set of answers before the due date shown.
  • While you are online, answers you enter will be automatically saved. Don't open the quiz and leave it unattended, as doing so will interfere with the auto-save capability.
  • Your work will be submitted when you click the "Submit Answers" button.
  • If the quiz allows multiple attempts, clicking "Take the Quiz Again" after you have already submitted answers will result in a fresh quiz attempt. If you don't resubmit answers before the due date, your latest attempt will be recorded with a score of 0. Thus, don't use "Take the Quiz Again" unless you're prepared to resubmit all your answers.

Make sure you delete blank answers in multiple choice questions

To save you time, Canvas provides blank answers for multiple choice questions, but for Numerical Answer questions, it's important to delete the blanks you haven't used. If you don't, a student can provide an answer of 0 and get a 'correct' when that may not be what you wanted. (This issue has been reported to Instructure.)

How to preview your quiz

You will no doubt want to see what your quiz looks like to students, and you will probably want to see whether or not your settings are working as you intended. There are a number of ways to do this, such as choosing to "Preview" the quiz in the settings, or using the "Take the Quiz" button when you're not actively editing the quiz. Sometimes this leads to confusion, however, because you WILL continue to see answers that students WILL NOT see if you've chosen to Mute your quiz or if you have not checked "Let Students See Their Quiz Responses". If quiz answers will be hidden from students, you will see a note about quiz results being "protected," but you will still see the answers when previewing or taking the quiz yourself. You can also use the Student View, which will give you a quiz experience closer to what the students will see.

If you need to regrade a quiz

Occasionally you may need to change an answer after students have taken the quiz - perhaps students came up with an additional correct answer you hadn't considered, or maybe your quiz simply had a typo or misidentified the correct answer. There is a "regrade" feature that will allow you to regrade multiple-choice, true/false, and multiple-answer questions automatically.

To adjust scores for other question types, use SpeedGrader to apply "fudge points" to an already graded quiz attempt for a student (or simply change per-question points if you prefer). Contact the Courseware Team if you need assistance doing this.

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