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Creating a Quiz

The “Quiz” activity in Moodle allows you to test your students’ knowledge using a large variety of question types. Questions in quizzes are pulled from your course’s question bank—a space for creating and categorizing all of your course’s quiz questions. Most of Moodle’s question types are automatically graded based on answers that you specify in a question’s settings. Moodle quizzes include an extensive list of settings, of which you can edit to create the type quiz you want. The settings in Moodle quizzes give you the ability to not only replicate a typical in-class quiz, but also improve student learning in ways that are not feasible, or even not possible, with an in-class quiz.

Online quizzes provide a major benefit to students: the opportunity to learn from instant feedback. Using Moodle’s quizzes, you can assign feedback to every answer you provide for a question. Feedback for a correct answer could as simple as “That’s correct. Great job!” or pose a complex thought about the question to further a student’s understanding of the topic. Feedback for an incorrect answer could give a thorough explanation of why the response is incorrect or point students to a resource, such as a specific lecture or a section of a textbook, that explains the question’s topic. A quiz can then be configured to display feedback based on a student’s answer immediately after a question, after they finish the entire quiz, or after the quiz has closed. An increase in feedback frequency to levels that are not feasible in a classroom will help students more effectively correct any misconceptions they have and cement concepts that they do understand. Another benefit to using Moodle quizzes is that it will save you, the instructor, a lot of time. While the initial creation of quiz questions may seem like a time-consuming task, the ability for Moodle quizzes to automatically grade a student’s attempt and provide timely feedback saves you any time that would otherwise be required to grade quizzes manually. Additionally, Moodle provides grade analysis tools including average scores and grade distributions for individual questions and the quiz as a whole.

While you can create Moodle quizzes to directly replicate a typical in-class quiz or exam, a more novel use of an online quiz is to give a brief concept check after a lecture. A low-stakes quiz with a question or two to evaluate your students’ comprehension of a lecture’s material would help students understand your learning goals for a lecture and help you understand how well your lecture enabled them to learn those goals. An in-class quiz with even as few as one or two questions would be a daunting task to grade, but an online quiz with automatically graded questions makes this task much more feasible.

Creating Quiz Questions

The question bank in Moodle is a categorized database of quiz questions. It is a space for you to create and store all questions that you will use in your Moodle quizzes. Once you have questions in your question bank, you can add them to a quiz. Categories can help you organize you question bank by grouping questions together based on the quiz that they will be added to or a common concept that they refer to. Moodle provides a total of ten question types for you to use in your online quizzes:

  • description in a quiz technically not a question. It is a non-graded space for providing text or images to precede a group of questions. It is useful for providing an introduction to a quiz or when multiple questions refer to one single item or set of items, such as images.
  • In a multiple choice question, students will see the question text and have the option to choose one or multiple answers from a set of radio buttons (or check boxes if it is a multi-answer question). Since the correct answer(s) is pre-defined, the question will be automatically graded. Partial credit can be assigned.
  • true or false question in Moodle is basically a multiple choice question with only two possible answers. Students will see a question text and have the option to choose “true” or “false” from radio buttons. Since the correct answer is pre-defined, the question will be automatically graded.
  • In a matching question, students will see a list of names or statements on the left and a list of drop-down menus on the right. Students will use the drop-down menus to select from a list of possible matches to the names or statements. Each match is weighted equally throughout the question. You must provide at least two questions and three answers. You can provide extra wrong answers by giving an answer with a blank question. Entries where both the question and the answer are blank will be ignored.
  • In a short answer question, students see a question text and are provided with a field to type in a word or phrase in response to the question. You can provide many possible answers, but a student’s answer must match one of your acceptable answers exactly to receive credit. As a result, it’s important to anticipate all possible correct answers that are phrased differently. An asterisk can be used as a wildcard to match any characters. For example, use ran*ing to match any word or phrase starting with “ran” and ending with “ing.” If you really do want to match an asterisk then type a backlash before the asterisk: *. The first matching answer will be used to determine the score and feedback, so it is important to order your answers from highest score to lowest.
  • numerical question is a short answer question that only allows students to input numbers and a limited set of other characters. Students will see the question text along with a field to enter an answer. Numerical answers also allow for an acceptable error and a drop-down menu of units which can be specified in the question’s settings.
  • Calculated questions offer a way to create individual numerical questions by the use of wildcards (i.e {x} , {y}) that are substituted with random values when the quiz is taken. The answer for the question is calculated according to an equation that you specify. For example, for the problem “Calculate the area of a rectangle with base {b} cm and height {h} cm,” Moodle will randomly select values for {b} and {h} and calculate the answer according to the specified equation of “={b}*{h}.” This provides an easy way to create a mass number of numerical questions which gives students more practice material.
  • Random short-answer matching questions look identical to matching questions, but the sub-questions are drawn randomly from the short answer questions in the current category in your question bank. The answer options are taken from the correct answers of each contributing short answer question. Therefore, if the short answer questions in this category are on different topics, this question type will not be useful as the correct option will be obvious. You must make sure that the category contains enough unused short answer questions; otherwise, the student will get an error message. The more short answer questions you add to the category, the more likely it is that students will see a new selection on each attempt.
  • The essay question type is intended for short answers of a paragraph or two. Students will see a question text and be provided with an HTML editor (including the MathML editor) to assist them in writing a response. Unlike the question types in previous tutorials, essay questions cannot be automatically graded. A student’s response to an essay question will not be assigned a grade until it has been reviewed by someone with grading privileges. Use of the Feedback Manager can accelerate the process of assigning grades and feedback to large numbers of student responses.

Grading an Online Quiz

One of the greatest benefits of a Moodle quiz is automatic grading. Most questions are graded automatically, providing quick and specific feedback to students and minimizing instructor labor. Essay questions require manual grading from an instructor, but Moodle provides a simple layout to cut down on the time needed for this task which can be further accelerated with the use of the Feedback Manager.

Moodle quiz results include a powerful tool that allows instructors to view statistics on specific quiz questions to analyze student comprehension of a given question topic, or to identify discrepancies in questions text. You can download the result of quizzes in many different formats. Visually, the bottom of the page shows a distribution of scores in a graphical form. Individually, you can also delete or regrade questions and attempts. If a student comes to you with help figuring out what they got wrong, you can pull up that individual score and answer.

Tutorials involving grading and analyzing an online quiz are dependent on what settings you set when you created the quiz. For example, for unlimited attempts, you might have the average grade of attempts be the final score. Analyzing results of your quizzes can help you see what questions were the hardest, what you need to go over in lecture, and where the class stands as a whole or on an individual scale.