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Brightspace Staff Support

Creating Quizzes for Formative and Summative Assessments (TCAs)

The support tabs below will guide you through how to create and manage a quiz.

Quizzes can be a useful tool to quickly gauge a cohort's knowledge of a given subject, whether that's diagnostically giving them the quiz before any knowledge or after/during the subject.

Summative and TCAs

Quizzes are a very useful tool if you are looking to create a TCA in place of an exam.  You are able to create a 24 hour window with the 4 hour TCA able to be completed at any time within that window.  If you are creating a quiz for a summative component of your module or would like support in doing so, please contact your course administrator (if you have one). They will ensure that settings for grade items and special access are correctly weighted and configured.

Below you will find information on: Creating a quiz, Setting the availability, choosing the right assessment settings and deciding what a student sees when they submit.

How to create a quiz

  1. Navigate to the Brightspace module into which the quiz will go.
  2. Select ‘Assessment’ from the navbar.
  3. Select ‘Quizzes’.
  4. Select ‘New Quiz’.
  5. Give the quiz a name.
  6. Optional: assign the quiz to a category. This is useful if you have lots of quizzes in your module.
  7. The ‘Questions per page’ box allows you to choose how many questions a student sees before they go to another page of the quiz. Leave it blank and the whole quiz will appear on the same page.
  8. The ‘Paging’ tickbox, when checked, means that students can’t go back to a previous page once they’ve moved on. For most types of assessment, this isn’t a necessary measure.
  9. Select the button to add / edit questions.
  10. Add your questions accordingly. For information about the types of question, see this link:
  11. In the ‘description’ box, check the radio button to turn the description on. Add a brief paragraph explaining the purpose of the quiz.
  12. Check the radio button so that the introduction is set to ‘on’. In the ‘introduction’ box, add the text that you will use to instruct students on what they need to do. Brightspace will tell them how much time they have available, but it’s always a good idea to reiterate the format and requirements here.
  13. Optional: Under page header / footer, you can optionally add text and images to the top or bottom of each page of the quiz. This is not essential.
  14. You have some other options under ‘Optional Advanced Properties’. If these options aren’t showing, select ‘Expand optional advanced properties’.
  15. Checking ‘allow hints’ will mean that students can see any hints that you have given for each question.
  16. Disabling the right-click makes it harder for students to copy or print a question, though it’s not hard for students to find a way around this. There’s not a particular need to check this box.
  17. The final checkbox prevents users from accessing certain Brightspace tools while they’re accessing the quiz. Again, they have other ways that they can easily communicate, so although it makes it slightly harder to collaborate, it’s easily circumvented.
  18. Finally, entering your email address into ‘notification email’ will mean that you receive an email every time somebody completes the quiz.
  19. At this stage, the quiz will be ready, but will not be published. Click ‘save’ to store what you’ve done so far.
  20. You will then need to move to the ‘restrictions’ tab to set up the availability of the quiz. For information on this, move to the tutorial on setting quiz availability.

​How to set quiz availability

  1. If you are not already opened the quiz options for your quiz, do so by going to the Brightspace module in which the quiz is stored, selecting ‘Assessment’ from the navbar, then choosing quizzes. 
  2. Select the dropdown menu next to the name of the quiz, and choose edit.
  3. Go to the restrictions tab.
  4. Note the ‘Hide from Users’ checkbox. By default, this is ticked. Unticking this is one way that you can publish the quiz once it’s done. See this FAQ for the other way.
  5. As with all things in Brightspace, you can set a due date, a start date and an end date.
    • The due date is when the quiz should be completed by. If the end date goes beyond this, they can still submit but it will be marked as overdue.
    • The start date is when it will become available for the students to see and complete.
    • The end date is when it will no longer be available to the students to see and complete. After the end date, they can still access feedback to the questions, but they can’t attempt the quiz.

  6. For a summative assessment, you may wish to offer a slightly larger window in which the assessment could be taken than the time it takes to do it. That’s to say, if the quiz is a two hour assessment, you might want to set the start and end date three hours apart, to allow for slightly different start times.
  7. As with all content in Brightspace, you can add Release Conditions. Leave this if you are unsure.
  8. Under ‘Optional Advanced Restrictions’, you can set a password. This will mean that the students have to enter this in order to take the quiz. This is normally left blank.
  9. Under IP Restriction, this is a way of making sure that, for example, only certain computers (i.e. in one particular room on campus) can access the quiz. If you’re not sure of this, leave it as it is.
  10. Under ‘Timing’, you can check the radio buttons either for a recommended time limit or an enforced one. Enter the number of minutes in the input box. By default, this is 120. You can also check a box if you wish users to see a clock as they do the quiz. If you select an enforced time limit, you can add a grace period and choose what happens at the end of that time limit. They could be allowed to continue working, they could be prevented from making further changes (therefore compelling them to submit), or the quiz can be automatically scored as a zero.
  11. Finally, you can add Special Access for students. If you have a Course Administrator, this is something that they can handle. Special access can mean either that only certain students see the quiz (which is useful for resubmissions) or that certain users have extra concessions. Different students can be granted different concessions. Special access options will allow the following modifications: 
    • different due dates, start dates or end dates
    • a different recommended or enforced time limit (including a grace period if necessary)
    • different behaviour at the end of a grace period. 
    • a different number of attempts.
  12. Click ‘save’ to store these options.
  13. Before you publish the quiz, you may need to change some further options about the number of attempts, and whether the quiz grades automatically. To do that, move to the tutorial on how quizzes should be assessed.



How to choose the right assessment settings for a quiz

This tutorial assumes that you have already set up your questions and the actual content of the quiz – see this tutorial if you have not.

There is also a separate tutorial for how you set the availability and special access for the quiz.

  1. If you are not already opened the quiz options for your quiz, do so by going to the Brightspace module in which the quiz is stored, selecting ‘Assessment’ from the navbar, then choosing quizzes.
  2. Select the dropdown menu next to the name of the quiz, and choose edit.
  3. Go to the assessment tab.
  4. The first checkbox is for quizzes that should be automatically graded. This is a good idea if your quiz consists only of the types of question that Brightspace can score automatically. See ‘types of question’ for more information. If you have some longer written answers or you want to review answers before students get a score, it’s preferable not to tick this box.
  5. The quiz can be associated with a grade item. If you have a course administrator, this is something that they would normally handle.
  6. If the quiz scores automatically and is associated with a grade item, ticking the box under ‘Auto export to grades’ will mean that their score goes straight into the gradebook, where summative scores are kept. The Student View preview will govern what they then see in their gradebook. If you’re unsure, leave this.
  7. Ticking the box under ePortfolio artefacts will mean that they can add the result of the quiz to their ePortfolio if they use it. It won’t hurt to tick this box.
  8. Under ‘Attempts’, you can choose how many attempts they are allowed.
  9. You can choose how their score is calculated based on the attempts. You can choose their highest score, lowest score, average score, first score, or last score.
  10. You can also grant additional attempts conditional on the score of a previous attempt. Leave these as blank if they are not needed.
  11. Click ‘save’ to store all of this.

Next, you will probably need to set up what the student sees when they submit their assignment. Move to the tutorial for this to continue.


How to decide what a student sees when they submit a quiz

This tutorial assumes that you have already set up your questions and the actual content of the quiz – see this tutorial if you have not.

There is also a separate tutorial for how you set the availability and special access for the quiz.

For information on setting up automatic grading and the number of attempts allowed, see this tutorial.

Once you’re happy with all of those, look at these steps to determine what a student sees when they submit a quiz.

  1. If you are not already opened the quiz options for your quiz, do so by going to the Brightspace module in which the quiz is stored, selecting ‘Assessment’ from the navbar, then choosing quizzes.
  2. Select the dropdown menu next to the name of the quiz, and choose edit.
  3. Go to the Submission Views tab.
  4. By default, students will see a message that says “your quiz has been submitted successfully”. They will also see the score for their autograded questions (though it won’t tell them which questions were right or wrong, or give them any feedback). All of this can be changed. To edit the default behaviour, select the link for Default View.
  5. Under ‘Message’, you can change the sentence above. If the quiz does not grade automatically, you might wish to include something here about when they will receive feedback. It’s nearly always a good idea to tell them what to do next. Is there more content they should see, for instance? Are there materials to look at that will help them reflect on their answers?
  6. Under ‘View Details’, you determine the detail of the feedback that they get. By default, ‘Show questions’ is set to ‘no’. This means that they will only see a score, but no information about where they went right or wrong. If your quiz is partly or fully automatically-graded, you may wish to show the questions. You then have the following options:
    1. Show questions answered incorrectly
    2. Show questions answered correctly
    3. Show all questions without user responses
    4. Show all questions with user responses
  7. You then can choose if you show the question answers. If you want them to re-attempt the quiz, you might not do that, for example.
  8. The ‘Show standards’ tickbox is only of use if you have used standards elsewhere in your module.
  9. Under score, the first tickbox will determine whether they see an attempt score and an overall score, if your quiz is graded automatically (in part or in full).
  10. Finally, the tickboxes in statistics will display a class average or the class distribution (i.e. the range of scores) to the student. This is not normally ticked.
  11. Finally, you can press save to store these options.
  12. Optional: If you’re being more advanced, you can also add additional views that display under certain conditions. For example, an additional view could:
    1. Display only during certain times
    2. Display only for certain attempts (i.e. the first attempt)
    3. Display only if the score is in a certain range
    4. Display only for a certain amount of time after submission.
      The rest of the options are the same as editing the standard view. Once you’re happy with any additional views, select ‘Save’.


If you have worked through all of the guides mentioned at the start of this set of instructions, then you are probably ready to publish the quiz. If that’s the case, save and exit and all of the information you have input will take effect. If you set an active date, then the quiz will automatically publish on that date.


How to decide which question type you need

Once you're ready to start building your quiz, you will need to think about which question types you need. Below you'll find information about your options. The questions are listed in a slightly different order on Brightspace, but below I have grouped them based on how they behave and the implications for how easily they can be graded automatically. 

Questions that grade automatically

With the following question types, Brightspace can easily grade automatically and, if the answers were set up correctly, the student should easily get the mark for the correct answer. Click the name of the question to learn more about it.

This question type is very straightforward. You can still add a hint, though this will only display if hints have been allowed for the quiz.
If you wanted a question with answers along the lines of ‘True / False / Impossible to tell’, you would need to use a multiple choice question instead.

This is for when you have several choices, but only one is correct. Handily, you can randomise the answers for each student. This makes it harder for people to ask each other for answers if you’ve used enumeration (i.e. “a/b/c”). It also makes it slightly harder for student to breeze through if they redo the quiz.
If you want students to be able to select more than one correct answer, you will need the ‘multi select’ question type.

This is where it begins to get a bit more complicated. At least one of the options must be correct for this question type to automatically grade, but any of the options can be correct ones. I.e. students may need to select the three correct answers from five possible options in order to get the mark.
Again, the answers can be randomised.
The grading of the question contains a bit more nuance because you can choose what happens if they get the question partly right.
You have three options:

  • All or nothing (they score 0 unless they select only the correct answers without omitting any)
  • Right minus wrong (they can’t receive negative marks, so their minimum score will be 0).
  • Correct answers (Each option is worth a point. They get the mark if they correctly select or leave it. That is to say, in a question with five options, three of which are correct, there will be a total of five points).

As ever, you can give feedback for each option selected, and/or overall feedback for the question.

This type of question is excellent for things like matching terms with their definitions. It’s worth noting that you can set it up so that more than one choice result in the same match.
That’s to say, it does not have to be a simple 1:1 correspondence between a ‘choice’ and its match. It could be used as a categorising question, whereby 10 different terms have to be put into one of three categories.
The choices will appear on the right hand side, in order. The matches will appear to the left, shuffled, with a dropdown selection next to each match so that you can choose which of the matches it corresponds with.
Once again, you have options for how it should be graded.  Your three options are:

  • Equally weighted – each match constitutes the same share of the overall mark for the question (including a fraction of ‘1’ if only one mark is available). They therefore get a score which reflects the percentage of matches that they chose correctly.
  • All of nothing – they need to get every match correct to score all of the points for this question.
  • Right minus wrong – Their wrong answers are subtracted from their correct ones. The minimum they can get is 0 – they will not receive negative remarks and be deducted points from their overall quiz score.

How do these options work out in practice? Let’s assume that there is a question that asks students to match eight capital cities to their countries. We have set the question to be worth eight points, and they are correct with six of their matches. What would they score under each of the grading options?

  • Equally weighted – they would score 6/8. Each correct choice is one eighth of the total, therefore they score six out of eight.
  • All or nothing – they would score 0/8.
  • Right minus wrong – they would score 4/8. Six answers were correct. Two were wrong. 6 – 2 = 4, so they come away with half of the marks.

An ordering question allows you to put in a number of words, phrases or paragraphs which the student must then place in the correct order. The options will appear randomised when a student takes the test.
Ordering questions can have a hint, as well as feedback for each of the items that needed to be ordered. As normal, you can also give overall question feedback.
The scoring options are the same as with matching questions:

  • Equally weighted – each match constitutes the same share of the overall mark for the question (including a fraction of ‘1’ if only one mark is available). They therefore get a score which reflects the percentage of matches that they chose correctly.
  • All of nothing – they need to get every match correct to score all of the points for this question.
  • Right minus wrong – Their wrong answers are subtracted from their correct ones. The minimum they can get is 0 – they will not receive negative remarks and be deducted points from their overall quiz score.

It’s worth bearing in mind that with an ordering question, getting one in the wrong place makes it likely that multiple others are in the wrong place. You will want to consider this in both the points that you attribute to the question, the difficulty level (if you’re using these) and the scoring method.

Questions that grade automatically, but with a couple of caveats

The following question types can be graded automatically, but will be dependent on you making allowances for possible errors that students might make, such as typos.

For example, if the correct answer is “stalactites”, but the student writes “stalagtites”, they will not get the mark unless you’ve told Brightspace also to accept “stalagtites”. You can pre-empt errors that you want to allow by inputting as many possible correct answers as you want, but unless the student types one of those exactly, they won’t get the mark.

You can tell it not to be case-sensitive, though.

Again, click the name of the question to see an explanation.

Short answer questions work for questions where a student will need to type a very brief (generally no more than two words) answer. Whether they get the points or not depends on whether you’ve anticipated what their correct answer might look like. For instance, if the answer is ‘cheddar’, a student would not automatically get the point if they wrote ‘cheddar cheese’. In an example like this, you’d want both ‘cheddar’ and ‘cheddar cheese’ to be considered correct. You’d also need to consider whether spelling mistakes, like ‘chedder’, should be accepted.

You can decide if their answer needs to be case sensitive or not. The answer could also be a regular expression, if needed.

Because of these considerations, you should consider whether you definitely want a short answer question, or you’d rather that they chose the correct answer from suggestions using a multiple choice question.

The more possible answers a student could give, the less advisable it is to use a short answer question. You’d have to anticipate a much wider range of potentially correct answers.
If you do opt for short answer questions, you should check the student responses once they’ve completed the quizzes. If they put any answers in which were deemed incorrect and you feel that they should have been accepted, you should add their answer to the accepted answers.

You are able to subsequently have any attempts regraded to reflect this.

If you have chosen more than one blank, you will have an option to decide whether they receive a share of the points for each correct answer, or whether it’s all or nothing. If you’re doing this, you might want to consider the ‘multi short answer’ question, which is more geared up towards these.

This works very similarly to a short answer question, but you can specify how many answers the student should give. As mentioned before, you will need to anticipate all responses that should be interpreted as correct for each answer.

Imagine, for example, the question “what are the toppings on a Hawaiian pizza”? Broadly, the answers would be ‘tomato’, ‘ham’, ‘cheese’ and ‘pineapple’. However, you’d need to provide for the students answering with things like ‘tomatoes’ and ‘mozzarella’. You may also need to account for typos such as ‘mozarella’ or ‘pine apple’.

This is why it’s important to consider which question type will work best in practice, and to review the answers (at least to begin with) so that you can be sure that the auto-grading is behaving as you need it to.

This type of question works identically to ‘short answer’ and ‘multi short answer’ from a technical point of view. The only difference is that you can create blanks which appear within a sentence or paragraph that you type.

Questions that do not grade automatically

The following question type cannot be graded automatically. You’ll have to mark this one yourself, so students wouldn’t get their full quiz mark until you’ve graded this question and published the mark.

Click on the name of the question for more information.

A written response question is the only question which cannot, under any circumstances, be graded automatically. This type of question is intended for longer responses which a lecturer or examiner would have to read before allocating marks.

If a written response question is used for a summative exam – i.e. a ‘grade item’ exists for it in Brightspace and it pulls through to the gradebook – you would need to mark this question before releasing the full grade and feedback for the quiz.

It is possible, if you want, for students to see the results for the questions on which they were automatically graded before you mark the written response questions.

You have a few useful options when creating this kind of question. As usual, you can create a hint. You can also input some initial text that the students will see as a sentence starter. You can create an answer key visible to the marker, which well help them evaluate the response.

If you enable the HTML editor, students could respond with more media, such as audio or video.

Finally, the ‘Custom response box size’ gives the student a suggestion of the length of response that you’re looking for (though you will want to specify this in your question).

Mathematical questions

Finally, two of the question types relate to more advanced options for mathematical questions. You can get a degree of random question generation based on a formula, and set acceptable margins of error. Click on the name of the question for more information:

This type of question is aimed for assessing mathematical knowledge, but allows you to generate questions based on a formula so that numbers differ each time someone sits a test.

D2L explain this in more detail here.

On a basic level, let’s assume that we want to test addition up to 10.

The question is written as: What is {x} + {y}? – This means that, when Brightspace runs the quiz, it will generate values for x and y based on the parameters that we set below.

We input the formula as {x} + {y} – This means that Brightspace will get the correct answer by adding x and y, and will grade the student’s answer accordingly.

Under variables, we set ‘x’ to have a minimum value of 0 and a maximum value of 5, with 0 decimal places (i.e. it will be a whole number).

We also set ‘y’ with a minimum of 0 and a maximum of 5, also with 0 decimal places.
This means that, when Brightspace runs the question in the quiz, the student will be assessed on anything from 0+0, all the way up to 5+5, with all possible variations in between, such as 1 + 4, 2 + 5 or 4 + 3.

That example is the simplest possible example, but there are many more options. The formula can encompass all of the mathematical operations, as well as powers, square roots, sines, cosines and more.

You can also allow a margin of error, either in absolute terms or as a percentage.

It’s also possible to input the units that the student should be using, e.g. ‘litres’ or ‘l’. If you do this, you can then specify what percentage of the mark should be lost if the number is correct but the units are wrong.

If you are expecting students to show their working out, it is better to provide a written response question. You could even do this immediately below the arithmetic question to combine the two.

The Significant Figures question type works along similar lines to the arithmetic question type, but is geared up towards assessing whether students have used the right amount of significant figures and have calculated and rounded correctly.