Instructor Best Practices for creating a Test or Quiz

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Best Practices for Designing Tests, Exams and Quizzes

Tests and Quizzes select

Test Design

Higher frequency but lower-stakes assessments tend to be less prone to risk within the online environment than traditionally high-stakes midterm and final examination models. Instructors may thus wish to release chapter, weekly, or monthly assessments to provide for small fractions of overall course grading but equating collectively to the fraction allocated to larger assessments. You may want to refer to these resources from the Centre for Pedagogical Innovation: Designing Online Assessments.

Getting to know Tests and Quizzes

It can take a few tries for students to feel comfortable taking online tests. Both students and instructors may benefit from being introduced to assessment-taking in the online environment slowly, as issues related to user understanding, hardware, and assessment configuration can figure into overall success. For this reason, it might be beneficial to assign online, ungraded “Get to know you” or practice quizzes using Isaak-Sakai’s Tests and Quizzes tool that approximates the configuration and flow of formal assessments for the course. This will afford students the opportunity to familiarize themselves with the experience and for instructors to sample facilitation prior to any graded assessments.

The Statistics tool allows instructors to view user statistics related to the activities of both users and site resources. Before launching an online assessment, it is advisable to enable Statistics tool to provide a method of reviewing basic information about student access to assessments should any issues arise. Information about adding tools is available at the Site Info help page.

Best Practices for Students Taking Tests

Sharing this information with students might assist them with expectations and troubleshooting issues that might arise for them in taking an online test.

  1. Google Chrome or Firefox are our strong recommendations for choices of web browsers to take the quiz. Internet Edge or Explorer will cause issues with saving and submitting. Safari can have issues with images, attachments and video.
  2. Open a new session of Sakai. Do not use sessions that you opened previously during the day. Sessions have timeouts built into them and can have issues with accurate refreshing of content. The best practice is to open a private or incognito session so that there are no issues with saved browsing histories or caches.
  3. Only have one tab open of Sakai. Multiple tabs means that saving is not consistent.
  4. Take the quiz on a desktop or laptop computer. Sakai experiences on mobile devices are less consistent and effective.
  5. Save your quiz frequently but do not select “Submit” until you are satisfied with the quiz as it stands. You can save multiple times but you can only submit once. Saving means if you experience an internet interruption the chances of you being able to log in and continue with the test are higher.
  6. Set aside time to go into the test and complete it as your only task. Multitasking can lead to issues arising with the proper submission of Sakai quizzes because timeouts can occur without warning.
  7. If a test is set for a window of time (e.g. 1 hour time limit) and students have from 7am until 5pm one day to take the test, starting the test at 4:30 means you will only have 30 minutes for the test. Due dates always overrule time limits.

More questions about the Tests and Quizzes tool?

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This page is adapted from an equivalent Sakai Community help article.

The original Sakai Community help article, unedited, is available at