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Creating a question in a quiz

Here is information on what is good to think about when creating quiz questions. How to add a question and what to keep in mind when creating incorrect answers and feedback.

Questions in Canvas with New or Classic Quizzes

To create a question, you need to know what different kinds of questions you can use. Here is a list of all questions types available in New Quizzes in Canvas . There are also recommendations for how each question can be used, so even if you use Classic quizzes, the page can be good to look at. Here is the corresponding list for question types in Classic Quizzes , but only presented briefly.

In New Quizzes, press the plus button to create a new question. Further down on the linked page, you can read more on Canvas Common about how to create a new question in New Quizzes .

In Classic Quizzes, click "+ New Question" to create a new question. Further down on the linked page you can read more on Canvas Common about how to create a new question in Classic Quizzes .

What to think about in formulations

To make your quiz clear to the students, it is important that you use a clear language. If it isn't vocabulary you're testing the students in, everyone benefits from a simple language that is easy to understand. You should keep the questions reasonably long, a few sentences maximum. When formulating questions, you can, among other things, consider the following points:

  1. Avoid negations
  2. Duplicated information
  3. Question levels
  4. Examining questions

These four points are explained below.

1. Avoid negations

To make the text easy to read, you should be careful when using negations. For example, the sentence "Practice assignments before the exam should be at the same level as during the final exam" is easier to understand than "Practice assignments should not be at different levels before the exam as during the final exam".

2. Duplicated information

A common mistake when creating quizzes is that the answer to a question can be read in another question's text. One tip to avoid this is to try to have a red thread through the questions, and if you have several well-formulated but similar questions you can put them in a group/item bank so that one of them is randomized to each student's quiz.

3. Question levels

Another common mistake is that the level of the quiz does not reflect the level in the rest of the course. In order for the students to perceive the quiz as fair for assessment and / or teaching, the questions in the quiz should be as difficult as in the other teaching as well as the examination.

4. Choose the correct question type

The benefit with questions with stated answers, such as "true or false", is that they are easy to mark. But they also make it easier for the student to copy someone else's answer, than questions where the students have to type their own answers such as in Formula, Numeric, Fill in the Blank - Open Entry and Essay. Those questions are therefore to be recommended when a quiz is being used for an examination.

Creating incorrect answers

Creating incorrect answer options can be difficult, here are some simple tips. The wrong alternatives should be probable but not deceive the student by being too close to the correct answer. Look at old already completed assignments to see common incorrect answers. Let all alternatives (correct and incorrect in the same question) have the same grammar and be the same length or have the same number of significant digits.

Here are some examples of bad answer options (correct answer underlined) to illustrate why it is important that incorrect answers are designed similar to the correct ones but not too equal so that they trick the student. In the first two examples, the student gets a clear clue as to what is the correct answer and in the third example, the answers are too similar to make it possible to choose the right one even if the student knows the answer.

Examples of bad answer options

  • Ex 1: 2 / 3,1415  / 4 / 5  
  • Ex 2: Green / Red / Yellow / Blue with a faint transition to purple
  • Ex 3: 2 / 2.0 / 2,0 / 1,9999

Creating feedback

Torkel Klingberg's research* shows that relevant comments about a student's work create more study motivation than just praise. Good feedback problematise the answer and gets the students to think about follow-up questions and their answers. Less good feedback is "Not correct" or "Good" since it does not add any relevant information to the student. Feedback should contribute with information about why the answer is not correct or why the answer is good. Feedback should be designed according to the purpose of the quiz.

As a guideline for how to formulate feedback, you can think that feedback to questions in a quiz for examination should briefly and concisely tell us what is a good answer and why, as well as whether the student answered correctly or incorrectly. When you give reasonably long feedback, a few sentences at most, and in the form of explanatory text, the student who answered correctly can interpret the explanation as praise, while the one who answered incorrectly learns from the explanation.

If the quiz is used instead as a learning activity, the feedback should problematise. Those who answered wrong should be helped to think correctly, learn why the wrong answers are wrong, while those who answered correctly should receive feedback that raises new questions and thoughts on the topic.

* Torkel Klingberg (2016) Hjärna, gener & jävlar anamma - hur barn lär. Stockholm Natur och kultur.

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Last changed: Apr 20, 2021