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Creating a quiz

Canvas has two quiz features. Here you will find information about which one you should use when, how to create a quiz and what external settings are available and can be good to use. For example, the number of attempts allowed, limit for passing, and how to save time when creating a quiz.

Which quiz tool should be used?

Restore course content

When changes in course content go wrong, courses accidently gets reset or course materials are deleted, there are ways to restore and undo changes in Canvas. You can do a lot yourself, but more complicated recoveries require the involvement of the IT support.

Read more about Restore and recover course content in Canvas .

New Quizzes

New Quizzes are recommended if you are going to learn a quiz function from scratch and are going to reuse your quizzes, as this will be the only quiz tool in the future. This has more question types like Hot Spot, Categorisation, Matching and Ordering. It also has more moderation and external setting features. It's easier to share material between teachers and to handle item bank questions. Read more about the question types in New Quizzes.

Classic Quizzes

Classic Quizzes is Canvas' first quiz feature that is currently being replaced by New Quizzes. If you are already familiar with its functionality, you can continue to use it, but if you are going to learn a quiz function from scratch, it is recommended that you spend the time on New Quizzes. At the moment, however, this is the better choice if you need security from 3rd-party tools or CSVs for student response analysis.


Most of the time the quiz functionality in Canvas is enough, but if a more advanced quizzing tool is needed, KTH also has access to Möbius. Möbius uses Maple's computational possibilities and is therefore better suited when you want to create tasks where numerical calculations are an important factor. Möbius takes time to learn, so if Canvas quizzes are enough for you it's better to use them. Learn more about Möbius .

Change a Classic quiz to New Quizzes

If you have older quizzes in Classic Quizzes and want to switch to the new format, do as follows:

  1. Select Quizzes in the course navigation menu. To the right of each quiz, there are three points that will give you different action options when clicked.
  2. Select "Migrate". The questions have now been transferred to the new quiz engine. You should go through the quiz questions, however, as some formatting such as line breaks may have changed. Groups with questions can't be transferred, the questions need to be individual.

Creating a quiz

It is always good to create new quizzes in your sandbox and then when they are ready, copy them to the course room they are to be used in. In the course navigation menu on the left of your sandbox or in each course room, select "Quizzes" then choose to create a new quiz by pressing "+ Quiz". You can now choose which quiz function you want to use, New quizzes or Classic Quizzes. On the following pages you will find more detailed information from the Canvas Community on how to create a new Quiz with New Quizzes  and a new quiz with Classic Quizzes .

When you have created a quiz, you must create questions and set the settings for the quiz. In the linked page you can read more about how to create questions  and below you can read more about how to arrange the settings. There is also a guide for how a quiz is recommended to be adjusted and used for examinations .

When are quizzes good pedagogical tools?

  • As a course component in a course to encourage students to continuous studies.
  • As an optional course component where the student gets the possibility to practice questions created by the teacher.
  • During or after a lecture to see what the students have learned.
  • Before a lecture to find out what prior knowledge the students have.

Creating a quiz takes time

It often takes a surprising amount of time to formulate questions that will allow the student to learn or test the intended knowledge. It is therefore advantageous to collaborate, share your questions with colleagues and, above all, to reuse already tested and improved material. Share your quizzes with each other, via Canvas Commons or the item banks, and use Canvas Commons to find other universites' quizzes.

Confidentiality and quizzes

It is possible to invoke confidentiality for examinations that are part of a question bank. The digital exam becomes a public document as soon as the exam is taken, but can be covered by confidentiality if it is standardized. There is support for this in the Public Access to Information and Secrecy Act (Offentlighets- och sekretesslagen, OSL), ch. 17, § 4: ”Sekretess gäller för uppgift som ingår i eller utgör underlag för kunskapsprov eller psykologiskt prov under en myndighets överinseende, om det kan antas att syftet med provet motverkas om uppgiften röjs” (roughly) ”Secrecy applies to information that is part of or forms the basis for a knowledge test or psychological test under the supervision of an authority, if it can be assumed that the purpose of the test is counteracted if the information is disclosed”

As long as the same exam documents are used, it is possible to invoke confidentiality for the information in these.

The following are not covered by the possibility of invoking confidentiality:

  • Database questions that are unique to an examination opportunity, i.e. not standardized.
  • Database questions that are not included in the examination, and thus not the basis for the student's grade.

Quiz settings

On the following pages you will find information from the Canvas Community on how to set settings for New Quizzes  and settings for Classic quizzes . Below is information on recommendations for some of the settings that can be made.

Number of attempts

How many attempts a student should generally receive in a quiz depends on the circumstances surrounding the quiz.

  • If the quiz is an exam they should only get one attempt.
  • If the quiz is an exam part that the students should learn from, they should get at least two attempts.
  • If the quiz is only for the students to practice and learn from, then it is good to have endless attempts, so that the student really gets the opportunity to practice.
  • If the quiz changes values in calculation data or questions when restarted, more attempts are even better to use.
  • When using multiple choice questions with only two options, such as True or False questions it is appropriate that the students get only one attempt to pass the quiz. In the second attempt, the student knows which answer is correct, provided that he has seen feedback after the submission of the quiz.

Limit for pass

Diagram showing the probability of guessing correctly on 20 questions with one correct answer.
The diagram shows the probability that a student with one attempt on the quiz guesses correctly on several multiple choice questions.

When you adjust the limit for passing you should consider how many points a student who guesses is likely to get. Assume that you have a quiz with only multiple choice questions with one correct answer. The quiz contains 20 questions with four answer options. What is the probability that a student guesses the correct answer for some of the questions? The probability is not that big, already at around eight, nine questions, the probability of guessing right is almost zero. Brett P Foley describes in the article "Getting Lucky: How Guessing Threatens the validity of Performance Classifications" how far a student can manage with only guesses to pass a quiz. The diagram here shows the probability that a student with one attempt to pass the quiz guesses correctly in several "Multiple choice" questions where the incorrect answers are well-formulated and as probable as the correct answer. The pass limit for a quiz with twenty questions should according to the diagram not be less than 9 correctly answered questions, but the student's result does not have to be 100 % correct for indicating that the student masters the quiz subject.

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Last changed: Sep 15, 2021