Designing Formative Quizzes

Formative quizzes can be used to:

  • Guide course instruction
  • Gage student understanding of concepts

Frequent quizzes can serve as a learning tool for students and feedback for instructors.

student learning

General Recommendations

  • Assure that quiz questions are valid, by mapping them to the course content and level of taxonomy set in module objectives.
  • Avoid trick questions. You don’t want to confuse your students. If students are consistently missing a question, then evaluate it and find out why.
  • Use scenarios to assess higher-level objectives.
  • Create a bank of questions containing at lease twice as may questions as will be used for each quiz, this will allow for quizzes to be randomized for each student.
  • If using question feedback, provide specific reasons for why an answer is incorrect.
  • Weight your questions in the Quiz. For example: weight Multiple Choice questions as a point or two; Multiple answer questions can receive a point for each correct answers; matching questions should receive a point for each item being matched in the question.
  • Set review options to control when students view various information about the Quiz attempt, such as feedback.
  • Have question order randomized within a Quiz so that it varies based on attempt and between students.
  • Randomize the order that the correct answer(s) and distracters display within a question. Many people have a tendency to place correct answers in the same position. Allow the system to reorder answers automatically.


Word Usage Guidelines

  • Avoid creating question distracters that are obviously incorrect. Well-written distracters should be plausible.
  • Make the length of distracters similar to that of the correct answer. The correct answer is typically longer. Keep this in mind when writing distracters.
  • Don’t be afraid to add images and graphics into an assessment question.
  • Beware of the use of the word “which.” Oftentimes, questions are written incorrectly when making use of it. For example, it is incorrect to say “Which is the best…” as it should be written “Which method is the best…”
  • Avoid the use of the word “not” in questions. For example, “Which of the following items is NOT…”
  • Avoid using the words only, never, and always within questions, especially in True/False statements.
  • Avoid the use of the option “All of the above” and “All of these.” when using randomization.

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