Using Assessments in OWL

You can use the Assessments tool to create online quizzes, surveys and self-tests. You can also create question databases for use in future quizzes, as well as control who has access to the Assessment, when it is available and for how long. The following manualette will provide information on:

Setting Up An Assessment

To create an Assessment, first make sure you are under the BUILD tab. There are two ways to create an Assessment. You either click on the ADD CONTENT LINK found at the top of your course page, then select ASSESSMENTS and CREATE ASSESSMENT or via the Assessments inventory by clicking on ASSESSMENTS from the left-hand navigation bar and then CREATE ASSESSMENT.

If you have chosen to create your Assessment through the Assessment inventory page, you will need to add a link to your Assessment to your course page manually. To do so, navigate to your course page or folder where you would like the link to appear. Click on ADD CONTENT LINK and click on ASSESSMENTS. Choose the appropriate Assessment from the Assessments inventory and click ADD SELECTED. A link will now appear on your course page.

Regardless of method you choose, once you have clicked CREATE ASSESSMENT, the Assessment's parameter page will appear.

Enter a title for your Assessment and an optional description. By default, the Assessment is hidden from students. After you have added questions, you will need to make the Assessment visible.

Types of Assessments

There are three types of Assessments: Quiz, Survey and Self-Test.

Quizzes are tests taken online for which grades are assigned. If you are using this type of Assessment, you may want to enter a Grade Book column name in the field provided. A new column will automatically be created in your Grade Book with the name you have provided.

Surveys are anonymous online evaluations for which no grades are assigned. They are useful for obtaining feedback from your students about particular areas of your course.

Self-Tests are Assessments for which students receive grades and feedback. However, the grades are not recorded in the Grade Book. They are used specifically to gauge an individual's level of understanding of the information tested in the quiz.

Click SAVE once you have entered in your Assessment parameters.

Assessment Questions

Creating Assessment Questions

Once you have created your Assessment, either select it from the Assessments inventory page, or click on the link on your course page. Here you can create and add questions to your Assessment by clicking on the CREATE QUESTIONS link. A drop-down menu will appear with a list of all the available question types that you can create.

Question Types

Calculated Questions require students to solve a mathematical problem and allow you to input formulas and use variables in order to formulate your question.

Combination Questions require students to choose a correct answer combination from a list of possible answers which you specify.

Fill In the Blank Questions require students to fill in a blank with the appropriate missing text. You specify the blank and correct answer by enclosing the term(s) in square brackets e.g. The sky is [blue].

Jumbled Sentence Questions require students to place missing text within the correct order. Similar to Fill In the Blank Questions, you specify the text and it's correct order by using square brackets e.g. The [quick] [brown] [fox] jumped over the [lazy] [dog].

Matching Questions require students to match items presented in one list to items presented in another list. You can choose to have the answers in short or long answer format.

Multiple Choice Questions require students to choose one or more answers from a list of possible choices to a particular question.

Paragraph Questions require students to write paragraph or essay as their answer. You can control the number of characters provided by the text area to limit students' responses.

Short Answer Questions require students to write a word or short phrase for their answer.

True or False Questions require students to choose whether a particular statement is true or false.

The Question Database

You can also create questions as part of a question database. Within the database questions are not associated to any particular quiz, but exist as part of an overall question database from which you can choose your questions for each quiz. To add questions to a question database, click on GO TO QUESTION DATABASE from the main Assessments home page. Here you can create questions in any of the types noted above, and organize them into categories.

Using Question Sets

Question sets are groups of questions taken from the Question Database from which one question is randomly selected and presented to each student. This makes it difficult for individuals to share answers to online quizzes. To use question sets when creating an Assessment, you first need to create your questions within the Question Database. Once you have done so, click on the Assessment to which you would like to add the question set and then click ADD TO ASSESSMENT. A drop-down menu will appear. Select QUESTION SET. Select the number of questions from wish you which to randomly draw from and click ADD SELECTED. The Question Sets will now appear in your quiz.

Additional Assessment Parameters

After you have added questions to your Assessment, a number of new parameters and features appear under Assessment Properties that allow you to regulate the delivery of the questions, set the duration of the Assessment, as well as the timeframe within which it will be available. To access your Assessment's properties, click on the GREY DROP-DOWN ARROW beside the Assessment and select EDIT PROPERTIES. The new parameters are outlined below:


Question Delivery allows you to choose how your questions will be presented to the student. You can present them one at a time, all at once, and change whether or not your students can revisit questions. You can also choose to show the question titles or not.

Display Assessment provides you the choice of whether to open the Assessment in a new browser window, or allow your students to complete the quiz in the regular browser window.

Duration allows you to set how long the student has to to take the quiz, as well as the ability to disallow submissions after the time has expired.

Attempts provides you the ability to limit or extend the number of times a student can take a quiz. If you wish to allow your students to take a quiz more than once, you can choose to randomize questions that are drawn from a Question Set for each attempt so that the student it presented with a different quiz each time they take it. You can also set the duration for each attempt.

Student Score provides options regarding the release of student grades. Here you can choose to release the grade immediately to your student's Grade Book under a variety of conditions, or not to release their Assessment grade at all.

Statistics Release and Goals provides you with the options to release the grade statistics for the Assessment to your students and to assign specific goals to the Assessment, respectively.

Clicking on the GREY ARROWS beside the items under MORE OPTIONS reveals even more parameters that you can set:

Dates Available allows you to specify the dates that the Assessment will be available to your students. You can also choose to create an entry in the Calendar Tool that alerts your students to the upcoming quiz.

Results Properties allows you to set how the student will see their results after completing the quiz.

Security Properties are often left undefined, however, should you need to you can assign a password and IP address restrictions on users taking the quiz.

Submission Properties allows you to customize a message that your students will see after completing the Assessment, as well as specify an email address to which all submissions will be sent.

Custom Instructions provides a text box where you can input customized instructions for the Assessment.


Setting Selective Release Criteria for Assessments

Although you can set the dates the Assessment is available to your students in the properties of the Assessment, this effectively only changes whether or not the Assessment is accessible and applies to all of your students individually. In other words, each student will still be able to see the Assessment before and after the specified dates, only they will not be able to complete it.

To restrict access or automate when your students will actually see the Assessment, you use OWL's Selective Release tool. To set the release criteria, click on the GREY DROP-DOWN ARROWS beside the Assessment and click on SET RELEASE CRITERIA.

Here you can set criteria based on date, membership, group membership, and grades. To learn more about using Selective Release, see our Selective Release manualette.