Ensuring the Integrity of Your Quizzes and Exams


Ensuring the integrity of your quizzes and exams is crucial. However, cheating on quizzes and exams can sometimes be difficult to detect and manage — which can seem especially true when they are taken online. Fortunately, Canvas provides a variety of settings and options that can enable you to protect that integrity. For a general overview of those settings and options, the What options are available in Canvas quizzes? page of the Canvas Instructor Guide can help; for a more detailed overview of those options, read on.

Question Banks, Question Groups, and Shuffle Answers

One option to protect integrity can be to randomize the order of questions and answers that students see when taking a quiz or exam.

Question Banks can enable you to provide a selection of questions from one or several pools. The size and number of pools can enable you provide each student with a more unique exam experience. The How do I create a quiz with a question group linked to a question bank? page has detailed instructions on how to incorporate banks into a quiz or exam. Note: Updates made to bank questions do not propagate out to students once an exam or quiz has been started, nor can you currently automate giving credit for multiple answers, so question banks are not always the ideal choice. If they are still the best option for you, the How do I create a question bank in my course? page can help.

Question Groups are similar to banks in that they allow you to pull a subset of questions from a larger group. Question groups also offer another significant advantage: they allow you to randomize the order of questions that students see. The size and number of groups, along with the randomization they offer, can enable you provide each student with an even more unique exam experience. The How do I create a quiz with a question group to randomize quiz questions? page has detailed instructions on how to incorporate them into a quiz or exam. Groups do allow you to automate regrading a question to give credit for a different or multiple answers, making them a better option for most quizzes and exams.

Clicking the Shuffle Answers checkbox enables you to randomize the order of the answers that students see, providing an additional layer of protection.

Time Limit and Allow Multiple Attempts

You may also want to consider limiting how long students can access a quiz or exam, as well as how many attempts they can have.

The Time Limit checkbox and text entry field enables you to limit how long students have for each attempt at a quiz or exam. Once you check the Time Limit box, you can enter the number of minutes students should have.

The Allow Multiple Attempts checkbox allows you to control the number of attempts you want to provide students to take a quiz or exam. If you have multiple or large pools, or you have groups of questions, or if your intent is to provide students with extended practice, this option can be useful.

If you have clicked the Allow Multiple Attempts box, Canvas enables you to enter how many attempts you want students to have, as well as which quiz score to send to the Gradebook. Leaving that box unchecked limits students to one attempt.

Show One Question at a Time

You can also consider having students only see and answer one question at a time. You can even lock questions after answering, so students cannot go back and change an answer to a particular question. Click the Show one question at a time and Lock questions after answering checkboxes shown below to activate those settings. Students understandably do not find these options appealing, but they may be appropriate to implement if you have significant concerns regarding exam integrity or the sequential nature of questions in your quizzes and exams.

Let Students See Their Quiz Responses and the Correct Answers

You can support quiz and exam integrity by controlling when students can see their responses and the correct answers. The Let Students See Their Quiz Responses option defaults as checked, which allows students to see all questions, as well as the answers they chose from, as soon as they have submitted a quiz or exam. Unchecking that box prevents students from receiving that information.

If you have checked the Let Students See The Correct Answers box, students will also be able to see which answer of the ones they chose from is correct. You can add dates for when the correct answers should be shown and hidden. Note: These dates only apply to when the correct answers are shown and hidden, not the responses; if you do not want students to see both their quiz responses and answers until after a certain date, you should check those boxes manually once you are ready.

If you have given your students multiple attempts at a quiz or exam, you can also limit whether students will see their responses after each or just the last attempt.

Require an Access Code

If you will be having a quiz or exam proctored, whether in-person or online, an access code is an important option. Checking the Require an access code box allows you to set a password that students or proctors will then need to enter for the quiz or exam to be accessed.

Quiz Availability

You can limit quizzes and exams to individual students or certain sections within your course site. If you create multiple versions of a quiz or exam, this approach creates an additional layer of randomization, making each student’s assessment experience even more unique. The How do I assign a quiz to an individual student or course section? page has more information.

Hiding Scores

If you don’t want students to receive their quiz or exam score until after all students have completed it, you can use the Mute function. You will Mute the quiz or exam once it is published and then Unmute it once all students are done taking it and any question regrading is complete. The How do I mute or unmute an assignment in the Gradebook? page details this simple process.