No matter what you're teaching, it can be valuable for you and your learners to assess how well they understand a concept or to track how much they've progressed. Points are optional, but consider employing grades as an indicator of growth (see Measuring for Genius or Growth on our blog).
The purpose of this article is to help jump-start you into building assessments with concrete examples, but not to limit your creativity. We'll share the various assessment types that Pathwright supports, then give a few examples of how these assessments might be used in a course. However, our unique Blocks-based builder lets you mix-and-match assessments with all of our other content types, so the options are limitless. We'd love to see what you create!
Below, we'll cover how to create a basic quiz, test, or exam; a survey; or a reflection or self-check. First, here's a quick survey of the types of assessments we support with links to more detailed "how-to" information for each one.
Types of assessment Blocks
- Multiple Choice - use for both multiple choice and for true/false
- Checkboxes - use for multi-select questions, where more than one answer may be selected
- Matching Text - match a term and its definition or associated idea
- Paragraph Question - use for short answer, long answer, essay, and fill-in-the-blank*
- Learner-annotated Image - learner drops points on a given image and labels them*
👉*The Paragraph Question and Learner-annotated Image Blocks cannot be machine-graded for accuracy. If these are included on an auto-graded step, points will be awarded automatically for completion. Otherwise, they will require manual review or grading by a staff member.
Also see these additional assessment types:
- Submit - require learners to submit a file or link
- Tasklist - require learners to check off all tasks on the list before they can proceed; ideal for keeping learners accountable for real-world tasks
- Discussions - invite learners to share their responses with others enrolled in the same cohort for peer review and feedback
How to add an assessment
Here are the basic steps for creating any quiz or exam type assessment:
- Add a step to your course and name it descriptively. Select the "Take" action verb from the drop down menu.
- Select the step to open it and add content.
- Select from 35+ types of content Blocks to build your assessment.
- Open the step settings (gear icon) to select your preferred settings.
- Optionally use Learner Preview mode to view and take your assessment as a learner. This is an easy way to do a final proofread your step and make sure all the questions and settings are exactly the way you want them.
- Publish the step to share it with your learners.
Planning your assessment
Here are some considerations before you start...
1. Auto-grading or manual grading?
How do you plan to grade your assessment? Should staff members be notified to review this step manually or is auto-grade a requirement?
If the assessment should be auto-graded, consider using entirely multiple-choice, checkboxes (multi-select), and matching, since these can all be auto-graded. If you add paragraph (long answer) questions or learner-annotated image questions, these will require manual review or else will be assigned full points for completion. If there is both an auto-graded section and a manually graded section, consider splitting the assessment into two or more steps.
Here's an example of a longer assessment that is split across multiple steps:
👉If you need to manually grade one or more steps and you do not want to allow learners to complete the course before they receive a satisfactory grade, you can add a password-locked step at the end of the course. Learners will not be able to unlock the final step and complete the course until you finish all manual grading and provide the password. You'll find the password option under the step settings.
Here's an example of a final, password-lock step:
2. Points or no points?
Points are entirely optional, but used carefully, they can provide appropriate incentive and aid in tracking progress. Points will be distributed evenly between questions on a step, so the value of each question is the total points for the step / number of questions.
If you want to assign different point values to different types of questions, this is another good case for splitting the assessment across multiple steps.
3. Required completion, minimum passing scores, and retakes
Should learners be required to complete this assessment with a certain grade in order to earn completion on the course (and to download the certificate of completion, if applicable)?
If you make the step optional, learners will be able to skip the assessment and still earn completion for the course. If you make the step required, learners will have to complete the step, and meet any minimum passing score that you've set, in order to complete the step and finish the course. See this article on step settings for more details.
👉Note that if you require a step, set a minimum passing score, and disable retakes, then the learner will have one chance to take the assessment and earn a passing score. If they do not pass, then they will be unable to complete the step (and unable to complete the course) without intervention by a staff member. Staff can manually reset the step for the learner to provide an additional retake. Consider writing out instructions for the step telling learners to contact a staff member if they need another chance to retake the assessment.
Example #1: Quiz or Test/Exam
Here are some elements you might want to include on a quiz or test.
Optional, but a nice touch. Use the Title Block with or without an underlying image.
Consider adding instructions to let learners know about important guidelines that you've set up for the quiz or test. For example, is it open-book? Will they be able to retake it? Use a Text Block to add instructions.
If you have a question that refers to an image or illustration, enter the image in an Image Block just above the question.
Add all your questions. You can optionally intersperse images, spacers, or dividers between questions, or add additional instructions for a grouping of questions.
Program the "correct" answers for auto-graded assessments. For Multiple-choice and Checkboxes, select the checkmark to the right of the answer option to indicate the correct answer or answers. For Matching, make sure the matches are lined up across each row.
Optionally add answer feedback. You'll be able to choose when to display the answer feedback to learners under the step settings.
Open the gear icon at the top of the step to select the step settings. Make sure you understand how all the settings interact and that you communicate any important instructions to your learners. You can learn more here.
A rubric for graders
If others will grade the assessment, consider providing a rubric or grading notes. This can be added as a staff-only Note (not visible to learners), and will show up to staff who are reviewing the assignment from the Review tool. Learn more here.
Example #2: Survey
A survey can be created by using the same assessment Blocks, but not setting any "correct" answers. Leave all the checkmarks for indicating "correct" answers unmarked.
Use Checkboxes for questions that may have more than one answer, Multiple-Choice if you want learners to select only the best answer, and Paragraph for open-ended questions.
You can make the step optional under the step settings by toggling off "Require completion." This will allow learners to skip the step if they don't want to take the survey.
Example #3: Reflection or self-assessment
Since assessment Blocks can be used on literally any step in your course, why not add low-risk self-assessments or ungraded personal reflections throughout the course?
For example, instead of placing a video by itself on a step (just hoping that learners attentively watch it and take something away from it), add a Paragraph Question above or below the video and ask a thought-provoking question. Learners will need to submit their answer before they can complete the step and move forward.
Reflection questions of various types can be added practically anywhere in the course. Consider "chunking" longer videos or readings into shorter segments and adding reflection questions in between the segments to keep learners interacting more frequently. Or create a workbook-style step by interspersing readings with Paragraph Blocks where learners can respond.
Only the learner himself and staff can view the learner's response to an assessment question. To make learning more visible, encourage learners to copy-paste their reflection responses into a class discussion to share with others and get feedback. Learners can also upload images and other files to a discussion to share with the class.
Have you created a unique assessment that you'd like to show us? Have an idea but not sure how to execute it? Send a message, link, and/or screenshot to firstname.lastname@example.org or through the chat. We love to learn from our educators. 😊
Links to related articles
Check out these related topics for more information.
- How step resets work for the learner
- How resets/skip ahead works for staff
- How to use the review/grading tools
- How staff adjust their notifications
- How to adjust step settings
- How point values work
- How to add a rubric or notes for graders
- How to get a download of scores
- How to use math language in an assessment
- How to add surveys