Creating a quiz in Moodle

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Getting started with Moodle tests

To start with, we need to select a topic or theme for our test. We are going to choose general science, since the subject matter will be easy to incorporate each of the item types we have seen previously.

Now that we have an idea of what our topic is going to be, we will get started in the creation of the test. We will be creating all new questions for this test, which will give us the added benefit of a bit more practice in item creation. So, let’s get started and work on making our first real test!

Let’s open our Moodle course, go to the Activity drop-down, and select Create a new Quiz. Once it has been selected, we will be taken to the Quiz creation page and we’ll be looking at the General section.

The General section

Here need to give the test a name that describes what the test is going to cover. Let’s call it ‘General Science Final Exam’ as it describes what we will be doing in the test.

The introduction is also important.this is a test students will take and an effective description of what they will be doing is an important point for them. It helps get their minds thinking about the topic at hand, which can help them prepare, and a person who is prepared can usually perform better. For our introduction, we will write the following, ‘This test will see how much you learned in our science class this term. The test will cover all the topics we have studied, including, geology, chemistry, biology, and physics. In this test, there are a variety of question types (True/False, Matching, and others). Please look carefully at the sample questions before you move on. If you have any questions during the test, raise your hand. You will have ‘x’ attempts with the quiz.

We have now given the test an effective name and we have given the students a description of what the test will cover. This will be shown in the Info tab to all the students before they take the test, and if we want in the days running up to the test. That’s all we need to do in this section.


In this section, we need to make some decisions about when we are going to give the test to the students. We will also need to make a decision about how long we will give the students to complete the test. These are important decisions, and we need to make sure we give our students enough time to complete the test. The default Timing section is shown in the next screenshot:

Moodle 1.9 Testing and Assessment

We probably know when our final exam will be. So, when we are creating the test, we can set the date that the test will be available to the students and the date it will stop being accessible to them. Because this is our final exam, we only want it to be available for one day, for a specified time period.

We will start by clicking on the Disable checkboxes next to Open the Quiz and Close the Quiz dates. This step will enable the date/time drop-down menus and allow us to set them for the test. For us, our test will start on March 20, 2010 at 16:55 p.m. and it will end the same day, one hour later. So we will change the appropriate menus to reflect our needs. If these dates are not set, a student in the course will be able to take the quiz any time after you finish creating it.

We will need to give the students time to get in class, settle down, and have their computers ready. However, we also need to make sure the students finish the test in our class, so we have decided to create a time limit of 45 minutes. This means that the test will be open for one hour, and in that one hour time frame, once they start the test, they will have 45 minutes to finish it. To do this, we need to click on the Enable checkbox next to the Time Limit (minutes) textbox. Clicking on this will enable the textbox, and in it we will enter 45. This value will limit the quiz time to 45 minutes, and will show a floating, count-down timer in the test, causing it to auto-submit 45 minutes after it is started. It is good to note that many students get annoyed by the floating timer and its placement on the screen. The other alternative is to have the test proctor have the students submit the quiz at a specified time.

Now, we have decided to give a 45 minute time limit on the test, but without any open-ended questions, the test is highly unlikely to take that long. There is also going to be a big difference in the speed at which different students work. The test proctor should explain to the students how much time they should spend on each question and reviewing their answers.

Under the Time Limit (minutes) we see the Time delay between first and second attempt and Time delay between later attempts menus. If we are going to offer the test more than once, we can set these, which would force the students to wait until they could try again. The time delays range from 30 minutes to 7 days, and the None setting will not require any waiting between attempts on the quiz. We are going to leave these set to None because this is a final exam and we are only giving it once.

Once all the information has been entered into the Timing section, this dialog box is what we have, as shown in the next screenshot:

Moodle 1.9 Testing and Assessment


Here, we will make some decisions about the way the quiz will look to the students. We will be dividing questions over several pages, which we will use to create divisions in the test. We will also be making decisions about the shuffle questions and shuffle within questions here.

Firstly, as the test creators, we should already have a rough idea of how many questions we are going to have on the test. Looking at the Questions Per Page drop-down menu, we have the option of 1 to 50 questions per page. We have decided that we will be displaying six questions per page on the test. Actually, we will only have five questions the students will answer, but we also want to include a description and a sample question for the students to see how the questions look and how to answer them’ thus we will have six on each page.

We have the option to shuffle questions within pages and within questions. By default, Shuffle Questions is set to No and Shuffle within Questions is set to Yes. We have decided that we want to have our questions shuffled. But wait, we can’t because we are using Description questions to give examples, and if we chose shuffle, these examples would not be where they need to be. So, we will leave the Shuffle Questions setting at the default No. However, we do want to shuffle the responses within the question, which will give each student a slightly different test using the same questions and answers.

When the display settings are finished, we can see the output shown in the next screenshot:

Moodle 1.9 Testing and Assessment


In this section, we will be setting the number of attempts possible and how further attempts are dealt with. We will also make a decision about the Adaptive Mode.

Looking at the Attempts allowed drop-down menu, we have the option to set the number from 1 to 10 or we can set it to Unlimited attempts. For our test, we have already decided to set the value to 1 attempt, so we will select 1 from the drop-down menu.

We have the option of setting the Each Attempt Builds on the Last drop-down menu to Yes or No. This feature does nothing now, because we have only set the test to have a single attempt. If we had decided to allow multiple attempts, a Yes setting would have shown the test taker all the previous answers, as if the student were taking the test again, as well as indicating whether he or she were correct or not. If we were giving our students multiple attempts on the test, but we did not want them to see their previous answers, we would set this to No.

We are also going to be setting Adaptive mode to No. We do not want our students to be able to immediately see or correct their responses during the test; we want the students to review their answers before submitting anything.

However, if we did want the students to check their answers and correct any mistakes during the test, we would set the Attempts Allowed to a number above 1 and the Adaptive Mode to Yes, which would give us the small Submit button where the students would check and correct any mistakes after each question. If multiple attempts are not allowed, the Submit button will be just that, a button to submit your answer.

Here is what the Attempts section looks like after we have set our choices:

Moodle 1.9 Testing and Assessment


In this section, we will set the way Moodle will score the student. We see three choices in this section, Grading method, Apply penalties, and Decimal digits in grades; however, because we have only selected a single attempt, two of these options will not be used.

Grading Method allows us to determine which of the scores we want to give our student after multiple tries. We have four options here: Highest Grade, Average Grade, First Attempt, and Last Attempt. Highest Grade uses the highest grade achieved from any attempt on any individual question. The Average Grade will take the total number of tries and grades and average them. The First Attempt will use the grade from the first attempt and the Last Attempt will use the grade from the final attempt. Since we are only giving one try on our test, this setting has no function and we will leave it set at its default, Highest Grade, because either option would give the same result.

Apply penalties is similar to Grading method, in that it does not function because we have turned off Adaptive Mode. If we had set Adaptive Mode to Yes, then this feature would give us the option of applying penalties, which are set in the individual question setup pages. If we were using Adaptive Mode and this option feature set to No, then there would be no penalties for mistakes as in previous attempts. If it were set to Yes, the penalty amount decided on in the question would be subtracted for each incorrect response from the total points available on the question. However, our test is not set to Adaptive Mode, so we will leave it at the default setting, Yes. It is important to note here that no matter how often a student is penalized for an incorrect response, their grade will never go below zero.

The Decimal digits in grades shows the final grade the student receives with the number of decimal places selected here. There are four choices available in this setting: 0, 1, 2, and 3. If, for example, the number is set to 1, the student will receive a score calculated to 1 decimal place, and the same follows for 2 and 3. If the number is set to 0, the final score will be rounded. We will set our Decimal digits in grades to 0.

After we have finished, the Grades section appears as shown in the next screenshot:

Moodle 1.9 Testing and Assessment

Review options

This sectopm is where we set when and what our students will see when they look back at the test. There are three categories: Immediately after the attempt; Later, while quiz is still open; and After the quiz is closed.

The first category, Immediately after the attempt, will allow students to see whatever feedback we have selected to display immediately after they click on the Submit all and finish button at the end of the test, or Submit, in the case of Adaptive mode. The second category, Later, while quiz is still open, allows students to view the selected review options any time after the test is finished, that is, when no more attempts are left, but before the test closes. Using the After the quiz is closed setting will allow the student to see the review options after the test closes, meaning that students are no longer able to access the test because a close date was set. The After the quiz is closed option is only useful if a time has been set for the test to close, otherwise the review never happens because the test doesn’t ever close.

Each of these three categories contains the same review options: Responses, Answers, Feedback, General feedback, Scores, and Overall feedback.Here is what these options do:

  • Responses are the student’s response to the question and whether he or she were wrong or correct.
  • Answers are the correct response to the question.
  • Feedback is the feedback you enter based on the answer the student gives. This feedback is different from the General quiz feedback they may receive.
  • General feedback are the comments all students receive, regardless of their answers.
  • Scores are the scores the student received on the questions.
  • Overall feedback are the comments based on the overall grade on the test.

We want to give our students all of this information, so they can look it over and find out where they made their mistakes, but we don’t want someone who finishes early to have access to all the correct answers. So, we are going to eliminate all feedback on the test until after it closes. That way there is no possibility for the students to see the answers while other students might still be taking the test. To do remove such feedback, we simply unclick all the options available in the categories we don’t want. Here is what we have when we are finished:

Moodle 1.9 Testing and Assessment

Regardless of the options and categories we select in the Review options, students will always be able to see their overall scores. Looking at our settings, the only thing a student will be able to view immediately after the test is complete is the score. Only after the test closes, will the student be able to see the full range of review material we will be providing.

If we had allowed multiple attempts, we would want to have different settings. So, instead of After the quiz is closed, we would want to set our Review options to Immediately after the attempt, because this setting would let the student know where he or she had problems and which areas of the quiz need to be focussed on.

One final point here is that even a single checkbox in any of the categories will allow the student to open and view the test, giving the selected review information to the student. This option may or may not be what you want. Be careful to ensure that you have only selected the options and categories you want to use.


This section is where we can increase quiz security, but it is important to note that these settings will not eliminate the ability of tech-savvy students to cheat. What this section does is provide a few options that make cheating a bit more difficult to do. We have three options in this section: Browser security, Require password, and Require network address.

The Browser security drop-down has two options: None and Full screen popup with some JavaScript security. The None option is the default setting and is appropriate for most quizzes. This setting doesn’t make any changes in browser security and is the setting you will most likely want to use for in-class quizzes, review quizzes, and others. Using the fullscreen option will create a browser that limits the options for students to fiddle things. This option will open a fullscreen browser window with limited navigation options. In addition to limiting the number of navigation options available, this option will also limit the keyboard and mouse commands available. This option is more appropriate for high-stakes type tests and shouldn’t be used unless there is a reason. This setting also requires that JavaScript is used. Browser security is more a safety measure against students pressing the wrong button than preventing cheating, but can help reduce it.

The Require password does exactly what you think it would. It requires the students to enter a password before taking the test. To keep all your material secure, I recommend using a password for all quizzes that you create. This setting is especially important if you are offering different versions of the quiz to different classes or different tests in the same class and you want to make sure only those who should be accessing the quiz can. There is also an Unmask checkbox next to the password textbox. This option will show you the password, just in case you forget!

Finally, we have the Require network address option, which will only allow those at certain IP Addresses to access the test. These settings can be useful to ensure that only students in the lab or classroom are taking the test. This setting allows you to enter either complete IP Addresses (for example. 123.456.78.9), which require that specific address to begin the test; partial IP Addresses (for example 123.456), which will accept any address as long as it begins with the address prefixes; and what is known as Classless Inter-Domain Routing (CIDR) notation, (for example 123.456.78.9/10), which only allows specific subnets. You might want to consult with your network administrator if you want to use this security option.

By combining these settings, we can attempt to cut down on cheating and improper access to our test. In our case here, we are only going to use the fullscreen option. We will be giving the test in our classroom, using our computers, so there is no need to turn on the IP Address function or require a password. When we have finished, the Security section appears as shown in the next screenshot:

Moodle 1.9 Testing and Assessment


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