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The quiz activity module allows trainers to design and set quizzes consisting of a large variety of Question types, including multiple choice, true-false, and short answer questions. These questions are kept in the Question bank and can be re-used in multiple quizzes. Quizzes can be configured to allow multiple attempts. Each attempt is automatically marked, and the trainer can choose whether to give feedback and/or show the correct answers.

Quiz features include:

  • Ability to store questions in categories for easy access; these groups of questions can be published to make them accessible to any quiz on the site.
  • Automatic grading for quizzes, with the option to re-grade if questions are modified.
  • Attempts can be cumulative if desired, and finished over several sessions.
  • HTML formatting, images, and a friendly tool bar for questions. 
  • Import or export questions in many file formats.
  • More than 10 question types, each with different scoring methods.

Quiz capabilities

The quiz module has a range of capabilities that allow you to create a number of learner roles:

  • View quiz information: Allows a user to view the quiz introduction but not attempt the quiz itself.
  • Attempt quizzes: Allows a user to attempt the quiz as well as view the quiz introduction.
  • Manage quizzes: Allows a user to edit and delete quizzes, editing quizzes allows the user to add and subtract questions and change the quiz settings.
  • Preview quizzes: Allows a user to preview the quiz as part of the editing process.
  • Grade quizzes manually: Allows a user to change the scores on a quiz, and manually grade quiz essay questions.
  • View quiz reports: Allows a user to see the reports detailing user responses and question statistics.
  • Delete quiz attempts: Allows a user to delete both their own and other users’ quiz attempts.
  • Ignores time limit on quizzes: A user with this capability can take as long as they want to complete a quiz.

Managing a quiz

Creating a new quiz is a two-step process. In the first step you create the quiz activity and set its options which specify the rules for interacting with the quiz. In a second step you will then edit the quiz to add questions to it.

(The video above is taken from the Getting started with quizzes course in the Totara Academy).

Create a quiz

  1. Click Turn editing on.
  2. Select 'Quiz' from the Add an activity... drop-down menu.
  3. Enter the quiz name, this appears on the course page for learners.
  4. Customise the available settings as required, see Quiz Settings to learn more.
  5. Click Save and display (or Save and return to course).

Edit a quiz

  1. Click Turn editing on.
  2. Click Edit for the quiz activity.
  3. Customise the available settings as required, see Quiz Settings to learn more.
  4. Click Save and display (or Save and return to course).

Quiz settings 

When you first set up your quiz from Add an activity > Quiz, you will get the following settings, (which can also be changed later in the Edit Settings link of the Quiz administration settings block).

General

The General settings in a quiz let you set up basic information, such as the name of the quiz, a description with guidelines for learners.

SettingDescriptionNotes
Name

This is the standard name field. This name will appear on the home page of the course, navigation menu, and other places which will show or provide links to this quiz.

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Description

Write a description for the quiz. A learner will see the introduction immediately after clicking on the quiz name. The learner will see this description before the quiz timer is started (if used) and before they click on the 'Attempt quiz' link. This is a good place to include any special instructions for taking the quiz - like the number of attempts allowed, the time limit, or any scoring rules.

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Display description on course page

You can choose to make the description visible with the activity on the course page.

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Timing

The quiz allows you adjust various settings around the quiz timings, including opening and closing times, time limits on attempts (where a countdown timer is shown in the quiz navigation block), and what happens to attempts when the time runs out (if they've not been submitted yet). 

SettingDescriptionNotes
Open the quiz

You can specify times when the quiz is accessible for people to make attempts. Before the opening time the quiz will be unavailable to learners. They will be able to view the quiz introduction but will not be able to view the questions. You can make the quiz available at different times for different groups or users in the Group or User override sections of the Quiz Administration settings block.

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Close the quiz

After the closing time, the learners will not be able to start new attempts. Answers that the learner submits after the quiz closing date will be saved but they will not be marked. Even after the quiz has closed learners will still be able to see the quiz description and review their attempts. What exactly they will see depends on the settings you choose for review options. The quiz closing time is both the last access time and the time when the quiz must be completed by. If a time limit is set, regardless of whether there is time left on the timer, the quiz closing time determines when a learner's attempt ends.

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Time limit

By default, quizzes do not have a time limit, which allows learners as much time as they need to complete the quiz. If you do specify a time limit, several things are done to try and ensure that quizzes are completed within that time:

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When time expires

This setting controls what happens if the learner fails to submit their quiz attempt before time expires. If the learner is actively working on the quiz at the time, then the countdown timer will always automatically submit the attempt for them, but if they have logged out, then this setting controls what happens.

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Submission grace period

If what to do when time expires is set to Allow a grace period to submit, but not change any responses, this is the amount of extra time that is allowed.

If a quiz closing time is set, a learner's attempt will end on or before this time, regardless of whether there is time left on the timer. Thus, if a quiz closing time is set together with a time limit of say 3 hours, it is recommended that learners are informed that they must begin their quiz attempt at least 3 hours before the quiz closing time.

You can make the quiz available last a different period of time for different groups or users in the Group or User override sections of the Quiz Administration settings block.

Grade

You can decide a number of things about the grading of a quiz, such as whether there is a certain grade required to pass, how many attempts are allowed, and if there are multiple attempts which one is used for the final grade.

SettingDescriptionNotes
Grade category

This setting controls the category in which this activity's grades are placed in the gradebook.

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Grade to pass

This setting determines the minimum grade required to pass. The value is used in activity and course completion, and in the gradebook, where pass grades are highlighted in green and fail grades in red.

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Attempts allowed

Learners may be allowed to have multiple attempts at a quiz; this can help make the process of taking the quiz more of an educational activity rather than simply an assessment. If the quiz is randomised then the learner will get a new version for each attempt. This is useful for practice purposes.

You can change the allowed number of attempts for different groups or users in the Group or User override sections of the Quiz Administration settings block.
Highest grade

The highest (best) grade in any attempt.Grading method: When multiple attempts are allowed, there are different ways you can use the grades to calculate the learner's final grade for the quiz.

  • Average grade: The average (simple mean) grade of all attempts.
  • First grade: The grade earned on the first attempt (other attempts are ignored).
  • Last grade: The grade earned on the most recent attempt only.
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Layout

How the quiz is laid out can impact the way in which learners are guided through the quiz and help indicate if questions are related to one another.

SettingDescriptionNotes
Name

New page: For longer quizzes it makes sense to stretch the quiz over several pages by limiting the number of questions per page. When adding questions to the quiz, page breaks will automatically be inserted according to the setting you choose here. However, you will also be able to move page breaks around by hand later on the editing page.

Changing this setting has no effect on questions you have already added to the quiz. The setting will only apply to questions you add subsequently. To change the page breaks in an existing quiz, you need to go to the quiz editing screen, tick the Show page breaks checkbox, then use the repaginate control.
Navigation method

When sequential navigation is enabled a learner must progress through the quiz in order and may not return to previous pages nor skip ahead. Free navigation doesn't restrict the quiz navigation.

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Section headingsYou can add Section headings to each new page. For the first page, click the edit (pencil) icon at the top and add your heading. Then for other pages, click the Add link and choose a new section heading, and then add your heading as you did for the first page. The section headings are displayed in the Quiz navigation block.-


Randomising the order questions appear

The order in which questions appear to the learner may be randomised or by ticking the Shuffle box at the top of the screen.

Where questions are in different sections (see Section headings above), each section has its own Shuffle box to tick. This means that you can mix up questions on one section, but in another section where the question order is important, you can keep them in the order you need them to display.

Question behaviour

There are a couple of different ways you can set the behaviour of questions within a quiz, this includes how to attempt interacts with the learner and how the quiz interacts with any previous attempts. 

SettingDescriptionNotes
Shuffle within questions

If enabled, the parts making up each question will be randomly shuffled each time a learner attempts the quiz, provided the option is also enabled in the question settings. This setting only applies to questions that have multiple parts, such as multiple choice or matching questions.

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How questions behave

This determines how the learner interacts with the quiz attempts. 

  • Adaptive mode and Adaptive mode (no penalties): Allows learners to have multiple attempts at the question before moving on to the next question. The question can adapt itself to the learner's answer, for example by giving some hints before asking the learner to try again.
  • Deferred feedback: Learners must enter an answer to each question and then submit the entire quiz, before anything is graded or before they get any feedback.
  • Deferred feedback  with Certainty-based marking (CBM) or Immediate feedback with Certainty-based marking (CBM): The learner does not only answer the question with CBM, but they also indicate how sure they are they got the question right. The grading is adjusted by the choice of certainty, so that learners have to reflect honestly on their own level of knowledge in order to get the best mark.
  • Interactive mode with multiple tries: After submitting one answer, and reading the feedback, the learner has to click a Try again button before they can try a new response. Once the learner answers correctly, they can no longer change their response. After the learner has got the question wrong too many times they are just graded wrong (or partially correct), shown the feedback, and can no longer change their answer. There can be different feedback after each try the learner makes.
  • Immediate feedback: Similar to interactive mode in that the learner can submit their response immediately during the quiz attempt and get it graded. However, they can only submit one response, they cannot change it later.
  • Manually graded: Used for essay questions (irrespective of what the quiz is set to) but you can now choose to have every question in the quiz manually graded, if you wish.

The question behaviours available may be set by a site administrator via the Administration block within Site administration > Plugins > Question behaviours > Manage question behaviours.

Each attempt builds on the last

If multiple attempts are allowed and this setting is set to Yes, then each new attempt contains the results of the previous attempt. This allows the learner on the new attempt to concentrate on just those questions that were answered incorrectly on the previous attempt. If this option is chosen then each attempt by a particular learner uses the same questions in the same order, independent of randomisation settings.

To show a fresh quiz on every attempt, select No for this setting.

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Making questions conditional upon other questions 

If using the Interactive with multiple tries or Immediate Feedback behaviour and with the navigation method set to Free, it is possible to make the display of a question dependent on a previous question being answered first.

The question editing page will display padlock icons to the right of each question. If you want to make a question, for example Q2, conditional upon answering Q1, then click the padlock just above Q2. When a learner accesses the quiz, they will see a message that Q2 is not available until they give a response to Q1.

Review options

This section controls what information learners will be shown when they review their past attempts at the quiz, and during the attempt in adaptive mode. It is displayed as a matrix with check boxes.

The various pieces of information that can be controlled are:

  • The attempt: Will show how the learner responded to each question.
  • Whether correct: Displays whether the learners response to each question is correct or incorrect.
  • Marks: Reveals the marks awarded to the learner and the grade for the quiz.
  • Specific feedback: Displays the feedback that the quiz creator has linked to specific responses, for each correct or incorrect answer.
  • General feedback: Displays the general feedback for the whole question as set when adding the question to the quiz. You can use the general feedback to give learners some background to what knowledge the question was testing.
  • Right answer: Reveals the correct answer to each question, whether the learner answered correctly or not.
  • Overall feedback: Displays feedback for the entire quiz as set in the quiz settings.

For each of the above items, you can determine the time frame when the learners will see them:

  • During the attempts: Is only available when How questions behave has been set to Immediate feedback‘Immediate feedback with CBM or Interactive with multiple tries. If set to one of these options then a Check button will appear below the answer and when clicked the learner will submit that response and then receive immediate feedback.
  • Immediately after the attempt: Means within 2 minutes of the learner clicking Submit all and finish.
  • Later, while the quiz is still open: Means after 2 minutes, but before the close date (if the quiz does not have a close date, this phase never ends).
  • After the quiz is closed: Means what it says (you never get here for quizzes without a close date).
     

Checking any of the boxes in the time frame row, will reveal the test to the learner. For example, to allow learners to see their quiz immediately after taking it but not later, make sure none of the boxes in Later or After rows are checked. The learner will be able to see their grade but not get into the quiz.

Appearance

SettingDescriptionNotes
Show the user's picture

If enabled, the learner's name and picture will be shown on-screen during the attempt and on the review screen, making it easier to check that the learner is logged in as themselves in an invigilated (proctored) exam.

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Decimal places in grades

This option determines how many digits will be shown after the decimal separator when the grade is displayed. A setting of 0 for example means that the grades are displayed as integers. This setting is only used for the display of grades, not for the display or marking of answers.

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Extra restrictions on attempts

SettingDescriptionNotes
Require password

If you specify a password in here then participants must enter the same password before they are allowed to make an attempt on the quiz. This is useful to give only a selected group of learners access to the quiz. 

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Require network address

You can restrict access for a quiz to particular subnets on the LAN or Internet by specifying a comma-separated list of partial or full IP address numbers. This is especially useful for a proctored (invigilated) quiz, where you want to be sure that only people in a certain room are able to access the quiz. For example: 192.168. , 231.54.211.0/20, 231.3.56.211

There are three types of numbers you can use; you can not use text based domain names like example.com.

  • Full IP addresses: Such as 192.168.10.1 which will match a single computer (or proxy).
  • Partial addresses: Such as 192.168 which will match anything starting with those numbers.
  • CIDR notation: Such as 231.54.211.0/20 which allows you to specify more detailed subnets.
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Enforced delay between attempts

You can set a time (from seconds to weeks) between the first and second attempt of a quiz. You can also (or alternatively) set a time from seconds to weeks for subsequent attempts after the second attempt. Thus, you might allow a learner to take the quiz twice immediately with no delay, but if they want to improve their score with a third attempt, they are forced to wait a week and use the time for extra revision.

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Browser security

This is by default an advanced field, visible by clicking Show advanced. The options in this section offer various ways to try to restrict how learners may try to cheat while attempting a quiz. However, this is not a simple issue, and what in one situation is considered cheating may, in another situation, just be effective use of information technology. (For example, the ability to quickly find answers using a search engine).

  • Require the use of Safe Exam Browser: The learners are prevented, as far as is possible, from using facilities like copy and paste. This option will only appear if your administrator has enabled it in the Administration block under Site administration > Development > Experimental > Experimental settings. Safe Exam Browser is a customised web browser that must be downloaded and installed on the computer that the learner uses to attempt the quiz. It restricts learner use more effectively than a pop up window option. Features include full screen without web navigation options, shortcut keys including copy and paste are disabled, and of course no ability to surf the web during an exam.
  • Full screen pop-up with some JavaScript security: There is a limit to what the quiz, which runs on a web server, can do to restrict what the learner sitting at their computer can do while attempting the quiz. However, this option does what is possible. The quiz will only start if the learner has a JavaScript-enabled web-browser. The quiz appears in a fullscreen popup window that covers all the other windows and has no course navigation controls.
This is not just at problem of technology with a technical solution. Cheating has been going on since long before computers, and while computers make certain actions, like copy and paste, easier, they also make it easier for trainers to detect cheating; for example using the quiz reports. The options provided here are not fool-proof, and while they do make some forms of cheating harder for learners, they also make it more inconvenient for learners to attempt the quizzes.

Results

Once the quiz has been attempted you can then start to look at the results. Totara offers many ways to view, filter, and analyse quiz results including viewing grades, responses (the answers given the each question), as well as statistics on questions and learners. 

Grades

The Grades table allows you to filter results by a number of criteria, including the learner, whether the attempt has been submitted, or to only show the highest attempt (if multiple attempts are allowed). The table of results can also be filtered using the column headings. Additionally, you can regrade attempts (we would recommend you do a dry regrade first) by selecting either all or particular attempts to regrade. The same select all or specific attempts method can be used to delete attempts completely. You can also export results in many different formats, including as a spreadsheet.

Responses

Very similar to above, but you can choose whether to display the response, right answer, and/or question text. 

Statistics

The statistics report really allows you to explore the performance of the quiz, to see which questions are working well and which ones might need to be adjusted.

The Quiz information report gives data on the quiz as a whole including average grades and standard deviation for the highest graded attempt (that is how much the highest attempt differed from the mean value of the other attempts). 

There is also the Quiz structure analysis report which provides data on each individual question. Particularly useful in this section are statistics like the Discrimination index, which shows whether learners who scored highly overall on the quiz did well on this particular question (the higher the number the better). 

Manual grading

Some question types (such as Essay questions) will require manual grading as it is not possible to automate marking of these questions. You can also use Manual grading to adjust grades on question that are automatically marked. By clicking on Also show questions that have been graded automatically you can access and edit grades that have been marked by the system to adjust the grades for them if you need to. 

Import quiz questions 

It is possible to import quiz questions from outside of your Totara Learn site or from another course in your site. If you wish to generate the export from this or another Totara Learn site then you will first need to see the export quiz question section below. 

To import a question:

  1. From the course you wish to import the questions to, go to Course administration >Question bank > Import in the Administration block. 
  2. Complete the import settings.
  3. Click the Import button.

You will then see a summary of any errors and the questions imported, along with a Continue button which will take you to your important questions. 

Import settings 

SettingDescriptionNotes
File format

Select the format of the file you wish to import. Choose from:

  • Aiken format: This is a simple format for importing multiple choice questions from a text file.
  • Blackboard: Enables questions saved in all Blackboard export formats to be imported via a dat or ZIP file. For ZIP files, images import is supported.
  • Embedded answers (Cloze): Enables the import of a passage of text with questions such as multiple-choice and short answer embedded within it.
  • Examview: Enables the import of questions from Examview 4 XML files. For newer versions of Examview, Blackboard format may be used.
  • Gift format: Enables multiple-choice, true-false, short answer, matching, missing word, numerical and essay questions to be imported or exported via text file.
  • Missing word format: Enables questions to be imported via text file.
  • Totara XML format: This is a Totara-specific format for importing and exporting questions.
  • WebCT format: Enables multiple-choice and short answer questions saved in WebCT's text-based format to be imported.
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 From the dropdown list choose which quiz category to import your questions to.-
Additional import options

Deide if you wish to import additional imformtion with your questions, you can slect to also:

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Imported grades must match one of the fixed list of valid grades - 100, 90, 80, 75, 70, 66.666, 60, 50, 40, 33.333, 30, 25, 20, 16.666, 14.2857, 12.5, 11.111, 10, 5, 0 (also negative values). If not, there are two options:

  • Error if grade not listed: If a question contains any grades not found in the list an error is displayed and that question will not be imported.
  • Nearest grade if not listed: If a grade is found that does not match a value in the list, the grade is changed to the closest matching value in the list.
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Stop on errorThis setting determines whether the import process stops when an error is detected, resulting in no questions being imported, or whether any questions containing errors are ignored and any valid questions are imported.
Import questions from fileThis is where you need to select (or drag and drop) the file you wish to upload.-

Export quiz questions 

You can export quiz questions (from a category), for example to share them with a colleague who might import them into another Totara Learn course or site. You might also want to use this as a method for backing up important exam questions. 

To export a question:

  1. From the course you wish to export the questions from, go to Course administration >Question bank > Export in the Administration block. 
  2. Complete the export settings.
  3. Click the Export questions to file button.

You will then see a Continue button, which will take you back to the question category. 

Export settings 

SettingDescriptionNotes
File format

Select the format of the file you wish to export to. Choose from:

  • Gift format: Gift format enables multiple-choice, true-false, short answer, matching, missing word, numerical and essay questions to be imported or exported via text file.
  • Totara XML format: This is a Totara-specific format for importing and exporting questions.
  • XHTML format: XHTML format enables all questions in the category to be exported to a single page of strict XHTML for possible use in another application.
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 From the dropdown list choose which quiz category you wish to export the questions from.-
Additional import options

Decide if you wish to export additional information with your questions, you can select to also:

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Plugin settings

You can configure the default preferences for quizzes if you are a site administrator by going to Site administration > Plugins > Activity modules > Quiz in the Administration block. 

If you tick Advanced alongside any of the quiz settings options then when configuring settings in a quiz activity they will be hidden under a Show more link.

SettingDescriptionNotes
Time limit

Default time limit for quizzes in seconds. 0 mean no time limit.

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When time expiresWhat should happen by default if a learner does not submit the quiz before time expires.-
Submission grace period

If what to do when time expires is set to Allow a grace period to submit, but not change any responses, this is the default amount of extra time that is allowed.

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Last submission grace period

If there is a problem right at the end of the quiz then servers might be slow to submit quizzes when the time runs out. You can set how long you will accept responses for after time expires, so learners are not penalised for the server being slow. However, the learner could cheat and get this many seconds to answer the quiz. You have to make a trade-off based on how much you trust the performance of your server during quizzes.

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Attempts allowedRestriction on the number of attempts learners are allowed at the quiz.-
Grading methodWhen multiple attempts are allowed, which method should be used to calculate the learner's final grade for the quiz.-
Maximum grade

The default grade that the quiz grade is scaled to be out of.

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Automatically start a new pageWhen adding questions to the quiz page breaks will automatically be inserted according to the setting you choose here.-
Navigation methodIn Free navigation, questions may be answered in any order using navigation. In Sequential, questions must be answered in strict sequence.-
Shuffle within questions

If you enable this option, then the parts making up the individual questions will be randomly shuffled each time a learner starts an attempt at this quiz, provided the option is also enabled in the question settings.

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How questions behave

Default setting for how questions behave in a quiz.

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Allow redo within an attempt

If enabled, then when learners have finished attempting particular question, they will see a Redo question button. This allows them to attempt another version of the same question, without having to submit the entire quiz attempt and start another one. This option is mainly useful for practice quizzes.

This setting only affects questions (for example not Essay questions) and behaviours (for example Immediate feedback, or Interactive with multiple tries) where it is possible for learner to finish the question before the attempt is submitted.

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Each attempt builds on the last

If multiple attempts are allowed then each new attempt contains the results of the previous attempt.

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The attempt

Choose when to display this. Options include:

  • During the attempt
  • Immediately after the attempt
  • Later, while the quiz is still open
  • After the quiz is closed
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Whether correct

Choose when to display this. Options include:

  • During the attempt
  • Immediately after the attempt
  • Later, while the quiz is still open
  • After the quiz is closed
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Marks

Choose when to display this. Options include:

  • During the attempt
  • Immediately after the attempt
  • Later, while the quiz is still open
  • After the quiz is closed
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Specific feedback

Choose when to display this. Options include:

  • During the attempt
  • Immediately after the attempt
  • Later, while the quiz is still open
  • After the quiz is closed
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General feedback

Choose when to display this. Options include:

  • During the attempt
  • Immediately after the attempt
  • Later, while the quiz is still open
  • After the quiz is closed
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Right answer

Choose when to display this. Options include:

  • During the attempt
  • Immediately after the attempt
  • Later, while the quiz is still open
  • After the quiz is closed
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Overall feedback

Choose when to display this. Options include:

  • During the attempt
  • Immediately after the attempt
  • Later, while the quiz is still open
  • After the quiz is closed
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Show the user's pictureShow the user's picture on screen during attempts.-
Decimal places in gradesNumber of digits that should be shown after the decimal point when displaying grades for the quiz.-
Decimal places in question gradesNumber of digits that should be shown after the decimal point when displaying the grade for individual questions.-
Show blocks during quiz attempts

Show blocks during quiz attempts.

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Require password

Learners must enter this password before they can attempt the quiz.

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Require network address

Learners can only attempt the quiz from these computers.

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Enforced delay between 1st and 2nd attempts

If you set a time delay here, the learner cannot start their second attempt until this much time has passed since the end of their first attempt.

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Enforced delay between later attempts

If you set a time delay here, the learner cannot start their third, fourth, or any subsequent attempts until this much time has passed since the end of their previous attempt.

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Use a 'secure' popup window for attempts

Force the attempt to open in a popup window, and use JavaScript tricks to try to restrict copy and paste, etc. during quiz attempts.

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Initial number of overall feedback fields

When creating a new quiz, provide this many blank overall feedback boxes. Once the quiz has been created, the form shows the number of fields required for the number of feedbacks in the quiz. The setting must be at least 1.

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Auto-save delay

Responses can be saved automatically during quiz attempts. The responses are saved whenever one is changed, and then after this delay. There is a trade-off: a shorter delay increases the server load, but reduces the chance that learners lose their work. If you are going to make this delay much shorter, you should change the value gradually and monitor the server load. If the load gets too high, make the delay longer again. Setting the delay to 0 turns off auto-saving.

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On this page

        

The Totara Academy has two courses, one dedicated to using Getting started with quizzes and another for Advanced quiz usage in Totara Learn. Here you can learn more on how to use quizzes, see best practice, and give it a go yourself.



Provide feedback about this page using the link in the bottom right of this page. 

Still have questions? Why not post them in the forums of the Totara Community?