Texas Tech University

Online Testing Strategies

Best Practices for Online Assessment

Alternatives to a Traditional Exam
Some of the following alternatives to the traditional format of online testing may provide an appropriate method for assessing your course objectives:

1. Open-book exam. Consider that open-book final exams are better suited for online delivery where students have full access to the internet. Open-book exams allow for the opportunity to assess higher-order thinking skills, such as application, analysis, evaluation, or creation.
2. Summary. Consider replacing the final exam with a final summary. Asking students to write a one- or two-page summary of the course's big ideas compels them to revisit key concepts that were presented throughout the semester.
3. Course Map. A course map is a visual representation of a course. Structured much like a mind map, a course map provides an overall visual of the content and highlights relationships among key ideas. Students consider the hierarchy of concepts, as well as important connections when they create a map of the content.
4. Multimedia Assignment. Students can create an infographic, narrated slideshow, or photo album that highlights their learning in the course.
5. Pop Culture Analysis. Ask students to identify a clip from a movie or television show and describe how it relates to the key ideas of the course.
6. Passion Project. Encourage students to select a topic from the course that especially interested them and learn more about it. Allow them to share what they learned in a choice of ways: blog, podcast, video, fact sheet, etc.
7. Create a Game. Ask students to create a game that could be used with next semester's class to help future students learn the content.

Traditional Exam
The Quiz feature in Canvas has the capability to deliver an online exam. When using this option, consider the following:

  1. Use the Question Banks feature in Quizzes to store test questions with mixed question styles (multiple choice, fill in the blank, true/false, short essay, etc.).
    • When creating multiple-choice items, shuffle the answer options for questions.
    • When creating fill-in-the-blank items, consider all possible answer options to minimize the possibility of correct answers being automatically graded as incorrect.
    • Create short answer or essay questions that require comprehension of the material; this allows for better assessment of higher-order thinking skills.
  2. Create an exam that utilizes a variety of the mixed questions you have created. Set the exam to display one question at a time, and set a time limit for the exam. Remember that students will likely need double or triple the time it takes you to answer each question.
  3. Designate a 24-hour window of time the exam is available starting at 6:00 am on the day designated for your class by the Final Exam Schedule.
  4.  Disable the back button and the print button.
  5. Ask students to provide identity verification, such as their Banner ID, before initiating the quiz or test.
  6. Refrain from providing answers to the quiz or test until everyone has completed it.
  7. Designate a specific window of time in which the test will be open, which will alleviate issues caused by a lack of accessibility.
  8. Provide clear instructions for students regarding how they should proceed with the online final exam, including communicating the format in which it will be given. Consider providing students with example questions with which to practice.
  9.  Consider creating an online discussion board dedicated to answering questions regarding the final exam.
  10. Have students use Respondus to lockdown their browser.

Additional Resources:

Online Assessment Basics for Emergencies

Student Assessment

Testing Solutions for TTU STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, & Math) Faculty

Teaching, Learning, & Professional Development Center