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Best Practices for Delivering Online Tests & Quizzes

Observing the following best practices will help to ensure the successful delivery of online tests to your students.

Offer a Practice Test.

DO:

  • Offer a practice test to your students each semester to acquaint your students with the process of accessing, taking, and submitting tests.
  • Include the types of questions you will ask on a real test or quiz, e.g., multiple choice, true/false, short answer/essay, etc.
  • If you plan to include attached files or images, or LaTeX math in your real test, include these in the practice test as well.
  • Use settings similar to those you will use on a real test or quiz, e.g., timed tests vs. untimed tests, multiple vs. single submissions allowed, etc.
  • If you plan to use the student audio response question type, create a practice test that will allow students to test their microphone and speakers before launching the real exam.

DON'T:

Don't assume your students are familiar with taking online tests using the Tests & Quizzes tool!

Request a Review of Your Test Settings.

DO:

  • Invite the UVACollab support team (collab-support@virginia.edu) to review your settings before you publish your test to avoid unexpected outcomes.  Email us with the title of your site and assessment, and we'll be happy to look it over for you!
  • Enable the option to display each question on a separate web page to force saving answers when students advance to the next question. (Recommended setting.)

The default layout setting to display Each question on a separate Web page is strongly recommended for the following reasons:

  • Students' answers will be saved as they navigate through the test using the NextPrevious, and Table of Contents buttons. This greatly reduces the risk of losing their answers if they experience an interruption in their internet connectivity or other issue.
  • Each page will take less time to load with one question on it.

Important: Any questions that include file attachments, images, or embedded audio or video files should be placed on their own web page, as having multiple embedded media items on a page may make the page fail to load on a poor internet connection.

Tip: If you have any questions about layout settings in your test (for example, if you need to group together a couple questions on a page with a reading passage using assessment parts), please email the UVACollab support team with the title of your site and assessment so we can assist you.

Don't make the exam window too short.

Example settings: Available 12 am, due 11:59 pm.

The quality of student internet connections will vary by service provider, time of day, and competing activity on their network. For this reason, we recommend leaving several hours between the available date and due date to allow students to start a test at a time when their internet connection is more stable. If you need to restrict the amount of time allowed to take the test, set a time limit (described below).

Set a time limit.

Example settings: Exam with time limit of 2 hrs.

To restrict the amount of time a student has to complete a test, you may enable a time limit in the settings.

Advantages of a time limit:

  • A bar indicating how much time is left displays to students during the test. The time remaining is restricted by the latest submission date allowed for the test (the due date, or if late submissions are allowed, the late submissions accepted until date).
  • When the time is up, a student's work in progress will be automatically saved and submitted.

Note: Enabling the Autosubmit feature is not recommended for tests with a time limit because autosubmit does not save students' work before submitting. It only submits work that students saved before the latest submission date allowed for the test.

Make sure accessibility accommodations are in place.

If a student has a special need for online tests, such as a requirement for extra time or alternative text for images, coordinate with the Student Disability Access Center (opens new window) to ensure that everything is set up for the student to take the test.

To allow for time or date accommodations, see How do I give specific students an assessment with different settings (e.g., extra time)?

Remind Students to Observe Essential Test-Taking Tips.

BEFORE EVERY TEST, REMIND YOUR STUDENTS TO:

  • Review and observe the Essential Tips for Taking Online Tests in UVACollab to avoid technical issues and improve probability of successful submissions.
  • Verify they have a stable network connection before starting a test.
  • Set their phones in Airplane mode to minimize load on the wireless network while test-taking.
  • Shut down all other applications & activities on their computer during a test.
  • These tips are useful for instructors, too!

WARN YOUR STUDENTS:

  • Don't use mobile devices to take tests!
  • Don't open multiple browser tabs or windows to the Tests & Quizzes tool while taking a test!  Doing so can cause errors, including lost test answers!
  • Don't use the browser's Back or Forward buttons to navigate an online test. Using the browser's navigation can produce unexpected results, including lost answers!
  • Don't double-click buttons and links! Double-clicking will actually slow down screen loads and could produce errors.
  • Don't navigate away from a test without saving or submitting your content!  A timer on a timed test will NOT pause if you exit the test, so be sure to return to your test as soon as possible if it is timed!

Offering an open resource test?

REMEMBER: Students cannot have multiple tabs or windows open to Tests & Quizzes!

Trying to review feedback from a previous assessment while taking a test can cause errors, including lost test answers!

INSTEAD, BEFORE THEY START THE NEW TEST:

Save past Feedback as a PDF (See image below for screen shots of steps.)

  1. Click the Feedback link for the previous assessment.
  2. Using their internet browser's Print function, select Print.
  3. Choose to print/save the page as a PDF.
  4. On their local computer, open the PDF, DO NOT open a new window to Tests & Quizzes.

Get Help.

Contact collab-support@virginia.edu if you have questions or need assistance with Tests & Quizzes, or if you discover a problem with an online test submission.

If you are reporting an issue for a student, please include as many details as possible.  Helpful information would include each student's name, UVA computing ID, the internet browser they are using, and its version (if known).  

DO INCLUDE:

  • Your UVA computing ID.
  • The title of your course.
  • The title of the test.
  • The date and approximate time of the occurrence of an issue.
  • A description of the problem.
  • If a student has encountered an issue, the student's name and UVA computing ID.
  • If a student has encountered an issue, any information they can provide regarding the issue, to include the internet browser they are using, and its version (if known).
  • Information about your or the student's internet connection speed, if the issue involves pages loading slowly. You or the student can access the UVA Speed Test (opens new window) and select the Go button. Copy the details from the speed test, as well as the date and time of the speed test to include in your email.