Teaching & Learning

Dos and Don’ts of Quiz Creation

Reading Time: 3 minutes

As educators, we can agree that assessments are essential to the learning process. Quizzes are a popular method for assessing learners’ understanding of material and mastery of knowledge. The real question is – are we quizzing effectively?

In this post, we explore some best practices for quiz creation to ensure effective assessment of student mastery in course learning objectives. We will review some Dos and Don’ts for quiz creation.


  • Set clear objectives. All assessments – quizzes and otherwise – should be directly related to a course or module learning objective. This helps keep learners (and instructors) focused and goal-oriented in a productive learning environment. When creating quizzes, use the learning objectives to create important points for measurement of understanding and quiz questions.
  • Include instructions. Sure, your students probably know what to do with a quiz. This likely isn’t their first assessment, but including instructions complies with UDL (Universal Design for Learning) principals and provides a quick reminder of expectations before they begin the assessment.
  • Use quizzes to motivate. Quizzes can be low stress and motivational. Really! Dr. Maryellen Weimer shares in her article “Ungraded Quizzes: Any Chance They Can Promote Learning?” that graded or not, quizzes can be used effectively to motivate students and assess learning, providing important information to instructors.
  • Use more than multiple choice. Multiple choice is always voted Prom King in the quiz world and for good reason. Multiple choice questions are easily written at all levels of thinking. When creating quiz questions, vary the question type using multiple choice, matching, fill-in-the-blank, short answer, and essay to ensure students are engaged and using all of their critical thinking skills.
  • Use a verb guide. A Bloom’s Verb Guide can help. We like this one which provides keywords, actions, outcomes, and sample question prompts at each level of thinking.
  • Give immediate feedback. In Canvas, this is super easy! Simply input an auto-response to provide feedback on students answer selections. Be sure to use more than just “correct” or “incorrect”. Meaningful feedback on a quiz can guide student learning. Perhaps guide your students back to the content or describe why the answer is correct or incorrect.
  • Analyze quiz results. Analyzing quiz results can be essential to understanding student learning and mastery. Determine most-missed questions for re-teaching, reviewing, and revising quiz questions as needed later.


  • Don’t quiz simply. As discussed under “Use quizzes to motivate,” simple reading check quizzes might feel necessary to ensure students are keeping up with course content, especially online. But they can serve multiple purposes, such as getting students to class on time or prompting student discussion. Simply doing a reading check can feel like busy work and disengage learners.
  • Don’t be afraid of collaborative quizzing. Collaborative quizzing can be helpful in face to face and online learning. Dr. Maryellen Weimer explores this in her article “Five Types of Quizzes That Deepen Engagement with Course Content.” Collaborative quizzing can be combined or averaged to provide individual scores. In the online environment, the Discussion Board provides a great place to participate in Collaborative Quizzing.
  • Don’t use true and false. Research shows us that true and false questions don’t dig into critical thinking skills but can still be used to motivate engagement outside of an assessment.
  • Don’t use fewer than 10 questions. To get a true picture of learning and a fair grade, 10 or more questions on a quiz are helpful.

What now?

If you have questions about anything you read or suggestions for topics to be covered, leave a comment below. If you need help using these dos and don’ts in your course, contact the CTL by emailing us at ctl@cedarville.edu.

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Misty Oerther
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