Online tests: getting started

Online tests let you design, administrate, and grade tests and quizzes.

  1. First, you'll set up your test. This is where you'll specify the administrative details—availability, time limit, and proctoring, to name a few. These items are covered below.
  2. Next step will be to design your test: adding headings, instructional text blocks, and, of course, questions.
  3. Your students will take the test, after which time it's time to handle grading. Some grading can be done automatically, and some has to be done by you.
  4. When all's said and done, test grades are automatically entered in the gradebook.

You can accomplish steps 1 & 2 by cloning or syncing tests from other courses.

Creating a new test

To create a new test, you must create the corresponding assignment.

  1. Go to your course and click the Assignments view.
  2. Click add an assignment.
  3. Enter the name, description, and other assignment details.
  4. For the assignment type, choose Test. New fields will open up when you do this.
  5. Due date is the date by which students must take the test. If you wish, you can change the availability (see below) to permit students to take a test past the due date.
  6. Availability is the timeframe during which students may take the test. Enter dates and times in the appropriate fields. Read about the four different availability options here.
  7. Time limit is the total amount of time the student has to take the test within the availability window. A few notes on the time limit:
    • Availability trumps the time limit! If a student begins a test with no time limit ten minutes before the availability ends, that student has only ten minutes to take the test.
    • When students take the test, they can see how much time they have remaining. If they time out, unanswered questions will be marked incorrect.
    • If students are logged out in the middle of taking the test, they can resume where they left off with any unused time remaining (unless the availability window closes).
    • If need be, you can add an availability exception on a by-student basis.
  8. Retakes give your students multiple chances to take the test.
    • The three options—highest score, most recent score, and average score—refer to which test score will be used as the grade.
    • The number of retakes is not the same as the number of times students can take the test. If you want to let your students take the test a total of 3 times, enter 2 in the retakes field.
  9. Check Proctoring to require that every student take the test with a proctor.
  10. Finally, click Save.

Now that you've created the test, it appears in the assignment list and in the list under the Tests view.

Next steps

In the Tests view, you'll find a list of all of the tests contained in this course. Click the test name to go to its page, where you can adjust its settings, add availability, time limit, and proctoring exceptions, and start designing it.

If a test has not been set up yet, you'll see one of two notices next to the test's name:

  • No questions indicates that you have not yet added or imported any questions to that test
  • Unassigned points indicates that, while the test has questions, not all of the test's points have been distributed among those questions.

In either case, students will not be able to take the test until you finish designing it!


The feedback options let you control what students get to see after they have taken the test.

  1. Click Feedback.
  2. Next to each time period, select a feedback option from the drop-down.
  3. Click Save.

There are two periods:

  • After taking test: After the student has pressed the Submit button on a test, she'll get the feedback you specify.
  • After test date: After the availability window for the test has passed, students will be able to get the feedback you specify by viewing their own test's History view.

There are three feedback options:

  • Grades: The student can see her grade (as soon as it's available).
  • Response scores & feedback: The student can see what she got right (and wrong), together with the points or partial credit for each question, as well as any comments you wrote while grading the test.
  • Correct answers: The student can see the correct answers you entered for question types that can be automatically graded.


Test proctoring lets you require your students to take tests with an observer present as a guard against cheating. Here's how it works:

  1. You set up your test to require proctoring, or you add an exception to an unproctored test to require proctoring for specific students (see below). Students may also be required by the registrar to be proctored for all online tests.
  2. When the student takes the test, Populi asks the proctor for contact information, including a mobile phone number.
  3. Populi sends the proctor a check-in code via SMS. After the proctor enters it, the student can take the test.
  4. After the student submits the test, Populi sends the proctor a check-out code via SMS. The proctor must enter the code and check to verify that he did not observe any cheating.
  5. If the proctor doesn't check out, the test is flagged for your review in the test history.
  6. Proctored tests show you the contact info for the proctor and links it, if possible, to people already entered in Populi. This helps you contact the proctor to verify his identity.

All you need to do is to require proctoring for the test or individual students.

  • You can require proctoring for all students by checking the box when setting up the test assignment or by setting Proctored on the test's page to Yes.
  • To require proctoring for individual students, add a proctoring exception.


You can add exceptions for individual students for test availability, time limit, retakes, and proctoring by changing the settings on the right column of the test's page.

  1. Under the appropriate field, click Add an exception.
  2. Select the student from the drop-down.
  3. Enter the new exception information—dates, times, etc..
  4. Check whether to email the student about the exception.
  5. Repeat the above steps as often as you need.
  6. Click   to remove a student's exception.
  7. Click Save.
  8. To edit these exceptions, click manage exceptions.

After setting up your test, it's time to start designing it.

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