Canvas: Quiz and Online Test Security

This service is for faculty.

While no online assessment can be fully secure, there are steps you can take to maximize security and minimize cheating in an online quiz or exam. This may not be important in a formative quiz but security can be very important for high-stakes summative assessments.  While proctoring services can be very effective as a deterrent to cheating, they are expensive and may be stressful for students. Faculty are encouraged to think about alternative methods of assessment or creative methods of proctoring. We are getting quotes for extending our proctoring software license, but this is expensive, and we hope you can think about alternatives to using software

What else can you do to maximize online exam security?

The first thing to consider is if you can use a different type of assessment. You may not want to risk the security of a standardized, well-designed exam for a one-time, emergency situation.  Can students complete an essay or project instead?  Can you adapt the types of questions you ask? If not, read on.

Increase Security Using Canvas Quiz Settings

  1. Create your quiz and choose your settings before publishing.
  2. Make sure you fully understand the default settings and the impact of the settings you choose on overall test security.
    • Currently, the default feedback option allows students to see the correct answers as soon as they submit the quiz.
    • While feedback can be a valuable learning tool, you may not want to share this information in an online summative high-stakes assessment.
  3. Determine if:
    • Students can see their quiz responses (incorrect questions will be marked in student feedback).
      • At any time, or, check the box for only once after each attempt.
        Canvas quiz settings
    • Students can see the correct answers (leave this box unchecked if you do not want them to see the correct answers).
      • You can also determine when to show and hide correct answers by date and time:
        Canvas quiz settings
    • For the most secure option, prevent students from seeing their quiz responses altogether by unchecking the Let Students See Their Quiz Responses box.  In this case, they will see that they got a question wrong but will not be able to see their response or the correct answer.
      Canvas quiz settings
  4. Limit the availability of the quiz or exam.
    • Specify the window of time and set a time limit.
    • Canvas allows you to set up exceptions for students needing academic accommodations related to additional time on exams.
      Canvas quiz availability settings
      Canvas quiz time limit settings
  5. Shuffle Answers to randomize answer choices for each question.  Caution:  if you select this option be sure to use a phrase such as "all of these" rather than "all of the above".
    Canvas quiz shuffle answer settings
  6. Show one question at a time to prevent students from taking a screen shot of large amounts of material at one time.
    Canvas quiz question visibility settings
  7. Use Question Groups.  This will require more time for set up but may be well worth the effort.  You will place multiple questions in a single group and select a specific number of those questions that will be chosen at random for students to answer.  When using this option, no two students will get the same exam so it is important that the questions in each group have similar difficulty and measure similar concepts.  For more information, see How do I create a quiz with a question group to randomize quiz questions? 
  8. Use Question Banks linked to question groups.  See the Canvas documentation How do I create a quiz with a question group linked to a question bank? for details.
  9. Remind students of academic honesty policies and have them sign an honesty pledge prior to taking the exam. Some evidence exists that signing a pledge before taking an exam is an effective deterrent to cheating. However, honor pledges are not likely to deter the minority of determined cheaters.

For more details and advanced information see the Canvas documentation Quiz Settings to Maximize Security.

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Article ID: 108231
Thu 5/21/20 9:10 AM
Mon 7/24/23 10:20 AM

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