Assessment provides learners with the opportunity to check their learning, get feedback and celebrate progress. Most courses will benefit from well-designed formative and summative assessment opportunities. This page will focus on quizzes and tests.
Other possible assessment types include Peer-Review assignments and informal self-assessment via article or discussion steps, both of which are formative (ungraded)
ExpertTracks can also include Peer Graded Assignments. In contrast to the formative Peer-Review, Peer Graded Assignments are summative - they count towards a learner’s final course grade.
Private courses such as some short courses, microcredentials and degrees can include Portfolio assessment and Group Tasks. Microcredentials do not include tests as all summative assessments must be managed by the partner off-platform.
Chosen formative or summative assessment types should be appropriate to the content and linked to learning outcomes.
Quizzes and tests
Tests and quizzes on the FutureLearn platform (Course Creator) include multiple-choice and cloze style questions. Multiple-choice questions require learners to select their answer/s from a list of predetermined answer options. They are a compact way of testing understanding of the recent material, correcting misconceptions, and sending the learner back to review misunderstood material.
Cloze questions require learners to enter text or numbers into a response box. Cloze questions are primarily used for language learning courses where correct spelling is being assessed, or where learners are asked to perform a calculation and enter a figure. If possible we suggest using multiple-choice questions as the learner submission element of cloze questions can lead to accidental errors such as typos or misplaced decimal points.
- Informal, formative assessment.
- Open to all learners, does not count towards final grade.
- Unlimited question attempts.
- Useful for concept-checking.
- Helpful for learners to track their progress.
- Learners receive educator hints after each wrong answer.
- Incorrect answer feedback can include a hint, linking to a previous step for revision.
- Summative, formal assessment.
- Open to learners who have upgraded only.
- Result counts towards learner’s final grade.
- Learners must achieve over 70% across all tests/assessments to pass a course (in addition to marking over 90% steps as complete).
- Only general feedback is shown until the learner has used up all their 3 attempts to select the correct answer.
- Each question has 3 points available, 1 point lost for each incorrect answer.
- Test questions must have 4 or more possible answers.
- Each question in the test should be at a similar level of difficulty.
- It is only possible to take tests once. Each question allows three attempts.
Top six tips for quizzes and tests
- Design rigorous questions to check learners’ understanding and/or challenge their ability to apply concepts, not to assess their fact retention (rote memorization).
- Each quiz/test contains no more than 10 questions.
- Single question quizzes can be powerful, add variety, and be less intimidating.
- Flawed questions are common and lead to negative learner feedback. Follow our guidance below.
- Take time to write meaningful feedback in the educator’s voice, and be sure the educator assigned to feedback has a complete educator profile.
- Try adding a quiz in your organisation’s sandbox to see how it works. Follow the build step instructions. Use markdown to insert in-line images, audio or video within the questions.
Find out more about quizzes and tests in activity Assessing learning in How to Create a Great FutureLearn course. Contact your Partnership Manager for access.
Avoid flawed questions
Poorly written questions and answers can damage the learner experience. Poorly constructed questions can also invalidate the assessment, and potentially the outcomes of the course.
For example, learners have three attempts at answering questions within a test. If a true or false question is used, they do not need three attempts and will always get a minimum of 2 marks out of 3 even when guessing.
Download Flawed question examples (Word document) (Costello et al, 2018) reproduced here in full.
Follow our Strong quiz and tests question examples [PDF]
Be sure to write clear instructions, view our example instruction text.
At the start of your course tell learners how they’ll be assessed and how to prepare. Structure your course outline clearly distinguishing between what will be formative assessment and what is summative.
Effective multiple-choice questions provide value through every possible outcome. This requires distractors (incorrect answers) to be thoughtful, appropriate and formative.
Possible answers should meaningfully address a learning deficiency.
Avoid making the correct answer immediately obvious or guessable. Distractors should not stand out, and the correct answer should not be obviously different in either written quality, length, or structure.
For example, consider the following question:
What is 1+2×3?
- a) 9
- b) 7
- c) 6
A learner answering
- a) suggests that they understand the computation, but don’t understand the order of operations (that multiplication should happen first),
- b) understands both the computation and the reasoning behind it,
- c) would suggest the learner was confused and summed the numbers. This example allows for meaningful, formative feedback to be provided for each possible response.
Assertion-Reason questions test causal knowledge. Provide an assertion followed by a reason, and ask for the correct selection, e.g:
Increased government spending increases inflation under all conditions BECAUSE government spending is not offset by any form of production.
- a) Assertion and reason are both correct.
- b) Assertion is correct but reason is wrong
- c) Assertion is wrong but reason is correct
- d) Assertion and reason are both wrong.
Use analytics from learner performance on the course to improve tests and quizzes. Identify questions that have been too easy or difficult and distractors rarely selected. Make adjustments in future runs.
For cloze test questions, both the feedback and hint will display on the learner’s first attempt.
Course Creator is sensitive to lowercase and capital letters and spaces. It is possible to enter several variations which Course Creator will accept as acceptable for passing.
Due to the sensitive nature of cloze questions they are generally best reserved for assessment on spelling or exact entry of a specific word or number.
The platform will tell a learner if they got an answer correct, incorrect, or partially correct. Educators can provide general and individual feedback to elaborate upon this. This extends the conversation between learner and educator. Learners sitting at home, studying in their free time, with no opportunity to immediately ask for help need reassurance, explanation, and clear instructions. Use both general and individual feedback to assist them.
When a learner answers a question incorrectly constructive feedback can help them arrive at the correct answer themselves.
- On the first incorrect or partially correct answer only general feedback is shown to prevent giving the answer away. General feedback can describe the context of a problem and should not provide the answer but can provide hints and links to return to previous steps.
- On subsequent incorrect or partially correct attempts, general feedback will be shown along with individual (answer) feedback for each selection. Individual feedback can address why an answer is incorrect, or provide an explanation for why an answer is correct.
Only general feedback is shown until the learner has used up all their three attempts or selected the correct answer at which point individual feedback will display. General feedback should not give away the answer.
Course score calculation
There are two step types that generate scores; tests and Peer Graded Assignments. Read about how ExpertTrack course scores are calculated.
Short courses that are not part of an ExpertTrack use the 'combined test scores' calculation and can only include tests to generate a course score. The overall course score is the total number of points awarded across all tests as a percentage of the total number of points available.
- A course contains two tests, one with five questions (max score 15) and the other with ten questions (max score 30).
- The overall course score for a learner who scored 12 and 23 points in those tests respectively is outlined in the equation below.
- The contribution each test makes to the overall course score is proportional to the number of questions it contains and so, to avoid giving the impression that some questions contribute more to the overall course score than others, step weightings are not displayed on short courses.
Quiz - single answer question
Quiz - Multiple answer question
Test - single answer question
Cloze question (tests and quizzes)
Terminology on this page that you aren’t familiar with? Check out our glossary.
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