Creating Measurable Assessments on Canvas

Student working on a document on a laptop.

Finding ways to engage students with course content and adequately assess mastery of material is an ongoing process. There are many ways of assessing students, including by having them submit written assignments, work in groups to create a final artifact, or exchange ideas in a discussion forum. These types of assignments allow students a chance to reflect or evaluate complex course concepts. Quizzes and exams also help with assessing mastery of recalling facts and terms, especially for units or chapters of materials.

Bloom’s Taxonomy

The Bloom’s Taxonomy model can help instructors create learning objectives which describe the level of complexity being targeted for content and assessments. This helps with scaffolding, or introducing concepts in the lower levels of learning before introducing more complex material. Scaffolding course material helps structure learning so that concepts build on each other in order of difficulty. Assignments can then be developed to help meet each stage of learning and assess mastery. Measurable action verbs like the ones below can be used when creating actionable course and module objectives.

Bloom's Taxonomy in Learning Scaffolding
Bloom’s Taxonomy in Learning Scaffolding

Objectives for Assessments

Exams and quizzes are a popular and effective way of assessing the comprehension of course material. Exams are typically given as a culminating assessment covering a range of time or material. Quizzes are more generally used as frequent and shorter assessments covering a shorter range of time or amount of information. For example, multiple choice and true/false questions can evaluate a student’s ability to recall facts and basic concepts covered in a particular chapter or module. Examples of course objectives for a quiz using multiple choice, true/false, matching, or fill-in-the-blank questions may be:

Students will be able to:

  • Define simple interest and compound interest.
  • Identify the major events leading up to the start of World War II

  • Recognize the components of an animal and plant cell.

  • Name the steps of preparing a speech presentation.

  • Recall the correct form of the quadratic formula.

The above objectives aim to assess that basic concepts, terms, and definitions are mastered. This helps students recognize if they’ve understood material and gives instructors an opportunity to identify areas that may need reinforcement.

Moving higher on Bloom’s Taxonomy levels, learners should engage with more complex concepts and materials. Identifying what students should master helps with creating assessments that meet these objectives. Using a quiz incorporating short answer questions or adding a written, discussion, or group assignment may help meet more complex goals. Examples of these types of objectives include:

Students will be able to:

  • Solve financial problems using the simple and compound interest formula.
  • Discuss the worldwide effects of the Great Depression.
  • Sketch an animal and a plant cell, and distinguish the differences between the two.
  • Construct a persuasive speech for or against the use of Daylight Savings.
  • Write a quadratic formula in standard form to identify the values of a, b, and c

Breaking down a final group project into smaller deliverables is an example of scaffolding. It also allows instructors to periodically assess the progress of the assignment and deliver useful feedback.

Canvas Quiz and Assignment Settings

Quizzes and Assignments on Canvas allow instructors to configure settings to provide useful options and feedback. The following can be updated in quiz settings:

  • Shuffle answers
  • Time limit
  • Multiple attempts
  • Quiz responses
  • Correct answers

Set Quiz Options

For both quizzes and assignment settings, a due date can be added. This due date will also auto-populate into the course calendar and Canvas syllabus when included. If you’d like to restrict the visibility of the assignment, an until date can be added. Add a due date and leave the until date blank to allow late submissions.

Assign Quiz and Dates

To extend the availability or due dates for an individual or group of students, select the + Add button. NOTE: don’t remove “everyone else” from the settings so Canvas does not assume the assignment is only meant for one student.

Edit Due and Availability Dates

The following Canvas Guides provide step-by-step instructions for commonly asked questions regarding quiz and assignment settings.

Have additional questions about creating learning objectives or creating assessments in your Canvas course? Reach out to your FIU Online Instructional Designer to collaborate on building measurable and aligned objectives and activities.

References and Resources

Erika Huezo was a Senior Instructional Designer at FIU Online. She joined FIU Online in 2010 as a Course Developer, helping to create an introduction to online teaching course for faculty and assisted with the department’s implementation of the Quality Matters (QM) program standards. Erika worked closely with faculty to create engaging learning environments and kept current with instructional theories, tools, and trends.

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