Canvas Quizzes

What is the Canvas Quizzes Tool?

The Canvas Quizzes tool is a native Canvas feature which is available in all Canvas course sites.  Canvas Quizzes allows instructors to create high and/or low stakes assessments containing any combination of both auto-scored and hand scored questions.  The Quizzes tool allows instructors to add an assessment timer which begins when a student opens the quiz and auto-submits when the timer runs out (if the student has not already manually submitted).  Canvas quizzes does provide the option for instructors to create survey activities as well including quasi-anonymous surveys (instructors can switch any survey from anonymous to named at any time, so this tool should not be used for surveys that require mandatory anonymity).

Click the tabs below for more information and links to resources and documentation for the Canvas Quizzes Tool.

Why use Canvas Quizzes?

Canvas Quizzes is a powerful tool which can provide instructors with a way to offer online self check practice quizzes as well as high stakes written exams.  The Quizzes Tool provides a range of question types - many of which can be auto-scored by Canvas to save instructors' time.  When creating exam questions, instructors can pre-populate customized feedback for students who select correct or incorrect answers.  

Benefits of Canvas Quizzes include (but are not limited to)

  • Auto-scoring question types - particularly useful for large enrollment courses.
  • Hand-scored question types - short answer, fill in the blank and file upload type questions can be used to collect student-generated content.  Instructors can use the file upload question type to collect handwritten student work (check out our help article for students on how to create a PDF of handwritten work)
  • Individual questions - since each question can be set up to stand alone, instructors can assign points to each question.  This allows students to easily see which questions they got right/wrong and how that impacted their grade.
  • Allow multiple attempts - you can set up a quiz to be a self-check and allow students to take and retake the quiz until they have master the content.
  • Student-Based Quiz timers - the Canvas Quiz timer will begin when a student opens their exam and will auto-submit when the timer runs out.
  • Extra time / Extra Attempts for Accommodations - using the Moderate Quiz feature, instructors can give individual students extra time or extra attempts.
  • Custom Due Dates - if needed, custom due/available from/until dates can be set for individual students
  • Respondus LockDown Browser - Canvas quizzes can be used with Respondus LockDown browser to restrict student usage of the internet or other software programs on their exam device during the quiz.
Use Cases for Quizzes

Below are some examples of how Canvas Quizzes can be used in your course.

  • Self-check homework problems
  • Midterm Exams
  • Final Exams
  • Feedback Surveys - keep in mind that surveys in Canvas are not truly anonymous - use Mid-Semester Feedback or Anonymous Feedback tools for true anonymity.
How do I use Canvas Quizzes in my course?

The Canvas Quizzes tool is a tool that is available in all courses in Canvas.  Instructors and TA level users can always access the tool to create assessments - but the tool can be hidden from students if desired.

NOTE:  The Quizzes tool is hidden from students by default until there is at least one published activity/assignment.

Quiz Types

When creating an assessment through Canvas Quizzes, faculty have several options:

  • Practice Quizzes - low stakes self-check style assessments that do not get a grade or a column in the Grades area.

  • Graded Quizzes - high or low stakes quizzes which receive a score, but that score can either be included or excluded from the final grade.

  • Ungraded Survey* - low stakes surveys for which students do not get a grade or a column in the Grades area.

  • Graded Survey* - low stakes surveys for which students can receive a set number of points just for completing the survey.


* NOTE:  Survey submissions can be made anonymous, but since the results can be deanonymized, Canvas Surveys are not recommended for activities that require true anonymity.  If you need to collect truly anonymous feedback from your students, consider using the Anonymous Feedback Tool or the Mid-Semester Feedback Tool.


Due Dates, Assigning and Accommodations

Due Dates

As with any native Canvas activity tool, instructors can set up 3 distinct dates for each activity:

  • Due Date:  Date in which you want students to complete the activity - this date will appear on the Canvas Calendar for this course.

  • Available Date:  Date in which the students will be able to view and begin submitting to the activity.

  • Until Date:  Date after which no more submissions will be accepted.

If needed, you can set up multiple due dates for each activity.  This may be useful if you have Discussion Sections that meet on different days and the due dates should match accordingly or if an individual student(s) needs a different due date.

Assigning to students

For students who are in different time zones, have personal obligations that conflict, or experience technical difficulties, you can use the additional due dates and/or provide additional attempts to help accommodate their unique situation.   


Some students may be allowed addition time on their assessments.  For these students you can create custom due dates as appropriate and for timed assessments, you can also give extra time to the student.


Quizzes Tool Additional Optional Features

Timers for Timed Assignments

Canvas can include a timer which will restrict the amount of time a student has to complete the assessment.   

Timers can make students feel anxious and can potentially cause problems if a student has a technical problem like losing internet connections.  Make sure that you provide students with a plan for how to deal with and report these issues to you - or consider modifying your assessments to an un-timed format. 

CAUTION:  The "Until Date" set in the settings of the quiz will override a timer.  This means, for a 2 hour timed quiz with an Until Date of 12:00 PM today, if a student opens their quiz at 11:50 AM today, they will not get the full 2 hours - they will only get 10  minutes (12:00 PM- 11:50 AM).  This is also true for students with extra time.

Hand written student work:

Hand written student work can easily be submitted as part of a file upload question on a quiz.  Students can be referred to our help guide on How to create a PDF of hand written assignments (Links to an external site.) for information on how to create a file that can be uploaded to  a file upload question. 

NOTE:  When using a file upload question type, you will not be able to use Respondus LockDown Browser as that will prevent the students from being able to create and upload their file.

Respondus LockDown Browser

Respondus LockDown  Browser is a downloaded browser tool that locks down students' access to the internet and other programs on their machine while taking a LockDown Browser enabled Quiz.  LockDown Browser is enabled on a quiz-by-quiz basis allowing faculty to choose when to require and when not to require its use.  

Although LockDown Browser can be a deterrent for academic dishonesty, it is by no means fool-proof.  For online assessments, it is highly recommended to implement open-book assessments with higher-order learning questions whose answers are not easily discovered through web searches so that browser locking tools can be avoided whenever possible.  

NOTE:  In case of possible technical issues during  a Lockdown Browser enabled quiz, you should provide your students with guidance on how to report these issues.

Additional Resources

Creating a Quiz

Quiz Questions & Question Groups

Question Banks

Due Date, Assigning to Students, and Accommodations

Viewing and Grading Quiz Results


Student Resources