Best Practices for Remote Testing

Sakai Tests and Quizzes

The Tests and Quizzes tool within Sakai is the primary tool for remote testing. It has been designed specifically for this purpose with a variety of question types and delivery options and can be used for low and high-stakes online assessments. Test and Quizzes complies with FERPA, provides options for accessibility, and offers a range of pedagogical features. Below are ideas to keep in mind when planning your online assessments. See documentation resources link below.

Outline Directions Clearly:

Detailed instructions should ideally be presented for students to read prior to starting the assessment. This information will decrease stress as students will know what to expect and will not spend quiz time reading instructions. Consider outlining the parts, the number of questions, points possible and how much time is allowed for completion.

Encourage students to review this page [Tips for Taking Online Tests in Sakai] for avoiding problems during online testing.

Set Limits for Availability and Duration:

  • If an exam has a shorter availability period, it will be harder for students to take the assessment ahead of others and share content to students who have not yet taken the exam.
  • When you limit the duration of a quiz, it diminishes the time that students can spend looking up answers.
    • Limit the duration for assessments to no more than one hour.
    • Shorter time limits decrease the possibility of the system timing out and/or intermittent connectivity problems that could result in the test getting locked.
    • If your material requires more than an hour, consider dividing it into specific sections (e.g. multiple-choice, essay, part A/Part B, etc.).

Assessment Layout:

If using parts, it is recommended to have each part display on a separate page or with each question on its’ own page.  Having exam questions delivered one at a time will make it more difficult for students to capture the exam contents and will save each response as they move forward. As the page refreshes, it may also keep browsers from timing out on long assessments.

Use Randomization Techniques:

The presentation of assessment material in random sequence may help preserve the integrity of an assessment by presenting each student with a unique version making it difficult to collaborate during the test.

In Sakai, instructors can:

  • randomize the order in which questions appear
  • randomize answer order (multiple choice questions)
  • create question pools and select random blocks of questions 

Essay Exams:

Unless there is a compelling reason to use Tests and Quizzes tool for essays (e.g. you want the assessment timed within a wider availability range or you want to include parts with other question-types), it is often better to conduct the assessment using assignment tool. The assignment tool also allows the instructor to download the files, do markup, and return with your feedback. If you do use the Short Answer/Essay question type, advise students to type/save their responses into an external document (e.g. WORD) and then copy/paste them into the text fields.

Instructor Presence:

During an in-person test, the instructor is often accessible to the students for questions. To provide a similar experience, consider whether you should schedule a synchronous Zoom (or chat) session coinciding with the assessment delivery to field individual students' questions.

A Zoom session conducted with video may also be useful if you think your students should be visually monitored while taking the assessment.

Special Accommodations:

You may have a student with an accommodation plan requiring extra time, or maybe a student in a different time zone who needs different availability times. When you have situations requiring different settings, the Tests and Quizzes tool allows instructors to specify exceptions for extra time and/or different availability times for specific students or groups.

Students who receive accommodations for in-person testing must receive equivalent accommodations for online testing. Instructors should contact Student Accessibility Services with questions.


Instructors can provide feedback for correct and incorrect answers as well as for authored responses. Automated feedback can be set to display immediately or after all students have submitted their assessments to promote student learning.

Other Recommendations:

  • Give a low-stakes practice quiz before test time to familiarize students with the tool(s) and highlight any technical issues/incompatibilities early for resolution
  • Educate students about academic honesty policies. Consider posting a T/F question asking students to agree
  • Use “calculated questions” when constructing quizzes or exams that involve mathematical expressions
  • Treat the test as open book by constructing test questions that can't be looked up quickly and require application of concepts
  • De-emphasize exams?
    • Adjust grading policies to emphasize assignments (papers, forums, blogs, projects, etc.) that require creativity and demonstration of understanding and are less susceptible to dishonesty.



Article ID: 104077
Thu 4/2/20 12:14 PM
Fri 12/4/20 3:08 PM