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Canvas Spotlight: Use formula quiz questions in Canvas

Randomize numerical questions in math and science courses.

By Laura Berryman, Nicholas Ogg, Chelsea Dyer and Alex McDaniel

July 27, 2021

Formula questions are an easy way for math and science instructors to create numerically randomized questions for their students.

The process is simple and straightforward. To make a formula question, add a mathematical formula with variables and variable ranges to the quiz question. The value of the variable will be different for every quiz attempt. This means students will get different questions every time they retake the quiz, providing them with additional unique problem-solving opportunities without requiring instructors to write a large number of questions.

Best practices

  • Consider allowing students multiple attempts on quizzes with formula questions so that they can learn from their mistakes without repeating the same questions.
  • Thoughtfully set minimum and maximum values for each variable to avoid errors (such as dividing by zero).
  • Communicate expectations for the units (if applicable) and number of significant figures students should use in their answers. You may choose to add (e.g., by adding this information to the question instructions).
  • Remember to use an accessible method like a math-equation editor, inline LaTeX or an image with descriptive alt text to write all student-facing formulas.

Let’s walk through it together

For complete written step-by-step instructions, head over to the Center for Teaching, Learning and Design Ready Spotlight page.

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Topics: Academics, Best practices, Center for Teaching, Learning and Design, Student Success, Technology

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