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How do I format a test for Respondus?
Posted by Anna Wright on 23 February 2012 03:45 PM

Note: These instructions are for faculty teaching online or hybrid courses—not students.

Respondus is a powerful software used to create and manage exams, which are published directly to Blackboard or Canvas. As an instructor, you must organize and format the exam questions in Microsoft Word according to the formatting provided in the instructions below. Note: When formatting questions in Word, do not use Word’s numbered lists (see How do I turn off automatic bullets or numbering in Word?). Once you've formatted the exam for Respondus, follow the process listed here

The Standard Format for multiple choice questions has required elements and optional elements, each of which is described below. This is followed by an explanation of the formatting required for true-false, paragraph, short answer, matching and multiple response questions.

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How do I prevent cheating in online tests?

Create Question Pool
To prevent cheating, we recommend creating a pool of questions for a test. Rather than using a fixed number of items that remain unchanged for each student's test, consider creating a question pool. In Respondus, your Instructional Designer (ID) can create group sets within the test (i.e. Group Set A = Questions 1-10 for true/false Questions; Group Set B = 10-40 for multiple-choice questions, etc). Instructors can group questions in sets by any number of criteria, including topic, subject matter, question type or difficulty of question. In Respondus, your ID can also set up the test to randomly pull a certain number of questions from each group set [i.e. Questions 1-10 (only show 5 questions from set)]. Be sure to clearly indicate which questions should be grouped together and how many points each question in each set should be worth to your ID. For example:

  • Questions 1-10 (only show 5 questions from set) – 2 points each
  • Questions 11-40 (only show 15 questions from set) – 3 points each
  • Questions 41-70 (only show 15 questions from set) – 3 points each
  • Only 35 (out of the 70) questions will be shown in the exam, totaling 100 points.

Set Timer
Because students taking an online test that is not proctored are likely to use their notes and textbook, we recommend setting a timer for the test. Students who are sufficently prepared for a test may be less likely to rely on their notes and textbook compared with students who are unprepared for the test. By having the test timed, unprepared students risk not having sufficient time to respond to all the test questions.

Display Questions One At A Time
We recommend using the Display questions one at a time setting for tests in Canvas. If all questions are displayed at once, it would be easy for students to take a screen capture of the displayed questions and share them with other students. By having questions displayed one at a time, it would be far more time consuming and unwieldy for students to take a screenshot of each question.


Required Elements (Multiple Choice)

Each question must begin with a question number, followed by either a period “.” or a parentheses “)”.  

Example: 3)   

Example:  3.

The question wording must follow the question number. (Note: at least one space should be between the question number and the question wording.) 

Example: 3) Who determined the exact speed of light? 

Example: 3. Who determined the exact speed of light? 

Each answer must begin with a letter (A-Z) followed by a period “.” or a parentheses “)”.  

IMPORTANT: To indicate the correct answer, you may place an asterisk (*) directly in front of the answer choice (do not put a space between the asterisk and the answer choice). If a correct answer has not been indicated using an asterisk, Respondus will automatically select the letter “A” as the correct answer. Your assigned Instructional Designer will review the formatting and organization before importing questions to Respondus and will alert you if a question does not have an answer selected for it prior to completing the import. Note: Survey files should not have “correct answers” selected. If you are importing questions into a survey file, any correct answer designations will be ignored.

Example: 

3. Who determined the exact speed of light? 
*a. Albert Einstein 
b. Albert Michelson 
c. Thomas Edison 
d. Guglielmo Marconi


Optional Elements (Multiple Choice)

Title
A title can be imported with each question. If a title is not provided for a question, the first 20 characters from the question wording will be used as the question title. Titles must be placed at the beginning of a question and begin with “Title:” followed by the actual text for the title. If the title exceeds 20 characters, the remaining characters will be dropped during the import. 

Each question must begin with a question number, followed by either a period “.” or a parentheses “)”.   

IMPORTANT: To indicate the correct answer, you may place an asterisk (*) directly in front of the answer choice (do not put a space between the asterisk and the answer choice). If a correct answer has not been indicated using an asterisk, Respondus will automatically select the letter “A” as the correct answer. Your assigned Instructional Designer will review the formatting and organization before importing questions to Respondus and will alert you if a question does not have an answer selected for it prior to completing the import. Note: Survey files should not have “correct answers” selected. If you are importing questions into a survey file, any correct answer designations will be ignored.

Example: 

Title: Speed of Light 
3. Who determined the exact speed of light? 

a. Albert Einstein 
*b. Albert Michelson 
c. Thomas Edison 
d. Guglielmo Marconi  

Feedback
General feedback can be imported by placing the tilde “~” symbol in front of the feedback for a correct answer. The @ symbol can be used to indicate the feedback for incorrect answers. There must be at least one space to the right of the ~ and @ symbols and the text you want displayed for the feedback. The feedback must appear before the answer choices.

Example: 

Title: Speed of Light 
3. Who determined the exact speed of light? 

3) Who determined the exact speed of light?

~ Yes. Albert Michelson won the Nobel Prize for Physics for determining the exact speed of light.

@ No. The correct answer is Albert Michelson, who won the 1907 Nobel Prize for Physics for determining the exact speed of light. a. Albert Einstein *b) Albert Michelson c) Thomas Edison d. Guglielmo Marconi

a. Albert Einstein
*b. Albert Michelson
c. Thomas Edison 
d. Guglielmo Marconi


Formatting True and False Questions

The process of formatting a “true and false” question is similar to that used for formatting multiple choice questions (see above). Both of the following examples are valid ways to format a true and false question for importing purposes.   

Example: 

3. Albert Michelson determined the exact speed of light? 

*a. True 
b. False  

Example: 

3. Albert Michelson determined the exact speed of light? 

*a. T 
b. F  

It’s important to note that the “True” (or “T”) answer choice must be listed prior to the “False” (or “F”) answer choice in order for Respondus to recognize it as a true or false question type. (If “False” appears first in the list, the question will be imported as a “multiple choice” question). 

To include a “title” or “feedback” with the true and false question, follow the same formatting rules described above for multiple choice questions.  

Example: 

Title: Light speed 
3. Albert Michelson determined the exact speed of light? 
@ Correct. Albert Michelson won the Nobel Prize for Physics for determining the exact speed of light. 

*a. True  
@ Yes. Albert Michelson won the Nobel Prize for Physics for determining the exact speed of light. 

b. False 
@ The correct answer is True. Albert Michelson determined the exact speed of light and won the 1907 Nobel Prize for Physics for his efforts.  


Formatting Essay Questions

The format for importing essay questions is similar to what is described for multiple choice and true or false questions. The primary difference is that the first line of formatting must begin with “Type: E”. This is followed by the “Title” (which is optional), the question number, a space, and the question wording. 

Example: 

Type: E 
Title: Michelson-Morely experiment 
4. How is the Michelson-Morely experiment related to Albert Einstein’s theory of relativity? 

If you are formatting an essay question, you may provide an answer immediately after the question wording, beginning the answer with “a.” or “a)” (without the quotes) and a space followed by the suggested answer wording. 

Example:

Type: E
Title: Michelson-Morely experiment 
4. How is the Michelson-Morely experiment related to Albert Einstein’s theory of relativity?

a. In 1887, Albert Michelson and Edward Morely carried out experiments to detect the change in speed of light due to ether wind when the Earth moved around the sun. The result was negative. They found the speed of light is always the same regardless of Earth’s motion around the sun. Scientists were puzzled with this negative result, and they didn’t know how to explain it. Albert Einstein came up with the answer in his famous second postulate in theory of relativity: that the speed of light (in vacuum) is always constant and absolute, regardless of its source’s motion and observer’s movement. 


Formatting Fill in the Blank Questions

Fill in the blank questions may be imported by starting the first line of formatting with “Type: F”. This is followed by the “Title” (which is optional), the question number, a space, and the question wording. An answer must be provided for the question. Respondus allows only one correct answer per question, but it does permit you to enter multiple forms of that answer.

Example:

Type: F 
Title: Who invented television? 
5. Who is known as the “father of television”?

a. Zworykin 
b. Vladimir Zworykin 
c. Vladimir Kosma Zworykin


Formatting Matching Questions

The process of importing a “matching” question is similar to what is described for importing multiple choice questions, but there are some key differences. The first line of formatting must begin with “Type: MT”. This is followed by the “title” (which is optional), the question number, a space, and the question wording.

Each answer (which consists of both parts of a correct match) must begin with a letter (a-z) followed by a period “.” or a parentheses “)” and a space. The two parts of the match must be separated with an “=” symbol and there should not be any hard returns or blank lines within either parts of the answer.     

Example: 

Type: MT 
Title: Scientific discoveries 
4. Match the correct name to the discovery or theory.

a. Michelson-Morely = Speed of light
b. Einstein = Theory of Relativity  
c. Marconi = radio waves

Spaces before or after the “=” symbol are optional, but it is important that an answer only uses the = symbol for the purpose of separating the two parts of the match. If you plan to list correct answers for other questions at the bottom of the document, simply skip the number for all questions that are of the matching variety.


Formatting Multiple Response Questions

The logic for importing questions that allow multiple responses (named “Multiple Answers” questions in Instructure Canvas) is similar to what is described above for importing multiple choice questions. (Multiple Response questions are, essentially, multiple choice questions in which more than one correct response can -- and generally should -- be selected by the student). The primary difference is that the first line of the formatting must begin with “Type: MR” (as an alternative, you can use “Type: MA” which stands for “Multiple Answers”). This is followed by the “Title” (which is optional), the question number, a space, and the question wording. Each correct answer is designated with an asterisk.     

Example: 

Type: MR 
3. Which of the following individuals are credited with determining the exact speed of light? 

a. Albert Einstein 
*b. Albert Michelson 
c. Thomas Edison 
*d. Edward Williams Morley

To include a “title” or “feedback” with the multiple response question, follow the same formatting rules described above for multiple choice questions. For instance, 

Example: 

Type: MR
Title: Determining Speed of Light 
3. Which of the following individuals are credited with determining the exact speed of light?  
@ Albert Michelson and Edward Williams Morley collaborated on a series of experiments that eventually led to the exact determination of the speed of light.

*a. Albert Einstein 
@ No. Albert Michelson and Edward Williams Morley collaborated on a series of experiments that eventually led to the exact determination of the speed of light. 

*b. Albert Michelson 
@ Yes. Albert Michelson is one of the two persons credited with determining the exact speed of light.   

(Note: This example illustrates how to include both “General Feedback” and answer-specific feedback. In most cases, you would include only one type of feedback.)


Formatting Images with Questions

It is possible to import images along with question text. The images must be in png, gif, jpg, or jpeg format and inserted into the Word document where you want the images to appear. The images must be inserted before the answer choices (a, b, c, d) for a question.     

Example: 

3. The interferometer, shown here, was used by which of the following scientists.
Interferometer  
a. Albert Einstein 
*b. Albert Michelson 
c. Thomas Edison 
d. Vladimir Zworykin 


Sample Multiple-Choice Test Formatted in Word for Respondus

Click here to download a sample test formatted in Microsoft Word for Respondus. The test has three multiple-choice questions, a true/false question, and a paragraph (short answer or essay) question. 


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