[New Quizzes] Student Highlight & Annotation Tools for Quizzes

Standardized testing looms large in the minds of all 3-8 grade teachers, in NJ where I work especially,  but also across the country. One of the skills students need to be able to succeed on the PARCC or SBA is to organize their thinking while reading across texts in an online testing environment, in order to write coherent essays and answer multiple choice questions citing text evidence in their answers. We teach them to do that by highlighting portions of the text as they are reading or going back to re-read, so they can use those pieces of evidence in writing their constructed responses. This is what they will be expected to do when they take PARCC or SBA.


We want our teachers to use Canvas to create engaging, meaningful, creative and collaborative learning experiences for students. The unfortunate reality of PARCC and SBA results being tied to teacher evaluations means our teachers also want tools they can use to specifically and directly help students practice for high-stakes testing. Annotation tools would go a long way in that regard. Please consider developing a way for students to highlight text in quizzes.

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Community Member

I'm trying to "vote up" and although it says open for voting, my vote is not registering. I have just found this idea and fully support it. We teach language, literacy and numeracy to adults and our benchmarking tool and curriculum outcomes require students to annotate texts to show their understanding. I think ideas in Canvas should be open longer for voting and it would be good if there was a notifications bell in my instance so as an admin I could see new ideas as they are submitted and I could quickly click on the notification to see if I wanted to vote for it then and there.

Instructure Alumni
Instructure Alumni

 @sue_valdeck ‌, this idea is still open for voting, and your upvote was registered. For more information on how the ideation process works, how long ideas remain open, and how ideas move through their stages, please refer to How does the feature idea process work?‌ and https://community.canvaslms.com/docs/DOC-4396-what-is-the-feature-development-process-for-canvas 

Community Novice

Hi Chelsea. Am I able to ask what other platforms you used to enable this?



Community Novice

For those of us doing language assessments (Reading specifically) this feature is essential, and links to the learning activities done in class. Fingers crossed.

Community Contributor

A great idea to be sure. This student-centered feature is a standard in state-based assessments, so there's no reason why Canvas shouldn't mirror that set of standard features. Doing so will represent the practice students need to sit down for the high-stakes testing, a phase of our education system that probably won't fade any time soon.

Community Novice

Of all the Feature Ideas that I have seen, this would be the most applicable to my classroom and students. The NCTest App that students test on has highlighting tools, but other than the app tutorial, final exams are the only times that students use these tools. If they were able to use highlighting in Canvas throughout my course and other courses, they would be using the annotating feature on a much more regular basis, and I think it would prove a much more meaningful tool on the actual assessment. 

Community Novice

We are building a tool that may help with this and will be integrated into Canvas very soon!! We are a new company called Inkerz. We turn any pen into smart pen allowing teachers to have students on paper and have it appear on the screen!!! We are a new Booster partner! Come check us out at Instructorcarn and consider applying for our early adopters program. I was a middle school history teacher for years, a big fan of annotation skills, and would have loved this in my classroom. 


Community Novice

We want the teachers to use canvas.

Community Member

Recently North Carolina changed the processes in which tests are administered. NC now uses NCTEST a Chromebook app for each grade level and content specific end of grade/course testing. The NCTEST app allows students to highlight, read aloud, strike through text, eliminate answer choices, etc. ; therefore, practicing with these tools throughout the year would help students to be more successful on their state test at the end of the year. 

Community Novice

I certainly agree. I teach first grade and work with students on using pencils and highlighters to annotate. However, wouldn't it make sense if instead I was able to teach them how to use annotation tools on the computer/chrome book? Especially during our assessments and practice work? If this was the case, wouldn't it seem that our students would be much more prepared for End of Grade testing on technology?