[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 Novice

I work with first year medical students.  We also use highlighting to help students to identify the key features in a clinical case scenario.  Once they have highlighted, they take the key phrases and organize them into a medical record.   This second step is a grouping activity.  I would love to see the ability to highlight phrases and then drag and drop them into groups (categories) that could be labeled.

Taking it further, the next step is to write two hypotheses and list the evidence (highlighted key features) that support each hypothesis.  This would, once again, require drag and drop. 

Community Novice

I love the idea of drag and drop. Other technology enhanced question types would be welcomed as well. I love your example - how cool to teach this process to students in younger grades and be able to tell them this is what doctors do!

Community Novice

That is a great feature idea.  In the meantime, are you using chromebooks?  If so, there is an app called Read & Write that does what you are suggesting.


Community Novice

In North Carolina we moved to all online EOG testing and a highlight and annotate tool would be amazing to have. NCTest has the functionality to annotate and highlight on the test, 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

We do not use Chromebooks, but thanks for the tip.

Community Novice

This is an idea that my co-workers and I have had as well. All of our students' standardized assessments are taken on the computer now. We want to help prepare them for those exams by having them take tests and quizzes online. Because Canvas doesn't have the annotation and highlight tools, we have resorted to using other platforms. However, we would much rather have our students complete these assessments on Canvas as that is what is used day to day in our schools.

Community Novice

I agree with this feature being added to Canvas. After moving to online testing for EOGs this year, I saw many students utilize the highlighter feature on their exams. I believe that if the practice is consistent across LMS platforms, students may have a chance to excel better on their EOGs due to having time to revisit their practices and techniques. I've seen many ELA and SS educators utilize annotations and highlighting for their students' success. I really hope this feature gets chosen and goes live within the application.

Community Novice

This is a wonderful feature suggestion.  Having taught literacy for ten years, I can say this has been one of the most frustrating things to transition from the paper to digital world.  I cannot tell you how many endless hours I have spent teaching my students to annotate and highlight on the texts provided in front of them, on paper.  We practice this all semester long, on paper.  However, with the move being made towards digital learning and the ever-looming end-of-grade tests becoming online tests, this practice seems kind of silly.  Why am I spending hour after hour, day after day teaching my students the labor of marking up close reading on a paper copy of a text, only to assess them digitally?  It would be great to be able to teach them with the tools they will need to be successful in the same format with which they will be expected to succeed.  Thank you for this idea!

Community Novice

As a teacher who works all year with their students on annotating and talking to the text, or referencing the text when answering questions this would be an excellent feature to include. I know that many language arts teachers resist using an online platform because it lacks this very feature. Since my state has moved to online final assessments, many teachers and students feel frustrated that the skills of annotating they had been practicing all year can not be utilized on the online platform. 

Community Explorer

I am transitioning my students to a learning management system to prepare them for the way that technology is going to be integrated into their education, and it will also be beneficial to train them in annotating and highlighting in a simlar way to how they are going to take their final exams.