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Community Champion

Do you prefer question groups or question banks?

So at CanvasCon in Florida yesterday, the question about groups vs. banks came up.  Here are my thoughts on them:

Right now, I prefer groups over banks for 2 reasons. 1, you can edit a question in a live quiz with groups and regrade automatically.  You have to go through speed grader to fix bad questions from banks, and in larger classes, this can be a hassle!  2. Aligning outcomes with banks isn't fully functional yet.  Hopefully one day it will be, and soon, but with out this functioning properly, banks seem to be of no use to me!

So what are YOUR preferences and why?  Thanks!

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21 Replies
Community Coach
Community Coach

 @James_Kocher_UF ​, I have to agree with you on the groups vs. banks. We prefer them for pretty much the same reasons, ability to actually see the questions students are getting & ability to regrade. We don't use outcomes that much so that doesn't effect us, but I can see where it would be better to use groups.

Community Champion

I use a combination! Specifically, I use an empty class to house all of my banks. By bookmarking the banks, I can link a question group to a bank to serve up questions for all my classes from a centralized repository. If I need to make corrections, deletions, revisions, or whatever, I can make them in one place and automatically update every quiz in every class linked to that bank: Quiz Bank Repository - YouTube.

Community Champion

Typically I recommend as you do, to use Question Groups for most faculty makes sense.  They are easily able to "see" and access the questions, edit them as needed, and regrade.

However, for faculty that need the "reuse" ability of questions, then I recommend banks.  There are some courses in which questions are reused on the midterms/exams/etc. so having the questions organized into the banks makes the most sense for these types of course. 

- Melanie

Deactivated user, since the old community is going away in a few days' time, I thought this would be a good place to preserve your thoughtful evaluation of the pros and cons of Banks and Groups:

1.  No Randomization Wanted: IF the faculty does not want randomization on their Quizzes, then they can create a quiz without using Question Banks.

    • Pros:  The faculty can update the questions within their quizzes and then the quiz can be regraded.  It makes sense to faculty as it's intuitive.
    • Cons:  Minor con is that the Question Banks are a little messy with this standard way of creating quizzes.  However if a faculty is using this method, they won't be looking at the Question Banks.  There is an Unfiled Question Bank that contains any quiz questions that are created within quizzes and then when the course is copied, a 2nd Question Bank is generated matching the quiz name with the same questions.  If the Quiz name changes at some point in the future, the Question Bank is generated a 3rd time to match the quiz name with the same questions.  It’s a safe design to ensure Canvas doesn’t delete something and the faculty knows where the questions are as the quiz always has a Question Bank with the same name but it’s a bit messy.

2.  Randomization Wanted:  IF the faculty does want randomization on their Quizzes (which I think we’ll strongly suggest), then they should create a Question Bank and LINK the Question Group to the Question Bank.

    • Pros: The faculty can update the questions easily and there is no confusion.  The Question Banks stay in sync throughout the course.
    • Cons: The faculty cannot edit a question and have a quiz regrade if the question bank is linked.  A minor issue but a small con.

3.  Randomization - less recommended method:  IF faculty wants randomization, another method is to create a Question Group that does not LINK but instead pulls the questions from a question bank into the Quiz so that the questions display INLINE.

    • Pros: If the faculty is copying from shared bank, it allows the faculty to modify the questions.  If the faculty modifies the questions within the quiz, the quiz can be regraded.
    • Cons: Faculty can update the quiz questions within the quiz and then the quiz questions are no longer in sync with the Question Bank.  So if the faculty were going to reuse the question in the future, they will get the old version of the question from the bank unless they duplicate the editing in both the quiz and the Question Bank.
Community Contributor

I use Stefanie's option 3. The Cons are definitely real. However, there's a Pro to bringing the questions inline: Often I don't want to randomly draw from every question in a bank.

My question banks are often organized by task (e.g., identify whether this morpheme is inflectional or derivational) or by textbook exercise (e.g., all the questions from Smith ch. 3 exercise 22).  I use the same question banks in the same courses year after year. Sometimes I want to use very similar questions on quizzes and then on higher-stakes tests.

So, one year I might put questions 1-5 from a bank into my quiz question group and have the quiz randomly pick 2 of them. I might use questions 6-10 the next year. And I might use questions 11-15 for the final. I don't want the exact same questions showing up on the quiz and on the final, but I do want them all saved in the same question bank so that when I'm building my assessments I can find the right kinds of questions easily.

If you link to a question bank, I believe your quiz will always draw from the whole bank, not from a subset of that bank. If you put specific questions from the bank into a question group on the quiz, the quiz will draw only from the questions in that group.

Also, I like being able to regrade questions automatically. I just have to be sure that when I edit questions, I edit them in the bank as well as in the quiz.

Community Champion

Great Explanation - Thanks stefaniesanders

Community Participant

stefaniesanders​, HELP! I appreciate the detailed explanation you have provided... but, I'm still having trouble reconciling the differences between groups and banks. From this description, it sounds like groups are specific to a course in a term and banks are usable across courses. Therefore, even though I may spend a lot of time perfecting and growing my question banks, I'll still want to create course quizzes using question groups.

I'm familiar with banks and have already used them. I had the trouble of finding a question typo (miskeyed answer on a MC question) and had to manually update the scores of the 29 students who received that question. By the way,  @kona ​ helped me figure out how to find which students were impacted (thank you) without painstakingly opening and searching each individual quiz for the trouble question, but it was not a simple process!

I am not familiar with groups. IF had I created the quiz using both groups and banks, would I have avoided manual regrading?

 @john_morris , question groups are not only specific to a course--they are specific to the particular quiz in which you have created them. If you've designed your quizzes so as to place the questions in a question group--without specifying the bank--you don't have access to the regrade functionality, as far as I understand it. The manual regrade process  @kona ​ described in the other discussion would therefore still apply. I put quiz questions in question groups for the sole purpose of randomizing them--and personally, I've never designed a question group by pulling from a bank (in other words, I manually select the questions from the banks rather than specifying a bank and "letting the quiz decide" which questions to pull). I hope I've expressed that clearly!

 @john_morris , as Stefanie indicated a quiz group is associated only with a specific quiz. Yet, many of our faculty pull questions from a question bank into a question group so that they do have the regrade option. What's the difference? By adding the question to a question group (rather than linking) you are breaking the connection between the question in the quiz and the question in your bank. Yes, depending on the question type you can regrade it, but on the downside if you need to fix the question in one place it doesn't fix it everywhere. You have to manually go into every place you have the question and update it.

Hope this helps!