How to best handle a make-up quiz

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Hi Everyone,

I'm not sure how to easily ask this question or whether what I am about to share will make sense, but I figure it's worth a shot.

I teach a statistical literacy course that sometimes has up to 1000 students per semester.  This summer, I have about 315 students.  I have set things up so that our online midterm and final exams will each consist of 25 multiple-choice questions.  Our midterm exam is next week, and I set up several question groups to pull random questions from many question banks so as to hopefully present each student with a somewhat unique exam.  For each question on the quiz, there are essentially between two to four different versions of that question that might be selected for each student.

There is a particular window of time in which the exam will be available for students to take.  They have from 12 a.m. on Wednesday until 12 p.m on Thursday to complete the exam.  Once they start the exam, they must finish in 90 minutes. I am not using webcams or any type of proctoring service.  Questions will be presented one a time to students, and students have been advised that they can use any notes they want but cannot confer with other people during the exam.  Each exam is just a small percentage of the overall grade so as to hopefully discourage academic misconduct.  

Here is my dilemma...Every semester, no matter what, we always run into issues where some students just cannot be available during our exam window to take the exam.  In some cases, they can be available very soon after, and it's no problem for me to simply delay sharing feedback with the rest of the class and simply extend the window for a few days to those students who have conflicts.  My issue is how to best handle a situation where a student might not be able to take an exam for a week or more after the rest of the class has taken it.  If I have released grades and feedback to the rest of the class, what can I do for the student who needs to complete a make-up exam?  I think I'm struggling to figure this out because the grade in Carmen is tied to the original exam I set up.  It's not like I can easily create a whole new exam in Carmen for the student who needs to make up the exam and then have that student's grade be automatically sent to the grade book, could I?

Again, I hope this makes sense.  I'm just wondering if there is a workaround of some kind.  Could I set up a special make-up exam as a practice exam for a student and then just take the grade the student gets on that exam and manually enter it into the grade book?  I feel a student who takes the exam well after the rest of the class might need a whole new set up questions simply because the original exam questions will be out there and will have likely been talked about.  However, maybe I'm thinking about this in the wrong way.

Thank you for any advice you might have to share!


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Community Champion


It's not like I can easily create a whole new exam in Carmen for the student who needs to make up the exam and then have that student's grade be automatically sent to the grade book, could I?

Except for the "easily" part, yes.

You can assign a different quiz to the student without too much difficulty. It's called differentiated assignments and is covered in the Canvas Instructor Guide.

If you create a separate exam, then you could go into the gradebook and enter EX for excused for the grade for the students who missed the original one. For the second exam, only assign it to the students who need it. Make sure both the original and make up exam are inside the same assignment group so any weights and drop rules are applied.

The grade for the makeup doesn't have to go into the existing quiz. When computing a grade, Canvas only uses assignments that have actual scores in them. For students who don't have a grade for the original quiz, then Canvas won't count the original quiz. For students who don't have a grade for a makeup, then Canvas won't count the makeup.

I relied on that behavior in the gradebook with my statistics final from the spring. Instead of using question groups within a single quiz, I actually created four different versions of the quiz. Since I can program a little, I wrote a script that would pull questions from the question bank in a particular pattern (for example, group 1 got all the odd questions, group 2 got all the even questions, group 3 got the first 5 questions of each type and group 4 got the last 5 questions of each type). Then went through and assigned each student a version of it (I only had 40 students, not 1000). Since my class started off face to face, I had a sense of who was friends with whom and who worked together on projects and I made sure they got different versions of the exam. Otherwise, I let Excel randomize a list of student names for me and put about 1/4 of the class into each version. That does not really scale to 1000 students.

The downside to different assignments is that you get an column in the gradebook for each assignment. If you need to use that grade for reporting purposes, you have to combine them together (doesn't take long in Excel, but still there is an extra step). You may also get a sparsely populated gradebook where there are a lot of students who are missing grades for an assignment just because they didn't have it assigned.

Practice quizzes are not the panacea people think they are. It is true that you do not get a grade in the gradebook for them and so with Classic Quizzes so it is useful for excluding a quiz from the grading. Practice quizzes don't show up in SpeedGrader (there's nothing to grade since it's practice), but the results can be obtained through the Quiz page (Options / Show student quiz results) or Moderate quiz. You could transfer that grade over and enter it for the other quiz.

However, practice quizzes don't show up on the To Do list or on their calendar for the student. For years, I had a practice quiz for the final that I kept hyping in class but would get about 40% of the class who never took it. I finally (last fall) figured out that it wasn't just because it wasn't for a grade and so it wasn't worth their time, it was because it wasn't on the To Do list. Make sure you are in communication with the students who missed the exam so they know where to find it.

The real difficulty is in creating a new quiz. You can copy a New Quiz to duplicate it. There are work-arounds to copy a quiz with Classic Quizzes. It doesn't sound like either of those will give you the desired result though. If all you wanted was another copy of the same quiz, you could use the differentiated assignment approach to assign the existing quiz to the student.

It sounds like you're talking about making up an entirely different quiz with different questions. Even though there are only 25 questions, that's a lot of work and time for one student.

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