Moodle has two primary activities that can be used as platforms for assessments: Quiz and Assignment. Both have strengths and weaknesses. Additionally, Google Assignment is a more recent alternative. For more information on all options, please watch the video on designing assessments in Moodle.


The Quiz activity offers an extremely powerful and flexible system with which to design largely traditional assessments, and is useful when the goal is to develop an assessment that closely resembles a typical “paper based” quiz or exam. For more information, we recommend the excellent documentation on Quiz at UMass. Some advantages include:

  • the ability to provide a timed assessment within a broader window (i.e., a student can take the quiz anytime within a 3-day period, but when started only has 30 minutes to complete it)
  • the ability to override certain settings to accommodate students with documented academic accommodations (e.g., extra time) or who live in different time zones, or even whole groups (e.g., different sections of the same course)
  • automatic grading of many question types, such as multiple choice, with the ability to override as needed
  • grading templates to provide students with, e.g., a rubric or model answer, or to provide teachers with a grading rubric for specific questions
  • multiple mechanisms to prevent certain academic integrity concerns, with features such as question banks and randomized order of questions/answer choices

Quiz also has some disadvantages as well, however, such as:

  • works best over a stable Internet connection and may have trouble resuming an attempt that was disconnected
  • developing effective question banks is a serious time investment (though they can be “carried forward” into subsequent offerings of the course)
  • limited support for uploaded/attached files
  • fine-tuning the grading, layout, and behavior can be tedious


The Assignment activity is also often used for assessments, offering certain advantages, including:

  • able to accept multiple numbers and kinds of files (Word, PDF, PowerPoint, etc.)
  • robust grading platform, including the ability to add short audio or video feedback to submissions, as well as files (e.g., marked up or commented) and traditional typed comments
  • multiple grading options, such as a powerful rubric authoring system, as well as qualitative/scale-based and ungraded
  • possible to delay releasing grades until completely finished
  • submissions can be downloaded in bulk, graded, and then re-uploaded in bulk as feedback files
  • messaging specific students from the assignments

The disadvantages of Assignment include:

  • capturing handwritten work requires a more complex workflow (e.g., taking a picture, importing into a scanning app, converting to PDF, saving it somewhere accessible, then uploading it into Moodle)
  • ┬áthe delayed-release grading system can be somewhat tedious
  • image files generally will not display in the grading interface and must be downloaded
  • more prone to academic integrity concerns, especially if providing the same exam to all students (could be shared easily)

Google Assignment

Similar to Assignment, Google Assignment offers an alternative that may be preferable.

  • facilitates submission of Google Docs, in addition to other file types (such as images)
  • access to robust commenting and markup tools within the Google Docs interface, as well as comment banks for commonly-used feedback
  • built-in mechanism for delayed grade release is standard and straightforward

The primary disadvantage of Google Assignment is that it is relatively new and not as well-tested as the standard Moodle Assignment.

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