You are now in the main content area

Manage quiz question delivery

In this document, we will highlight a few recommended ways to manage the delivery of questions in an online test or exam.

  • Create unique exams by selecting a random subset of questions
  • Shuffle the order of the questions in a quiz or question pool
  • Limit the number of questions per page
  • Prevent backtracking to previous questions / pages of questions

Encourage Academic Integrity

D2L Brightspace includes several features that you can implement to encourage academic integrity in an online quiz.

One way to combat cheating is to randomize questions so that students will not see questions in the same order, or even the same selection of questions.

You may also find it useful to randomize questions if you wish to recycle questions previously used in quizzes or other assessments, so that students do not see the exact same selection of questions or in the same question order.

You can also randomize the answers to questions, for example, by shuffling the order of multiple choice answer options, or by allowing D2L to generage a random set of variables for math questions.

D2L Brightspace offers a few ways for you to organize and randomize questions and answers, to suit the way you would like to present a quiz. This was previously called a "random section", and is now called a "question pool".


Find the Quizzes tool in the top menu bar, under Assessment. If it isn't there, review how to enable course tools.

Three steps to creating a quiz:

Multiple choice questions provide a statement or question with a list of possible answers. To randomize the order in which possible answers appear, simply check “Randomize answers for each student” after inputting your potential answers.

Arithmetic questions allow you to appraise students' understanding of mathematics. You can ensure each respondent receives a unique question by including variables enclosed with curly braces that randomly generate numbers within the problem.

This feature is available for the following question types: Arithmetic (2+2) and Significant Figures (x10). To generate random numbers, add as many variables as needed. You can give your variables a name (for example, x and y) and provide a minimum and maximum value that you want to be used for that variable. You will then write your question text and formula using your variables (for example, “What is the sum of {x} plus {y}?”).

The following two features may have the potential to improve academic integrity in your online quizzes, however they are not guaranteed to prevent cheating, and they can create difficulties for students with regard to accessibility.

Many students use test writing strategies such as reviewing the entire test prior to answering questions, or skipping questions when they don't know the answer and returning later. These strategies work well for students with disabilities and many students without accommodations also use these test taking strategies. We, therefore, ask that you use these features with caution.

Limit the number of questions per page

You can limit the number of questions that appear on each page to create one more obstacle to the copying of entire tests.

Please keep in mind that this also requires more saving to the server (each time the student proceeds through the pages), and can take more time for students who are not on the fastest internet connection.

Prevent backtracking

You can also prevent students from going back to pages of questions they have already seen. This limits the ability to send out requests for answers to a specific question and go back to answer it later. 

These options are found in the Quiz Editor, on the "Properties" tab.

Before you begin:

Make sure all of the questions have been created, and added to the quiz.

Set the number of questions per page

Limit the number of questions per page

  • In the Quiz editor, go to the "Quiz Questions" section.
  • In the "Questions per page" field, indicate how many questions should be assigned to each page, then click "Apply".
  • Notice that a line will appear to identify each page.

If you revisit this page later, you will see that the "Questions per page" field may be empty - HOWEVER, the line dividing the pages will still be visible.

If you add or remove any questions, you will need to re-apply the questions per page setting to properly re-distribute the questions.

Prevent backtracking

  • To prevent students from going back to pages they have already seen, check the box to "Prevent moving backwards through pages".

The questions are all created in the quiz directly, and the order is set to be shuffled (randomized). The students would see all of the same questions, but in a different order.

This option is found in the Quiz Editor, on the "Properties" tab.

This setting will shuffle any questions that were added directly into the quiz, along with the contents of entire sections. It will not, howvever, shuffle the questions within the sections.

Set to shuffle the questions at the quiz level
  • In the Quiz editor, go to the "Quiz Questions" section.
  • Check the box to "Shuffle questions at the quiz level"

You may wish to create a group of questions in your quiz that are all related by topic or difficulty, but present them in a random order, to reduce the potential for cheating.

To do this, you create a section of like questions in the Question Library, then use a Question Pool to include them in your quiz.

  • A section allows you to divide your questions into separate "folders". 
  • question pool is a group of questions in a quiz that can be set to randomly display all (or a subset) of the questions to each student.

In this example, we see how an entire pool can be shuffled to provide each student with a different order of questions.

*Keep in mind that if you will be presenting students with a random selection of questions from this pool, that the questions should be of a similar difficulty level, to ensure that the quiz is fair to all students

This option is found in the Quiz Editor, on the "Properties" tab.

3. Click on the grey "Add/Edit Questions" button.

4. At the top of the screen, click on the blue New button, and select Question Pool.

5. Type in the Question Pool Title. This should provide some context for the questions contained in this pool.

6. Add questions from the Question Library by clicking on the grey Browse Question Library button. This will load a list of available questions from the Question Library in a popover window.

7. Sections are indicated with a sideways triangle outline icon to the left. If you wish to select all questions in a section, check the box beside the section name.

To select particular questions in a section, first click the triangle icon to expand. Then, check the box beside individual questions to select them.

8. When you are happy with your selections, click on the blue Add button at the bottom of the screen.

The popover will close and you will now see the Question Pool settings page again.

9. In the Number of Questions to Select field, type in a number that is greater than zero, but no larger than the number of questions that are listed (which are indicated for your reference, to the right of the text box).

If you want all students to see all questions from this pool, make the number the same as the number of questions.

To present a random subset of questions in this section:
If you want students to complete a subset of questions from the pool, for example, a random selection of 5 from a pool of 10 questions, type in that number.

10. In the Points per Question field, type in how many points each question is worth (typically 1 point).

11. When you are happy with your choices, click on the blue Save button to save your Question Pool details, and return to the Edit/Add Questions page.

12. Click on the blue Done Editing Question button in the upper right to return to the Properties tab for your quiz.

13. Click on the blue Save and Close button at the bottom of the screen to commit these changes to your quiz.

Within a question pool, you can choose to randomly display a particular number of questions from the larger pool of questions in that section. For example, display any 4 out of 7 available questions.

Each student would see a different selection of questions from the same pool of questions, and in a different order than others taking the quiz.

Learn how to choose a subset of questions from a question pool in step 9 in the instructions on this page to "Create a question pool in the quiz".