Brown DLD Faculty Guides

Exam and Quiz Digital Tools

Updated on

Below are descriptions of several online tools for administering quizzes and exams. We recommend you go with what you know first, especially if you don’t have time to invest in learning a new tool and instructing your students in its use.


Brown’s learning management system (LMS) has an easy-to-use, built-in quiz tool. This can be used for objective and subjective question types, with the former automatically graded by Canvas. Grading is done in Speedgrader. Some of the quiz features include,

  • 11 question types
  • Programmed feedback
  • Rich text, images, video in questions/prompts
  • Question grouping
  • Questions reused across your courses
  • Quiz can be assigned to individuals or the whole class
  • Moderation (allow additional time/attempts for individuals)

Some configuration options can be used to increase testing integrity. Students should be made aware of how these options affect their experience before taking the quiz. Options include,

  • Availability window
  • Time limit
  • Randomized questions and/or answers
  • One question at a time
  • Question locking (after answering)

Top Hat

Instructors looking to administer high-stakes exams may opt for Top Hat Test, which provides some level of exam security with a lock-out feature. While Top Hat Test works best in a face-to-face environment, instructors can administer a Top Hat Test virtually.


  • 9 question types, including formula answers
  • Automatic grading for multiple choice questions
  • Randomized question order
  • Customizable lock-out settings based on browser and screenshot activity
  • PDF export of exam questions
  • Canvas integration that allows for grade sync
  • Unique test code for students to enter the exam


  • To use Top Hat Test, faculty must first have their Top Hat Account set up and synced with their Canvas site.
  • Faculty should create a top level folder that will hold the exam to make for easy Canvas sync later.
  • Faculty are encouraged to write clear instructions on the exams so students know the expectations.
  • At the start of the exam, faculty must clearly communicate the unique test code to students, preferably through a Canvas Announcement with limited availability.
  • Be sure to end the exam when the time limit for administering the exam has been met. 


Gradescope is an assignment submission, grading, and analytics platform that leverages AI and a logical UI workflow to make grading more efficient and standardized. It is a stand-alone tool that can integrate with Canvas to synchronize course rosters and grades. Gradescope can accept instructor-scanned handwritten submissions from an in-class exam or submissions from students taking the exam remotely.


  • No more paper submissions: Students can scan and upload handwritten assignments directly to Gradescope.
  • AI Grouping: Gradescope can attempt to group student answers for certain answer types (multiple choice, math, and short answer). Once answers are grouped, graders need only grade submissions per group rather than every student. 
  • Dynamic rubrics: Grading rubrics are created as part of the grading process. These rubrics are shared across all graders. Any updates to the rubric will apply to all submissions. 
  • Easily handle regrade requests: Instructors can allow students to request regrades for specific questions. This ability can be toggled on or off.
  • Grade by question rather than student: The Gradescope user interface presents student work by question rather than by student. This means that graders will grade one (or more) question(s) across the entire class instead of all questions for a subset of students.
  • Posting grades: Instructors can release grades to students with one click. Grades can also be posted to Canvas.


  • Double assignment creation: In order for Gradescope to post scores to Canvas, instructors must create corresponding assignments in both Gradescope and Canvas. 
  • AI and assignment limitations: to receive the full benefit from Gradescope's AI, assignments must be constructed with a template. If student submissions do not match the layout of the original instructor template, the AI will fail. 

For information on setting up your Gradescope courses, see this knowledgebase article. For new Gradescope users, please email [email protected] to arrange a consultation. 


Turnitin is a plagiarism detection tool that helps ensure that the writing students submit is their own work. It checks submitted work against online sources and returns an “originality report” with matched text linked to specific sources. It can exclude bibliographic information and quoted text. 

Turnitin could be enabled for traditional writing assignments as well as assessments that are adapted from in-class proctored exams, from objective or short answer type to longer essay type questions that are harder to share or lift from other sources without detection. Turnitin also integrates with the discussion tool Harmonize, so posts can be run through plagiarism detection (which is not possible with Canvas discussions). 

Turnitin is enabled within Canvas and can only be used when students submit an assignment through Canvas. (Instructors cannot submit student papers to check for plagiarism.) The details of the results can be made available to students, which may help them understand how to properly cite source material (especially when used for a draft). The University of Wisconsin-Madison produced an excellent guide illustrating how to properly integrate source material into one’s writing: Quoting and Paraphrasing.

Previous Article Proctoring
Next Article Overview: Designing Effective Group Work
Still need help? Contact DLD