Practice questions activity editor

Ryan Richins
  • Agilix team member
  • Updated:

Practice questions are gradable, question-based activities that use questions you create and/or link question banks.

This activity type is similar to assessments, but, unlike assessments, students can submit, review, and retake each question at a time.

For instant feedback, this activity should only contain automatically-graded questions.

Add this activity to your course.

With the activity editor:

  1. Use the Filter by group icon to make and/or review activity settings that apply only to specific groups.
  2. Preview the activity.
  3. Save changes.
  4. Depending on the type of activity you're editing, the Activity Editor can include up to four tabbed screens:
    • Use the Activity screen to add/edit basic content that, information, and metadata about an activity that is visible/accessible to the students (e.g., activity titles, thumbnail images, introductory content, instructions, attachments students need to complete the activity).
    • Use the Settings screen to configure the way you want the activity to work for the students (e.g., gradebook settings, objective mastery and badge details, visibility, access).
    • The Questions screen only appears for Assessment and Practice Question (formerly Homework) activity types. Use it to create and manage questions.
    • The History screen only appears when changes have been made to an activity since its creation. Use it to review changes and restore previous versions of the activity's content.

Some cards in the Activity Editors are collapsed by default; to expand them, click the arrows.

Activity tab

Use the Activity tab to:

  1. Provide the assessment Title.
  2. Provide a Thumbnail image to represent the activity by clicking the plus sign next to the thumbnail.
    • Recommended file type: PNG or JPG (Buzz converts all files into PNGs.)
    • Ideal size: 400px x 400px (Buzz automatically resizes images, so uploading images smaller than 400px x 400px may reduce quality.)
  1. Create descriptive Content about the activity using the rich text editor. This content always appears at the top of the assessment.
  2. Click Add Activity Instructions to open a rich text editor to create instructions. Students can access this content by clicking a pencil icon at the top of the assessment.
  1. Click Add attachment to provide files for students to review before starting the assessment.
  2. Make a Basic, Standard, and/or Scientific calculator available to students while they complete the assessment.
  3. Click Add under Companion Material to add resources that students can reference while they're taking the assessment. You can only use PDF files here, but no worries: you can easily convert documents and images to pdfs using both PCs and Macs (this is called "printing to pdf").

Settings tab

Activity settings

If you choose to set a Due date (not available for continuous courses), you can specify:

  1. The Due date and time.
  2. Whether you want to Allow late submissions, and, if so, what the Late rule and Grace period rules are.
  3. The Default question score.
  4. Whether you want to:
    • Allow save and continue for the assessment. Meaning students can start an assessment, save it, and return to it later. Without activating this option, students must finish and submit an assessment once they've started it.
    • Keep random values constant for all attempts.
    • Randomize response order.

Gradebook and submission

If you choose to make the activity Gradable, you can specify:

  1. The activity's numeric Weight in category; this number defines how much impact this activity's grade has on the final grade, relative to the other gradable activities in the same category. (Weight in category is not available in courses using Multi-Outcome Scoring.)
  2. The desired Score type (Points, Rubric, Percent (%), or Letter grade):
    • If you choose Rubric, click Add rubric to define it (not available for all assessments).
    • If you choose Letter grade, a field appears where you can select the desired Grade scale.
  3. The Grading category you want the activity to be a part of. Grading Categories allow you to apply different grade settings to groups of activities within the same course.
  4. The grading Period you want the activity to be a part of. Separate grading Periods allow you to divide grades by date range without building additional courses in Buzz.
  5. Whether you want the activity to be considered Extra credit.

In Multi-Outcome Scoring courses, Gradebook and submission allows you to align activities with Scoring objectives and requires you to use Points as the Score entry. Auto-graded activities, like assessments and practice questions, can only be aligned with one scoring objective, so you must choose it from a dropdown menu and then assign the desired number of Pts possible for that objective.


Click Choose Badge to select one or more badges that you want automatically awarded to students who successfully complete this activity.

Learn more:

Objective mastery


Admins can create custom Metadata fields for activities in their domain. This content is only visible to teachers, course authors, etc. and provides further insight into an activity, such as:

  • An activity Description for course authors.
  • An idea of how this activity fits into the goal of the course or the Big Picture.
  • Essential Questions that should be answered by the activity or that students should keep in mind as they complete it.
  • Any relevant Vocabulary.
  • Associated Resources.

Some of the fields under Metadata ask for content that, if set up by your system admin, can be used to make an activity searchable in the Digital Library. Contact your system admin to find out if there are fields in your domain that can be used this way.

Visibility and access

With Visibility and access settings, you can choose to:  

  1. Make the activity Visible to:
    • Students, teachers and observers: This is the default setting for activities intended for students to complete.
    • Teachers and observers: This setting works well for Lesson Guide materials that observers like parents, mentors, etc. need access to. A map icon appears next to these activities in the Activities pages for teachers and observers.
    • Teachers only: This setting works well for Lesson Guide materials that only teachers need. A map icon appears next to these activities in the teacher Activities page.
  2. Check the Hide from student's table of contents and to-do list box. Note that it is still accessible with course links and bookmarks unless otherwise restricted.
  3. Check the Block access until student completes other activity box, click Choose Activity, and select the activity or activities that you want to make access dependent on.
  4. Check the Block access until student masters objective(s) box, click Choose Objective, and select the objective(s) you want to make access dependent on.
  5. Check the Block access until a specified date box and enter the desired date and time.
  6. Check the Student must enter a password box and enter the desired Password. Students must enter this password only once to access the activity.

Advanced gradebook options

Manage Advanced gradebook options, like:

  1. Whether you want to Hide returned scores until a certain date, and, if so, providing the Score visibility date and time.
  2. Defining the minimum Passing score (%).
  3. Settings the Minimum points possible.
  4. Whether:
    • The assessment's Score can be dropped from calculated course score (unavailable if the activity is marked as Extra Credit in Gradebook and submission).
    • To Include this activity's score in the final grade calculation.
    • To Require a passing score for course credit.
    • To Treat as zero in gradebook until this activity is scored (unavailable if the activity is marked as Extra Credit in Gradebook and submission).  

Advanced activity options

Manage Advanced activity options, like:

  1. Completion requirements. You can set the activity to Mark as completed when the student:
    • Views this activity for a specified time
    • Submits this activity
    • Receives any score
    • Receives a passing score
  2. If the Student must complete this activity before continuing to the next one.
  3. Changing the activity's folder Location using the dropdown.
  4. Giving the activity a new Activity ID in the field.

Question-group settings

Practice question activities allow you assign different requirement and review settings to questions within the same activity (for example, you may want to assign a time limit to essay questions, but leave multiple choice questions without one).

To do so, you:

  1. Click Add Question Group.
  2. Configure the settings you want.
  3. Assign the desired questions to the Question Group you configured.

If you don't create groups, all questions are automatically included in the Default group which you can click to review and edit.

Question-group settings include:

  • A Question group name.
  • A Time limit in minutes.
  • Number of attempts allowed.
  • The Attempt minimum required.
  • The ability to Combine all questions in this group into one problem for the student.
  • The Scored attempt you want recorded (Last, First, Highest, or Average).
  • When you want the following review settings to be available: Question results, Student answers, Question score, Correct questions, Correct choices, and Feedback. The options for each are:

Questions tab

History tab

The History tab records changes made to the activity and allows you to retrieve previous versions of the questions, content, and rubrics:

  1. Click the version you want to restore.
  2. Preview the content.
  3. Click Restore.

Buzz does not itemize changes to all settings, but does track them. Users can access them by clicking the Details link that appears at the bottom of the history table.

Comments (4)

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Chad Kafka (FPS)

I am building an assessment and want to collect some data on students BEFORE they take the assessment (student ID#, who their homeroom teacher is, etc).  Would a "Practice Questions" be the way to go?  I don't want this to count toward a grade so I would make it 'ungradable.'  

How can I export their answers as raw data?  (I am thinking I want to spreadsheet some of this to tie to other data I have)  

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How come I can't include Essay types in a Practice assignment?  (It isn't included in the dropdown of question types.)  I realize you can't grade Essays instantly, but I need students to be able to rework one essay question at a time (rather than the entire assignment.)  Is there a setting I can change?  Or another activity type that would work for me?

Here is what I am trying to do:

  1. Student opens assignment and answers several long response questions.
  2. Teacher grades assignment using rubrics.
  3. Student has to rework only the questions they "failed" and submit their new answers.
  4. Teacher grades only the questions they reworked and student gets an updated activity score.

Anyone know how I can accomplish this?

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Bruce Sharp

Hi DR!

I was able to get a Practice to do exactly what you want. Let me preface this with the fact that this is apparently an unintended use of Practice assignments so I can't be held responsible if black smoke starts curling out of your computer or The Scream emoji reaches out of your display and smacks you around.

Now that that's out of the way...

All I did was go to the Text Editor. The first line is where you set the question type. I set it to E (for essay). I made 2 questions. Then I went in as a student and answered them. Going back in as a teacher, it was in my to-do list to grade. I marked 1 right and 1 wrong. I went back in as a student and was able to redo any question as with any practice assignment. Then I went back in as a teacher again and the assignment was back in my to-do list for me to regrade the question I changed as a student. Notice in the image below, the type in the drop down menu is blank. I can only assume I confused it.

ONE MORE TIME - USE AT YOUR OWN RISK! I'm not a programmer, just a math teacher so I probably don't really know what I'm talking about most of the time. ;)

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Bruce, that is a great idea!  I will let you know if the assignments start imploding.

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