How do I set up Essay questions?

  • Updated:

Essay questions ask students to answer with a long answer or essay.

Buzz let's you provide an example answer and feedback that students can immediately receive and review.

If enabled in your domain, you can also allow students to record and upload video or audio responses as part of an essay question.

Note: Because Practice questions activities are meant to give students immediate feedback to respond to, essay questions are not available in them.

Create Essay questions

Essay questions can be added to assessments.

  1. Add the Assessment activity.
  2. Add an essay question to the activity.
  3. Follow the directions, below.

Question content

  1. Specify how many Points the question is worth.
  2. Enter the question as you want it displayed to students.
  3. Enter an Example Answer that is used by graders to compare and evaluate students' answers.
    • Note: Buzz does not include the Example Answer header shown in the image for students, allowing you to format and choose your headers for Example answers and Feedback.
  1. This section pictures and explains the default visual editor; enable the Text editor to create and edit questions with the advanced Text editor.


Click Add feedback to create various types of feedback.


To manage the question's Interaction:

  • Specify the initial number of lines you want to provide students in the Minimum height field (the field will automatically expand to accommodate content added by the student).
  • Provide a Minimum and Maximum number of words if desired. Students are shown these guidelines and their own word count; however, they are allowed to submit an answer even if they have not met the guidelines.
  • If one or more passages have been included in the activity, you can select one to attach to this question from the Include passage dropdown.
  • Provide a Custom question definition (contact support for additional assistance).


Add the question to an existing Group with the associated ID, or create a new one. Groups allow you to vary settings for different questions.

Learn more: How do I vary attempt limits by question?

Objective mastery

Click Choose objective in the Objective mastery card to review and align the question with objective(s). Once you've clicked it, you can:

  1. Use the Filter field to search for specific objectives.
  2. Check the boxes next to objectives to align them with the question. This makes it possible to set up Formative and Remediation assessments.


Use the Score card to:

  1. Indicate if you want the question to count as Extra credit.
  2. Provide a Rubric to use for grading the question.


With the Variables section you can create a range or list of variables for use in the question.  



Check the appropriate box(es) to provide students with one or more of the following calculators to use with this question (Basic, Standard, and/or Scientific). This can also be specified for the entire activity with the Assessment activity editor.

Companion Material

Click Add material in Companion Material to attach any supplemental documents students need to complete this question. You can do this by:

  1. Pointing to existing resources in the course.
  2. Uploading new files (PDFs only).

Have a question or feedback? Let us know over in Discussions!