Guide to Creating Quality Assessments

Note: This guide was created for authors developing assessments for Active Learning but is also generally applicable to any assessment type, including those for interactive ebooks or instructor resources.


Assessments should gauge whether students know the fundamental concepts covered in the material and have developed the ability to use that information in further analysis or application. Automatically graded quizzes and exams are vital assessment methods for digital learning. A thoughtfully constructed quiz can support critical thinking, provide new examples, and allow students to apply their knowledge.

When it’s time to write, creating questions that cover topics with appropriate weight, clarity, and difficulty can prove challenging. We developed this guide specifically to help authors who are feeling stuck; it contains answers to common questions, best practices, and tips and pointers for some of the dos and don’ts when developing automated questions. The guide should largely reinforce what you already know and provide you with a few ways to get started.

Your Cognella Active Learning project editor is here to support you through each step in the content development of your digital course. Please contact your project editor for additional guidance.

Formatting Note: The following tips are meant as a general guideline for developing test questions and are not focused on question formatting. Generally speaking, there should be enough questions of varying difficulties to gauge mastery of the key concepts with room for randomized testing. 

Please refer to our Test Bank Development Guide for tips on formatting questions for online learning. We recommend sending your Active Learning project editor a sample of assessments from two chapters so they can provide you with feedback on quiz quality and formatting before you create all quizzes or exams for your title.