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Q: Is there a way to randomize test questions between students so that each student is answering the same questions on a test but in a random order?

by David Smith, Customer Service Manager

A: No. The reason for this is that you lose a lot of validity and standardization in your testing. It may seem reasonable that, since everyone is answering the same questions, one test would be just as difficult as another. Here’s an example of why this might not necessarily be true:

You have 100 students in your class taking a test with 100 questions. Let’s say the test has 50 easy and 50 hard questions in it. Not randomizing the questions allows you to group different topics together, make sure questions that answer each other aren’t next to each other, and that the difficulty of questions within a topic may ramp up or down as the student sees those questions on the test.

Now let’s say we randomize it for each student. Most students will get a test with questions in a random order with a mix of difficulties. And although statistically unlikely, this creates the possibility of 1 student getting “The Cruel Test”. By this I mean the student has the 50 hard questions first followed by the 50 easy questions. By the end of those first 50 questions that student’s brain is a pile of mush. This seems the most insanely difficult test they’ve ever taken. Their confidence is shot and when they get to the 50 easy questions, they’re assuming they’re much harder than they actually are. They’re looking for the tricky part of the question. They know the test is really hard and the fact that these questions now seem so easy makes them think they’re missing something. They’re constantly second-guessing themselves on questions that the students with tests that aren’t so “hard-question-heavy” on the front end breeze right through.

So although the content is the same, the conditions vary wildly from student to student. For most students your test will be gauging their knowledge of a certain topic, while for some students the test will be gauging their ability to handle consecutive very difficult situations, as well as their confidence in the knowledge they possess.

That being said, there is a slight workaround depending on the amount of work you want to put into it. If you were to create a new test(Naming it something like “Airway Quiz Ver. 2”), and then use the “Add From Tests” button to populate your test with questions from the original test, you’d end up with a new test covering the same material but with the questions scrambled. Then you can review the order of questions, and click and drag questions around if you’d like to adjust the order(and potentially avoid too many extremely difficult questions in a row). Once you finalize the test you’ll have a different version that can be administered in the class.

You could then repeat this process for as many different versions of a test as you’d like. When administering these tests, you’d want to make sure to instruct students to only take a certain version(the first five students on your roster take version 2, the next five take version 2, etc.), which should help with concerns of students looking over each other’s shoulders.

After the test is completed though, you’ll want to make sure to go back to “View Gradebook” and hover over the 0%’s that students who did not take a certain version of the test received, and “Hide” the grade so it does not factor into their overall grade.

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