Assessments (Quizzes / Exams)


Applies to: Starter, Pro, Plus, & Enterprise Plans

Assessments are a key component to any course requiring learners to be evaluated on their understanding of the content. Absorb offers built in assessments that allow you to build quizzes and exams in a simple but powerful fashion. This guide will go through the details of setting up an exam or a quiz while outlining the various options and customizations provided in order to suit your needs.

To get started, assessments can be added to any new or existing online course by adding a new ASSESSMENT-type learning object in the course syllabus: 


Aside from the learning object title and description, the first set of options you will be presented with in the details tab is whether the assessment is weighted or not. This is where the difference between a quiz and an exam comes in. Exam scores are weighted (ASSESSMENT IS WEIGHTED = ON) and will count towards the learner's final grade in the overall course, while a quiz (ASSESSMENT IS WEIGHTED = OFF) can be considered a lightweight "refresher", provided to a learner after their primary training. A quiz's score will still be tracked by the LMS at the lesson level, but this score will not be tracked or have any impact on the overall course score achieved by the learner (if any).

ASSESSMENT WEIGHT values are used to add emphasis to certain assessments over others. Assessments with larger weights count more towards the final grade than those with smaller weights. For more information on Assessment Weights take a look at our Weighting article.

In addition to the assessment weight, you'll also have the option to specify a GRADE TO PASS. The behaviour of a failed attempt vs. a passed attempt will be explained below, but this is where you'll determine that threshold.   


A number of additional assessment configurations can be made in the OPTIONS tab. Many of these relate to how your question and answers are to be displayed to your learners: randomizing question/answer order, single-page layout vs. 1 page per question, whether or not to show feedback after the learner has submitted their answer, whether or not to allow navigation between questions, timed assessments, etc. The OPTIONS tab also is where you'll enable two very important options: ALLOW MULTIPLE ATTEMPTS and ALLOW FAILURE.

When enabling ALLOW MULTIPLE ATTEMPTS you can specify the number of attempts the learner will have to pass the assessment. When disabled, the learner will have one chance to submit their answers and, if they fail to meet the GRADE TO PASS, they will not be able to launch the lesson again. This will potentially prevent them from finishing the course (more on failure options below) but, if necessary, admins can assist in granting additional attempts on an individual basis. When enabling multiple attempts, you'll have the option to choose the maximum number of attempts (or unlimited) as well as how to handle additional attempts after the user has passed. You can specify whether or not to allow additional attempts and, if so, whether to send higher passing grades to the course level or only to accept the initial passing grade. 

Assessment Failure

Launching an Absorb assessment will change the learning object's status to In Progress. By default, if a learner fails to achieve the minimum grade to pass in the number of attempts granted, their status will just be left In Progress until it is changed to Completed by a passing attempt (if ever). If you would like to actually implement a Failed lesson status, you can do so by enabling the ALLOW FAILURE toggle in the Options tab. Failure will only be achieved once the maximum number of attempts has been exceeded without a passing score. If an assessment has 3 attempts, the user will not see their learning object's status change to Failed until the third attempt has been submitted. It is also important to note that failure can never be achieved if the assessment is configured to allow unlimited attempts (field is blank).

If a learner fails the assessment, you have a couple options for what to do with them, including the ability to retake the assessment after a certain number of days (resetting their number of attempts) or resetting all of the lessons in the course (usually requiring them to re-take the learning content).

Finally, it is important to mention the concept of course-level failure vs. lesson level failure. Absorb's online courses (the level above the assessment learning object setup) also feature their own toggle in the COMPLETION tab. This will work in tandem with assessment failure. On its own, assessment-level failure will simply mark the learning object in the syllabus as failed (with a red "X" icon), but this failure will not roll up to the course level. At worst, the learner would just be left In Progress as they failed to meet the requirements for the course. However, if ALLOW FAILURE is also enabled at the course level if you'd like to report a failed status at this level (used for most reports) to your admins, as well as your learners. Course-level failure will require at least one learning object in the course to be fail-able, either a built-in or third-party (SCORM / Tin Can / AICC) assessment, or a task.


The MESSAGES tab is fairly self-explanatory: this just offers the ability to customize the messages presented to your learners when they first launch the assessment and when the pass or fail it.


The last tab is the QUESTIONS tab where the actual assessment is created. Absorb assessments are seamlessly (as far as user experience) broken into groups of questions, allowing greater flexibility for asking all, or a random number of, questions from each group. For example, your first question group could select 5 out of 20 questions at random while your second question group asks all 3 of the mandatory questions in it.

In each question group you have the option of adding questions directly to the assessment (CREATE QUESTION) or to pull questions from a previously built bank of questions (USE QUESTION BANK - more on this below). When adding questions you'll have a field for the actual question itself, and then the option to set the answer type to either MULTIPLE CHOICE (either single or multi-answer) or TEXT. You can also assign a weight to each question making some questions worth more than others when calculating the final grade.

At the time of writing this article, Absorb's QUESTION field does not currently have a text editor for formatting your question text. However, it does actually accept many HTML tags which can be used for things like basic text formatting (i.e. <b>this would be bold</b>, <span style="red;">this would be red</span>, etc.) and even things like embedding images, video, or audio. 

Question Banks 

As mentioned earlier, question groups also allow you to add pre-built QUESTION BANKS instead of directly adding questions to this assessment. This is especially useful when working with sets of questions that may be re-used in multiple different assessments or courses. Questions banks can be created outside of the online course setup, back in the COURSES > QUESTION BANKS. Question bank setup is very similar to the workflow of adding questions directly, as discussed previously, and once set up can be called in your assessment's question group by clicking USE QUESTION BANK. This will bring the entire bank into the question group, which can be filtered down using the group's ASK CERTAIN NUMBER OF QUESTIONS FROM THE GROUP option for randomly choosing a certain number of questions from the bank (or even multiple banks if more than one is added). 

Viewing the Assessment 

The options enabled for your assessment will slightly change how your assessment is presented to your learners in the learner interface, but the following is representative of a typical multi-page assessment with navigation enabled: 
Another setup might be a timed, single-page layout: 


Lastly, once users have taken the exam it's important to be able to report on the results. Learners' attempts and results can be viewed in the REPORTS > ASSESSMENTS report. Once you select the course, clicking the assessment will give two options in the sidebar: QUESTIONS REPORT and USERS OVERVIEW. The QUESTIONS REPORT and its associated sub-reports focus primarily on reporting from a per-question perspective, offering stats related to how your users answered each question. Alternatively, the USERS OVERVIEW and associated sub-reports will report more from a per-user perspective; you'll see every user enrolled in the course and the score achieved in the assessment. Selecting a user allows you to view their USER ANSWERS REPORT that shows how they answered each question and whether they were correct or not. 

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