Tests and quizzes in the (virtual) classroom

This article covers synchronous test and quizzes, i.e. ones you can run in real time either in a classroom or during a webinar.

For asynchronous delivery see ‘Tests and quizzes – which tool do I choose?

Tests and quizzes in the classroom support learning in the same way as those done outside class, but the emphasis may be different. For example, encouraging interaction and engagement is likely to be a primary purpose of such tests, with formative feedback being a lower priority.

Mentimeter, as UWE’s chosen polling software, is the main tool recommended for interactive tests and quizzes in the classroom. If you are holding a class online, there is also a basic polling feature in Blackboard Collaborate Ultra.

Blackboard Collaborate Ultra

The polling tool in Collaborate is very simple, with only ‘Yes/No’ and ‘Multiple Choice’ question types (5 answers maximum). It is designed for getting an instant sense of how your class is feeling or how well they are following, rather than actual testing. As such, it is only possible to prepare one question at a time, and once the polling has finished the data is no longer available.

However, if used together with your slides, the polling tool has more flexibility. The questions and answers can be prepared in advance and the polling tool simply used as an indicator. This saves you having to type your question into the polling tool during the session. Instead, have your questions on your slides with options 1, 2, 3 etc. for each. Then you can run a blank poll with the correct number of options, and students can simply select the number for the corresponding answer. While the poll is running, you as the moderator will be able to see which option each participant has selected as a number will appear next to their name in the Participant list.

The Blackboard Help Pages have excellent instructions for setting up polling.

You can also use Mentimeter in a Collaborate session by sharing your screen and advising the students to open menti.com in a separate browser tab or on their phone.

Tip: if you only have a single screen, use Mentimote to make this easier.


When using Mentimeter synchronously for formative testing, you can make use of a wider range of question types than using it asynchronously, as you are there to provide immediate feedback. So while only the Multiple Choice and Multiple Image slides give you the option to show a correct answer, in class you could also use Word Cloud, Open Ended or Ranking for example, then tell the class the answers after you have closed the voting.

The results are anonymous, but you will get an instant picture of how the class as a whole has responded. This means you can move on if most people have answered correctly, or go over the topic again if there are many wrong answers.

Mentimeter Quiz Competition

One feature of Mentimeter that can be used effectively in synchronous sessions is the Quiz Competition. Students can work individually or in groups, using a nickname, to compete against each other and get a place on the leaderboard. You choose how long they get for each question (between 5 and 1000 seconds). Optionally, you can also give more points for faster answers.

There are two types of question you can use in a quiz, Select Answer (multiple choice) or Type Answer, where students must type a word (or a couple of words) rather than pick from a list. They are automatically marked and scored, and you can choose to have leaderboards in between questions or just one at the end.

See the Mentimeter help pages on quizzes for more information.

*Note Mentimeter can also be used asynchronously.


Photo by Pixabay from Pexels