The activity list on Moodle, showing the Moodle assignment icon highlighted.

December 4, 2023, by Ben Atkinson

Dropboxes and Quizzes for Assessment in Moodle 4.1

In this post, we outline the process of creating Moodle Dropboxes and Quizzes in your module for formative or summative student assessment.

A Moodle Assignment (also called a Moodle Dropbox) is an activity requiring students to either upload files or text, or that relates to an offline or other activity that needs to be marked. A Moodle Quiz meanwhile is an MCQ (Multiple Choice Quiz) activity in Moodle which can be used to run formative assessments which require students to answer a series of questions, rather than uploading files or text.

For Moodle Assignment, you can also use Turnitin. However it should be noted that Turnitin in a Moodle assignment is solely intended for the production of similarity reports and not for marking and feedback.

Moodle Assignments (Dropboxes)

You can create a Moodle assignment in any module site by navigating to the relevant topic on your module and using the ‘Add an Activity or Resource’ button. Before you add your Moodle assignment, you will need to ensure the edit mode is turned on (Toggle switch on the top menu bar of Moodle 4.1).

To create your Moodle assignment:

  1. Navigate to your module and click the editing icon (located in the top-right of the screen)   
  2. Within the section you wish to create the assignment click on the + Add an activity or resource link.
  3. Towards the top, in the ACTIVITIES section, click the icon for ‘Assignment’ and the assignment settings page will load

Moodle activity search showing icons for different types of activity.

4. Fill in and select your options from the Settings page. The settings are outlined below

5. When you have finished with the settings, click on the Save and display button to start adding questions

6. When you have finished your quiz, click the ‘Turn editing off’ button.

Moodle Assignment Settings

There are a number of assignment settings which you will need to be aware of when creating your Moodle assignment activity.


General section

The general settings window for a Moodle assignment, including name and description boxes.

  • “Assignment name”: Enter the assignment name, preferably recognisable and unique.
  • “Description”: In the Description enter information about expected file type the student should submit and also provide a link to the assignment submission checklist: This link helps increase the chances of  the student’s work being successfully submitted.
    • To add the checklist link either type in the link address or the word Submission checklist. Highlight the link address or the words then press the chain icon button Link icon
    • A pop up window will appear. Type the link address in the “Enter a URL” text box. Check the box for “Open in new window” (this will mean the checklist opens in a new tab). Then press the Create link’ button.

Create a link within your Moodle assignment.

  • “Display description on module page”: Tick this box for the Description text to appear beneath the Moodle assignment, this is recommended because it enables students to see any key information before they submit.
  • “Additional files”: If you want to add a file for students that will assist them in the assignment then you can add this here.

Beyond these general settings, you can define the availability settings of the assignment, the types of file you will allow students to upload and whether or not your assignment will be group submission. A full overview of these settings can be found on our workspace page for creating Moodle assignments.

Moodle Quizzes

Moodle quiz is a MCQ (multiple choice quiz) activity which can be used for formative assessment. There are many question types in Moodle quiz. A key feature is that it allows the use of MathJax for Mathematical notation and STACK style questions throughout the activity in questions, student answers and feedback.

If you are creating online summative exams then ExamSys should be used. It is more secure than Moodle quiz and has features that are used to support the full lifecycle of a summative exam.

There are lots of additional settings you can enable for your Moodle quiz depending on the kind of assessment you are running. This includes availability, timing, grading and feedback. You can find out more about all these settings for Moodle quiz on our workspace page.

Adding Questions to your Moodle Quiz

There are lots of different types of question in Moodle Quiz and you can find out more about them in our earlier blog post covering different question types.

Follow the steps below to add questions to your Moodle quiz:

  1. Enter the “Question name”.  This is not the question, just the title for your information, students will not see this.
  2. Enter the “Question text”.  This is the actual question you would like the students to answer.
  3. Enter the “Default mark” that can be gained from this question.  You can amend this later on via the ‘question page’ if you need to.
  4. Optional:  Enter some “General feedback” for the students taking the quiz.  This is shown to all students after the quiz whatever their answers.  This is a useful tool if you’d like to give students some links to further information, possibly in the module itself, relevant to the question.
  5. Enter the “Answers” for the question.  The layout for this section varies for every question.  In some case you can even incorporate images into the question; if you choose to do this it’s better to upload an image that to paste it in as sometimes this provides an error message.
  6. Optional:  Enter some general feedback for students with correct, partially correct and incorrect answers.  This doesn’t need to be a statement about the correct answer as they can see this at the end of the quiz (dependent on quiz settings).
  7. Optional:  Provide some hints to go with the quiz.  This feature can be useful if you use the hint text.  The other options involve ruling out all incorrect answers or highlighting all correct answers.
  8. You can shuffle the choices if you wish (default is yes)
  9. Ensure that one of the choices (the correct one) has a grade of 100% (or some combination of choices)
  10. Once complete click on the Save changes button.

Further information and guidance

You can find further guidance on all aspects of assessment within Moodle on our workspace pages for this topic.

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