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Format Questions for Respondus or Studymate

Respondus desktop software for Windows allows you to import a variety of question types from a text (.txt) or rich-text (.rtf) file.  This page explains how to format questions for import.

For information about downloading Respondus (free for UMass Amherst faculty and staff), see Respondus: Enhanced Quizzing.

Once you've formatted your questions (as described below), save as a MS Word (.doc or .docx), rich-text (.rtf) or plain text (.txt) file, and  import the file to Respondus: see Import Questions to Respondus.

Note: If you are have only Multiple Choice and True/False questions, and your goal is to import the questions to Moodle, you may prefer to use the Aiken format for formatting questions. Aiken formatted text documents can be imported directly to Moodle without moving through Respondus. See Import Quiz Questions to Moodle Using the Aiken Format.

The Standard Format for Importing

Write your questions in a word-processing application (e.g., MS Word) or a  text editor such as Notepad (Windows) or Text Wrangler (Macintosh), and format as follows:

Respondus will import multiple choice, true-false, paragraph, short answer, matching, and multiple response questions from a text document. The plain text, rich text, or MS Word file must be organized in the “Standard Format”.

The Standard Format for multiple choice questions has required elements and optional elements, each of which is described below. This is followed by an explanation of the formatting required for true-false, paragraph, short answer, matching and multiple response questions.

Format Multiple Choice Questions

Number Each Question (required)

Each question must begin with a question number, followed by either a period “.” or a parentheses “)”.

Examples:


3)


3.


The question wording must follow the question number. (Note: at least one space should be between the question number and the question wording.)

Examples:


3) Who determined the exact speed of light?


3. Who determined the exact speed of light?


Each answer choice (distractor) must begin with a letter (A-Z) followed by a period “.” or a parentheses “)”.

Example:


3) Who determined the exact speed of light?

a. Albert Einstein
b. Albert Michelson
c. Thomas Edison
d. Guglielmo Marconi


 

Provide a Title (optional)

A Title can be imported with each question. If a title is not provided for a question, the first 20 characters from the question wording will be used as the question title. Titles must be placed at the beginning of a question and begin with “Title:” followed by the actual text for the title. If the title exceeds 20 characters, the remaining characters will be dropped during the import.
Note: Moodle does not display titles to students.

Example:


Title: Speed of Light
3) Who determined the exact speed of light?

a. Albert Einstein
b. Albert Michelson
c. Thomas Edison
d. Guglielmo Marconi


Mark the Correct Answers (required for quizzes)

For questions being imported to an Exam file, correct answers can be indicated in two ways:

First, you may place an asterisk (*) directly in front of the answer choice (do not put a space between the asterisk and the answer choice).

Example:


Title: Speed of Light
3) Who determined the exact speed of light?

a. Albert Einstein
*b. Albert Michelson
c. Thomas Edison
d. Guglielmo Marconi


The second option is to place a list of correct answers at the end of the file. The list must begin with the word “Answers:” and the answers should start on the following line (no blank lines are allowed). Note that any text after the answer list will be ignored.

Example:


Answers:
1. A
2. C
3. B


If neither method is used to select a correct answer, Respondus will automatically select the letter “A” as the correct answer. Don’t worry, you will be warned if a question does not have an answer selected for it prior to completing the import. (Note that survey files should not have “correct answers” selected. If you are importing questions into a survey file, any correct answer designations will be ignored.)

Provide Feedback (optional)

With an Exam file, feedback for individual answer choices can be imported by placing the feedback immediately after the answer choice and by beginning the line with the @ symbol. There must be at least one space between the @ symbol and the feedback text.

Example:


Title: Speed of Light
3) Who determined the exact speed of light?


a. Albert Einstein
@ No. Albert Michelson determined the exact speed of light.


*b) Albert Michelson
@ Yes. Albert Michelson won the Nobel Prize for Physics for determining the exact speed of light.


c) Thomas Edison
@ No, Thomas Edison did not determine the exact speed of light.


d. Guglielmo Marconi
@ No. Marconi did not discover the exact speed of light, but he did win the Nobel Prize for Physics for his work with radio waves.


General Feedback” can be imported in a similar way, but it must appear immediately after the question wording and before any of the answer choices. The line must also begin with the @ symbol, and there must be at least one space between the @ symbol and the feedback text.

Example:


Title: Speed of Light
3) Who determined the exact speed of light?
@ Albert Michelson was the first American to win the Nobel Prize in
 Physics (1907) for his measurements of the speed of light. His experiments laid the groundwork for Einstein’s Theory of Relativity.

a. Albert Einstein
@ No. Albert Michelson determined the exact speed of light.


*b) Albert Michelson
@ Yes. Albert Michelson won the Nobel Prize for Physics for determining the exact speed of light.


etc.


As shown in the previous example, both types of feedback can be used within a single question.

Format True/False Questions

The process of importing a “true/false” question is similar to that used for importing multiple choice questions (see above).

Order Must Be True, then False

It’s important to note that the “True” (or “T”) answer choice must be listed above the “False” (or “F”) answer choice in order for Respondus to recognize it as a true and false question type. (If “False” appears first in the list, the question will be imported as a “multiple choice” question.)

Mark the Correct Answer (required)

Both of the following examples are valid ways to format a true and false question for importing purposes.

Examples:


3) Albert Michelson determined the exact speed of light?

*a) True
b) False


3) Albert Michelson determined the exact speed of light?

*a. T
 b. F


You can also designate a correct answer for a true and false question by placing a list of correct answers at the end of the file.

The list must begin with the word “Answers:” and the answers should start on the following line--no blank lines are allowed. The correct answer for a true and false question can be designated in three ways: (1) using the complete words “True” and “False,” (2) using the letters “T” and “F,” or (3) using the alphabetical letters “A” (for true) or “B” (for false). For example, the formatting of each of the following answers is acceptable for true and false questions in which all of the answers are “true”:

Example:


Answers:
1. True
2. T
3. A


Provide a TItle

To include a “title” or “feedback” with the true and false question, follow the same formatting rules described above for multiple choice questions.

Example: 


Title: Light speed
3) Albert Michelson determined the exact speed of light?
@ Correct. Albert Michelson won the Nobel Prize for Physics for determining the exact speed of light.


*a. True
@ Yes. Albert Michelson won the Nobel Prize for Physics for determining the exact speed of light.


b. False
@ The correct answer is True. Albert Michelson determined the exact speed of light and won the 1907 Nobel Prize for Physics for his efforts.


Format Paragraph Questions

The logic for importing paragraph questions (also known as “essay” or “open-ended” questions) is similar to what is described above for multiple choice questions. The primary difference is that the first line of formatting must begin with “Type: P”. This is followed by the “Title” (which is optional), the question number, and the question wording.

Example:


Type: P
Title: Michelson-Morely experiment

4) How is the Michelson-Morely experiment related to Albert Einstein’s theory of relativity?


Provide feedback (optional)

If you are importing a paragraph question into an exam file, you can supply an answer two different ways.

You may provide an answer immediately after the question wording, in which the answer begins with “a.” or “a)” (without the quotes).

Example:


Type: P
Title: Michelson-Morely experiment

4) How is the Michelson-Morely experiment related to Albert Einstein’s theory of relativity?

a) In 1887, Albert Michelson and Edward Morely carried out experiments to detect the change in speed of light due to ether wind when the Earth moved around the sun. The result was negative. They found the speed of light is always the same regardless of Earth's motion around the sun. Scientists were puzzled with this negative result, and they didn't know how to explain it. Albert Einstein came up with the answer in his famous second postulate in theory of relativity: that the speed of light (in vacuum) is always constant and absolute, regardless of its source's motion and observer's movement.


The second way to supply an answer for a paragraph question is to place it in the list of correct answers at the end of the file. As described above with multiple choice questions, the list must begin with the heading “Answers:” and must be positioned at the end of the file. A paragraph answer should begin with the corresponding question number, followed by either a period “.” or a parentheses “)”. This is then followed by a space and then the answer itself.

Example:


Answers:
1. A
2. C
3. B
4. 
In 1887, Albert Michelson and Edward Morely carried out experiments to detect the change in speed of light due to ether wind when the Earth moved around the sun. The result was negative. They found the speed of light is always the same regardless of Earth's motion around the sun. Scientists were puzzled with this negative result, and they didn't know how to explain it. Albert Einstein came up with the answer in his famous second postulate in theory of relativity: that the speed of light (in vacuum) is always constant and absolute, regardless of its source's motion and observer's movement.
5. B


Format Short Answer Questions

To import a Short Answer question, the first line of formatting must begin with “Type: S”. This is followed by the “Title” (which is optional), the question number, and the question wording.

Example:


Type: S
Title: Who invented television?
5. Who is known as the "father of television”?


Provide Possible Correct Answers

Respondus allows you to import only one correct answer per question, but it does permit you to enter multiple forms of that answer.

Example:


Type: S
Title: Who invented television?
5. Who is known as the "father of television"?

a. Zworykin
b. Vladimir Zworykin
c. Vladimir Kosma Zworykin


Answers can also be placed at the end of the file, using a format similar to multiple choice questions. The only difference is that you can enter multiple forms of an answer by repeating the question number.

Example:


Answers:
1. A
2. C
4. C
5. Zworykin
5. Vladimir Zworykin 
5. Vladimir Kosma Zworykin
6. B


Format Matching Questions

The process of importing a “matching” question is similar to what is described above for importing multiple choice questions, but there are some key differences. The first line of formatting must begin with “Type: MT”. This is followed by the “title” (which is optional), the question number, and the question wording.

Each answer (which consists of both portions of a correct match) must begin with a letter (a-z) followed by a period “.” or a parentheses “)”. The two parts of the match must be separated with an “=” symbol and there should not be any hard returns or blank lines within either parts of the answer.

Example:


Type: MT
Title: Scientific discoveries


4) Match the correct name to the discovery or theory.
a. Michelson-Morely = Speed of light
b. Einstein = Theory of Relativity
c. Marconi = radio waves


Spaces before or after the “=” symbol are optional, but it is important that an answer only uses the = symbol for the purpose of separating the two parts of the match. If you plan to list correct answers for other questions at the bottom of the document, simply skip the number for all questions that are of the matching variety.

Format Multiple Response Questions

The logic for importing multiple response questions is similar to what is described above for importing multiple choice questions. (Multiple Response questions are, essentially, multiple choice questions in which more than one correct answer can -- and generally should -- be selected by the student). The primary difference is that the first line of the formatting must begin with “Type: MR”. This is followed by the “Title” (which is optional), the question number, and the question wording. Correct answers are designated with an asterisk.

Example:


Type: MR
3) Which of the following individuals are credited with determining the exact speed of light?


a. Albert Einstein
*b. Albert Michelson
c. Thomas Edison
*d. Edward Williams Morley


Provide Titles and Feedback

To include a “title” or “feedback” with multiple response questions, follow the same formatting rules described above for multiple choice questions. For instance,

Example:


Type: MR
Title: Determining Speed of Light
3) Which of the following individuals are credited with determining the exact speed of light?
@ Albert Michelson and Edward Williams Morley collaborated on a series of experiments that eventually led to the exact determination of the speed of light.


a. Albert Einstein
@ No. Albert Michelson and Edward Williams Morley collaborated on a series of experiments that eventually led to the exact determination of the speed of light.


*b) Albert Michelson
@ Yes. Albert Michelson is one of the two persons credited with determining the exact speed of light.


etc.


Note: The example above illustrates how to include both “General Feedback” and answer-specific feedback. In most cases, you would include only one type of feedback.

A second way to designate correct answers for multiple response questions is to place them in a list of correct answers at the end of the file. The list must begin with the word “Answers:” and must be positioned at the end of the file. If a question has been designated as a Multiple Response type using “Type: MR”, then correct answers can be shown in a list in one of three ways: (1) placing a blank space between the letters representing the correct answers, (2) placing a comma between the letters representing the correct answers, or (3) placing a comma and a blank space between the letters representing the correct answers. For example, the formatting of each of the following answers is acceptable for multiple response questions. 

Example: 


Answers:
1. B D
2. B, D
3. B,D


Include Images in Questions

Images embedded in MS Word files will import automatically. However, it is possible to import images with rich-text or txt files using an alternate method. First, be sure that the images in gif, jpg, or jpeg format and are contained in a separate folder. Then place the following tag at each place where an image should appear:  [ img: “filename.jpg” ] .  The word “filename.jpg” should be replaced with the actual file name.

Example:


3) The interferometer, shown here [img: “interferometer.jpg”], was used by which of the following scientists.
a. Albert Einstein
*b. Albert Michelson
c. Thomas Edison
d. Vladimir Zworykin


To include alternative text for ADA-compliant screen readers, place the desired text in a second set of quotes immediately following the quotes that contain the file name: [ img: “interferometer.jpg” “Picture of an interferometer” ].

All images that are being imported must be placed in a single folder. During the import process, the location of the image folder must be specified in the first step. After the import is complete, the images will appear inline with the question text.

Save the Question File

Once the import file is organized to the specifications described above, it should be saved to MS Word (.doc or .docx), rich-text (.rtf) or a text (.txt) file. It is then ready to be imported by Respondus. See Import Questions to Respondus.