Listen to this article

he importance of assessment for online learning provision is enormous. How else would you know that a learner gets the materials, or your online course serves its goal? 

And there, you’d know that assessments aren’t just checkpoints. They guide the teacher and the learner toward a better understanding of the material, degree of acquired knowledge, and course effectiveness.

But what is the best way to assess somebody's knowledge? You could think of a test, a quiz, or even an exam. So, there is no definite answer, at least for now. Moreover, they aren’t the same despite course creators use them interchangeably. 

Don’t be puzzled! Join us in our quiz vs test vs exam comparison where we shed some light on the topic and tackle the confusion.

Quiz vs test vs exam: Why are they so crucial?

Before we jump to the glossary and the differences between different types of learner’s assessments, let’s cover some basics. 

Whether you are in the middle of your quiz vs test comparison, exam vs test research, or deciding which one to use, you should start with why they are so crucial. For a start, they can affect the course provision, students’ performance, and the course outcomes. Every test allows you to:

  • Align your learning expectations with the actual knowledge the students get.
  • Provide more structure and focus to the learning process.
  • Show the effectiveness of your learning method.
  • Indicate blind spots in the comprehension of materials and define areas for improvement.
Before crafting a quiz, ask yourself what function it will serve. It may be for the sake of understanding, structure, assessment method, or future improvement.

When opting for quiz vs test application, these basic questions can help you define which type of assignment you may need:

  1. Can a test after or before the lecture give you insights into the learning process?
  2. Will a quiz hint to the learner an area, skill, or knowledge worth focusing on?
  3. Will it help you determine what was missed?
  4. Does it affect grade or motivation to proceed with the course? 

What is a quiz?

Now, let’s switch to the key differences between different types of assignments. 

In particular, what are quizzes?

A quiz is a short and quick assessment of the learner’s knowledge, offering a test that consists of no more than 15 questions and takes no more than 5 minutes.

The main goal of the quizzes is to help students retain knowledge after the module, engage them after the lesson, and help cover the topic after a small amount of info. 

  • When to apply? Quizzes are rather informal, so it is ideal for enforcing engagement in the classroom and supporting ideas presented in the lecture, lesson, or webinar.
  • Format of questions: fill-in-the-blank, true/false, pop-tests, multiple-questions.

In terms of quiz vs test comparison, the quiz has fewer questions, takes less time, and is less formal. Moreover, usually, it has no impact on the grades, while being more engaging and improving knowledge retention.

What is a test?

A test is a common and widely-used type of assessment that focuses on certain aspects of a course or module, has from 15 to 70 questions that can take up to 1 hour, and is given a grade for its completion typically. 

The test aims to reflect the materials covered in a section and module or even lessons on a specific subject. Due to their size and relevance, they often are the metric showing whether a learner understands the topic or should revise certain parts or lessons of the module. Thus, they constitute a significant part of grades, if talking about academic institutions. 

  • When to apply? Tests are a final checkpoint to include before jumping to a new concept, topic, or module. Therefore, use it after the module, series of lessons, or a large and complicated topic.
  • Format of questions: Because of covering a bigger amount of materials, it usually offers more variety and may include essay and open-ended questions in addition to standard multiple choice and true/false questions. Besides, multimedia and parts of materials can be used in text as well. 

What is the difference between a test and a quiz? The test is larger in scope, offering more questions and bringing more variety to knowledge assessment after the module or section, while the quiz is shorter and used after a lesson.

What is an exam?

An exam is a comprehensive instrument to measure students’ understanding of the system of knowledge and skills upon completing a course or one of the course milestones, taking typically at least 40 minutes of the student’s time. 

The exam's main purpose is to evaluate whether the student has acquired a system of knowledge that allows him to proceed further with the learning or confirms that he fully understands and can apply. That’s why completing an exam is the key to passing the whole course.

  • When to apply? Due to their comprehensive nature, exams are often included at the end of midterms (if talking about academic intuitions), blocks of modules around specific subjects, complex topics, or the whole course.
  • Format of questions: As they aim to assess the system of knowledge, expect multiple-choice or true/false questions, they are likely to have open-ended questions regarding case studies, scenarios, and issues for a student to show how the knowledge can be applied. 

In terms of test vs exam comparison, we can say that they often seem alike, especially when used together in courses. However, the main difference between exams and tests is the length and extensiveness. Thus, the exam is usually the final stop before course completion, while the test is a checkpoint before the next topic.

Ways to create quizzes and tests for online learning

Many of us have a good understanding of what a test looks like. Apart from the fact that whole life is a test, we encountered plenty in school and university. 

Yet, how do course creators, online tutors, and teachers integrate different assessment types in their online courses? Usually, they use an LMS, course creation software or a course editor, under which they have three options that allow crafting tests of various complexity. 

Method #1: Everything starts with a quiz 

Well, most of the LMSs offer tools to create test and quiz assignments. However, the crucial part is their flexibility. For instance, for quiz and test applications, the easy quiz editor with single or multiple-choice and free-text options should be ideal for assessing knowledge after the lesson or webinar. 

Simplicity matters here, especially if you have different topics and want to leave room for the instructor’s review.

Quiz example for online classroom

Note. That’s what a proper quiz editor looks like, offering the aforementioned question types.

Method #2: A mix of questions brings you a test

Developing a decent test requires diverse questions, a particular focus on ideas and analysis, and creativity. There, you may use a quiz approach, but make the questions and tasks more exciting, comprehensive, and deeper. 

Why? Tests are more extensive and should evaluate student’s knowledge on a more systematic level. Thus, the tool you are using should have room for various and multiple questions and engaging formats.

Test example for online classroom

Note. If the tool offers a decent editor, you can add pictures and links and define formatting for a better learning experience.

Method #3. Create a separate space for an exam or test

For a complicated and diverse test or comprehensive exam, you should use a specific solution or have different ways to compensate for it. 

Within LMS, you can create a separate module for the exam, where in the content part you describe the structure, then use quizzes for testing and assignments for an analysis part with text or uploaded files. 

A good example of an engaging exam can be two 20-30-question tests followed by an assignment with a case study, analysis, or scenario.

Exam question for online classroom

Note. Here is how you can use assignments to support your quiz, focusing on creating a case study to test the skills and knowledge application of your learners.

Online tools for quizzes and exams

Lastly, whether you assess students’ knowledge within a blended learning program, online classroom, or online course, you should know of advanced solutions that can make your quiz and test options more engaging and diverse.

What are they? Here is a list of TOP 5 that can make a difference.

  • #1. Kahoot: a learning platform that allows you to create games and interactive quizzes with multiple-choice, true/false, and open-ended questions and puzzles. You can use it with your presentations to make learning more engaging.
  • #2. Quizizz: a user-friendly platform for making and creating assignments and quizzes with more than 18 question types, supporting media, and offering reports and leaderboards. It can add to classroom engagement. 
  • #3. Quizlet: a learning tool that offers gaming, quiz, and teaching options, allowing you to create flashcards, tests, and study sets. Importantly, it provides AI support and sets for various subjects, from specific exams to biology.
  • #4. Aha Slides: an interactive presentation tool where you can create quizzes and open-ended questions.
  • #5. Google Forms: a classic Google Apps option that allows you to create quizzes, polls, and tests online. It is a free and effective solution, especially if you rely on Google Suite for your business or learning.

Conclusion: There is a difference between a quiz and a test 

All in all, distinguishing between quizzes, tests, and exams is crucial for assessing learners' knowledge. How do they differ? Quizzes are brief and informal, providing quick insights without a major impact on grades. Tests, being more comprehensive, play a significant role in determining grades and identifying areas for improvement. Exams are the most extensive, evaluating systematic knowledge and being crucial for course completion. 

Notably, to assess the skills and knowledge of students online, you will likely need LMS course editor tools, where you have different options. At the same time, you can resort to tools like Kahoot, Quizziz, Quizlet, Aha Slides, and Google Forms to enhance online assessment by creating engaging quizzes, assignments, and exams.

Rate this article!
ratings, average:
out of 5