What is an assessment and how do I add one to my course?

What is an Assessment?

 Assessments can be used within Echo to assess any standard, objective or learning outcome within a course. With a wide variety of settings, personalize each assessment created in a course to match course content and student needs.

Automatically-graded activities (Assessments and Practice Questions) can only be aligned with one scoring objective.


How do I add an assessment to my course?


 From the homepage, click the "Editor" icon located on the course that needs an assessment added to it.


Click the "+Add to..." link.


Click "Assessment".


When creating an "Assessment" there are three main tabs where one can adjust different settings.

  • Activity
  • Settings
  • Questions


 Within the Activity Tab:

1. Give the assessment a title

2. Add an activity thumbnail if desired

3. Add content such as instructions, an image, or a video for students to view prior to starting the assessment

4. The Activity Instructions section typically holds the assignment instructions or a text resource the student will access

5. Add attachments that students might need to complete the assessment

6. Enable a calculator if needed

7. Add companion materials if needed (course resource)


Within the Settings tab:

1. Activity settings - set a due date/time, choose number of attempts, how many questions per page, and other options

2. Gradebook settings - choose whether the assessment is gradable, assign an outcome and points possible if gradable, and check the box if the assessment counts as extra credit. Generally the grading category option is not used if MOS gradebook is enabled

Note: The Assessment and Practice Question activity types calculate a single overall score. Applying that score blindly across multiple outcomes goes against NTN assessment practices of carefully assessing each outcome separately. For that reason, we limit the assessment tool to targeting a single category.

3. Visibility and access - set visibility options and access rules

4. Objective mastery - align course-specified standards to the assessment

5. Metadata -  description for course author, or an idea of how this activity fits into the goal of the course or the "big picture." CRA and IAKT activity tags can also be used for reporting purposes

6. Badges - can be used to automatically assign a specific badge to students who complete the activity. Badges must be configured in course settings in order to be selected

7. Assessment pool settings - see this article on configuring question pooling

8. Assessment review - choose how students view assessment results from multiple ways with each dropdown option (always, never, after minimum attempt, when answered correctly, due date, and after score visibility date)

9. Advanced assessment options - choose several settings like a time limit (set in minutes), default question score, attempt minimum, allow printing, hide question "back" button, set a password to access the assessment, use an exam template, etc.

10.  Advanced gradebook options -

  • Teachers can restrict student access to assignment scores by date
  • Echo tracks when students have completed and passed each assignment. The "Passing Score" field allows teachers to define the minimum score students must achieve in order to "pass" the assignment
  • The Minimum Points Possible field is not used with the Multi Outcome Scoring gradebook
  • Teachers can allow or prevent scores from being dropped from final grade (calculated course score)
  • Teachers can choose to include or not include the assignment scores in the final grade
  • Teacher can elect to make this a mandatory assignment for the course (require a passing score for course credit). If a student doesn't receive a passing score on the assignment, their grade will go to 0% until a passing score is earned. This option is only suitable for high stakes tasks that are absolutely necessary to assess student performance
  • Teachers can choose to treat submitted but not scored assignments as either blank (doesn't effect grade) or zero (affects grade)

11. Advanced activity options -  dropdown options for the activity to "mark as complete" and a checkbox for "student must complete this activity before continuing to the next one." Teachers can also choose a location for the activity in case they want to change which folder/project the activity exists in on the fly


Within the "Questions" tab, begin adding questions for the assessment by clicking the + button to create a new question or the chain icon to link a question. Click the chain icon for linking a question if you want to use pre-existing questions in this course.

 Create a question

1. There are 8 types of questions to choose from in the Type dropdown:  

  • Custom
  • Essay
  • Fill in the Blank
  • Matching
  • Multiple Answer
  • Multiple Choice
  • Ordering
  • Passage

Enter the points possible for the question, if necessary.

2. Depending on the type of question chosen, type the prompt and add choices if necessary. Select the correct choice.

3. Feedback - where a teacher can provide feedback rules. The four types in the dropdown are custom, always, when answer is correct, and when answer is incorrect. Type in the feedback necessary for each rule (if applicable).

4. Interaction - includes options like the question label, checkboxes for maintain response order, show choices as a dropdown menu, display workspace, and a custom question definition if needed.

5. Score - choose whether the question counts for partial or extra credit.

6. Objective mastery - align the question with course specified standards.

7. Variables - create questions that use different values for each student, presenting them with varied questions and answers. There are two kinds of assessment variables in Echo: Ranges and Lists.

8. Calculator - check the appropriate box(es) to provide students with one or more of the calculator options.

9. Companion material - attach any supplemental documents students need to complete this question. Teachers can do this by pointing to existing resources in the course or by uploading new files (PDFs only).


Additional changes can be made using the orange section of tools on the lefthand side.

Preview (play icon) - preview the questions

Reorder - move the questions around

Edit (< > icon) - edit all questions at once


Continue to click the + button to add questions to the assessment. Follow the steps above to do so.

Click "Save" when the assessment is complete.


The History tab provides a list of the versions of the activity and the changes that were made.



Echo is constantly being improved based on the feedback from users and we strive to keep our documentation up to date.  If this document doesn’t match what you are seeing in Echo, please let us know.

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