What are practice questions and how do I add them to my course?

What are practice questions?

Practice Questions are gradable, question-based activities that use questions you create and/or link to question banks. This activity is similar to assessments, but unlike assessments, students can submit, review, and retake each question at a time. For instant feedback, this activity should only contain automatically graded questions.


How do I add practice questions to my course?


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


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


Click "Practice Questions".

Activity Tab

1. The Title field holds the name of the activity. The title will be visible on the course syllabus.

2. The thumbnail image for the activity. The thumbnail will appear in the course syllabus.

  • Recommended thumbnail file type: PNG or JPG (Echo converts all files into PNGs).
  • Ideal thumbnail size: 400px x 400px (Echo automatically resizes images, so uploading images smaller than 400px x 400px may reduce quality).

3. The Content section is a rich text field that can hold text, images, links, and more. The content is visible when the activity is opened.

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

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

6. Enable a calculator if needed

7. Add companion materials if needed (course resource)

Settings Tab

Within the Settings tab:

1. Activity settings - set a due date/time, set a default score for each question, and other options in the checkboxes

2. Gradebook settings - choose whether the activity is gradable, assign an outcome and points possible if gradable, and check the box if the activity counts as extra credit.

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. Objective mastery - align course-specified standards to the activity

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

5. 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

6. 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

7. Question-group settings - define options for practice-question groups

Click on "Default" to use those settings, or click on "Add question group" to customize the settings. Make sure to scroll down through all the available options and click "Done" when completed

8. 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

9. 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

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)

Questions Tab

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 7 types of questions to choose from in the Type dropdown:  

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

*Custom questions can range in complexity from simple, formatting overrides of standard questions to complete, custom-question rendering, and grading systems  hosted on external servers. This is an advanced feature; contact support for more information.

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.

The Essay option is not available on the "Practice Questions" activity type as these are designed to be auto scored and provide immediate feedback to student. Essay questions require a teacher to evaluate and score. We recommend teachers use the "Assessment" type activity which does allow for an essay question type and will hold the results until the teacher scores the essay.

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 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. Follow the steps above to do so.

Click "Save" when the practice questions are complete.

History Tab

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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