Create Questions

The Create Questions screen is used to create questions that can be included on assessments students will complete in Focus. Questions can be attached to standards, and can also be tagged for cognitive complexity, difficulty, and depth of knowledge. Features, such as calculators, reading passages, and video players, can be added to questions. Questions can also be shared with other teachers and administrators.

Overview of Creating a New Item

This section provides an overview of creating a new item, including adding a question and feature to the item.  An item is a container for a question and any added features, such as a calculator or reading passage. There is a broad range of question types to choose from, from multiple choice to math formula.

It is recommended to only add one question per item. When the assessment is attached to a Gradebook assignment, Focus will auto-populate the Questions field on the assignment using the number of items included on the assessment. If more than one question was included in an item, the Questions field on the assignment will not populate accurately and may need to be adjusted.

1. In the Grades menu, click Create Questions.

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This screen will be blank if you have not yet created any items and no items have been shared with you by other teachers and administrators.

If you have previously created items or items have been shared with you, the items will be listed on this screen.

The search options along the top of the screen allow you to search for items by standard, title, reference number, content, question/feature type, status, and tags. See Searching for an Item for more information.

2. To create a new item, click Create.

On this screen, the item will be set up. The item will be given a title, the question and any additional features will be added, the item can be attached to standards, item settings can be configured, the item can be previewed, and the item can be shared with other teachers and administrators.

3. To start, enter a Title for the item.

4. To add the question to the item, click Add new.

5. Along the left side of the screen, select the question type, such as Multiple Choice, Fill in the Blanks (Cloze), Classify, Match & Order, etc.

6. Next, click the sub-type.  

For example, the Multiple Choice question type has the sub-types Multiple choice - standard, Multiple choice - multiple response, True or false, and Multiple choice - block layout, etc.

Use the search bar to quickly find a specific question sub-type. As you enter the search term, the matches are displayed.

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The setup options that are displayed on the next screen differ based on the specific question sub-type. For guidance on setting up the specific question type, click the (i) Help button at the top of the screen.

For this example, a multiple choice - standard question is being set up.

7. In the first text box, enter the question.

Clicking in the text box displays formatting options that can be used.

8. In the Multiple choice options section of the screen, replace the Choice A, Choice B, Choice C, and Choice D text with each answer option. These text boxes also provide formatting options once you click in them.

9. To add an additional answer option beyond the standard 4 options, click ADD.

10. To delete an answer option, click the trash can icon next to the option.

11. To rearrange answer options, click and drag an option using the icon to the left.

12. In the Set correct answer(s) section at the bottom of the screen, enter the Point(s) earned by the correct answer(s) and select the correct answer(s) to the question.

13. If there is an alternate answer that will earn points, click the plus tab.

14. Enter the Point(s) earned by the alternate answer and select the correct alternate answer.

15. To delete the alternate answer, click the trash icon.

16. Select Multiple Responses to allow students to select more than one option. Select Shuffle options to display the options in a different order each time the question is rendered.

17. Click More options at the bottom of the screen to set additional options for scoring, layout and selection, and extras.

18. When finished setting up the question, click Save at the top of the screen.

After saving, the Save button turns green, and the item is displayed with the question that was added.  

19. To add a feature, click the plus sign.

20. Click Features at the top of the screen.

The available features are displayed.

21. Click the feature to add to the item.

The setup options that are displayed differ based on the specific feature. For guidance on setting up the feature, click the (i) Help button at the top of the screen.

In this example, a passage will be set up.

22. Enter a Heading for the passage.

23. Enter the contents of the passage. Clicking the text box displays formatting options that are available.

24. At the bottom of the screen, click More options to set additional options. These may differ based on the feature type.

25. Click Save at the top of the screen.

The Save button turns green after clicking Save. The item is displayed again, including the question and feature.

Adding an Existing Passage to an Item

An existing passage that was added to an item can be used again for a different item.

1. On the Create Questions screen, click the item title of the item you want to add the passage to.

2. Click the three dot icon and click Find existing passage.

The passages from items you have created as well as from items shared with you are listed. If needed, use the search feature to search for passages by content.

3. To preview the passage, click the Preview icon.

4. Click the X to close the preview window.

5. Click Select next to the passage to add it to the item.

The passage is added to the item.

Attaching Standards to a Item

You can attach standards to an item. The standards assigned to the courses you teach are available for selection.

1. On the Create Questions screen, click the item title if the item is not already opened.

2. Click the Standards button.

In the pop-up window, the standards for your assigned course(s) are listed. If you have more than one assigned course, click the course in the list at the left side of the window to view the standards for that course.

3. Begin entering the standard title or description in the Filter box to filter the list standards.

4. Click + Add beneath the standard to attach to the item.

The standard is displayed at the top of the window.

5. Continue adding standards as needed.

6. Click Save.

The standards are saved and the pop-up window is closed.

7. Click Save at the top-right corner of the screen to save the item.

Changing the Layout

In the Settings, the Layout tab allows you to change the layout of the question and features.

1. On the Create Questions screen, click the item title if the item is not already opened.

2. At the top of the question, click Settings.

The Layout tab is opened by default.

3. Click the desired layout.

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Example of a multiple choice question and passage in a single column layout:

Example of a multiple choice question and passage in a 30/70 layout:

4. Select Show Vertical Divider if you would like to display a vertical line between the columns in the layout.

5. Select Enable scrolling for long content to include a scroll bar for each column of the layout. This allows scrolling one column independently of another, which helps if one column has long content.

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6. Scroll down and click Apply.

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Moving Question and Features within a Layout

The question and the added features in a item can be rearranged in the layout.

1. On the Create Questions screen, click the item title if the item is not already opened.

2. Click the Move icon (4 dots) next to the question or feature and click and drag it into the desired place in the layout.

The layout is updated.

3. Click Save.

Setting Details Options

The Details tab in the Settings allows you to change the item title, set the question status (published, unpublished, archived), set the scoring type, and enter a description and difficulty level.

1. On the Create Questions screen, click the item title if the item is not already opened.

2. At the top of the question, click Settings.

3. Edit the item Title, if needed.

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4. Select the Status for the item.

Published means the item can be used in an assessment.

Unpublished items cannot be used on assessments.

Archived means a soft delete. The item will still exist but will no longer be present in the item list or in any searches unless archived items have been searched for. There is no way to remove an item completely.

Archiving a shared item will archive the item for all users who have access to it.

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5. Select the Scoring Type for the item. The options are Per Question, Dichotomous, and Dependent (EBSR).

Per Question is the default scoring type. The score for the item is calculated by adding the score from each question in the item.

Dichotomously scored items have only two possible outcomes: fully correct or fully incorrect. If the user's score for every question on the item is fully correct, the score for the item is calculated by adding the max scores from each question. If any question on the item is not fully correct, the score is zero.

In Dependence (EBSR) scoring, the score taken from each question depends on the scores of previous questions on the Item. The rule is that if a question on the item is not fully correct, the user is not awarded a score for any subsequent questions on the item. Such scoring can be applied when there are two or more questions dependent on each other. For instance, the first question has to be answered correctly because the following one is based on how the student got to the right solution. This scoring type can be used to emulate an Evidence-Based Selected Response (EBSR) item type.

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6. (Optional) Enter a brief Description of the item.

7. (Optional) Set the numeric Difficulty level.

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8. Scroll down and click Apply to save the settings.

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9. Click Save at the top of the screen.

Tagging an Item

The Tags tab in the Settings allows you to tag the question for cognitive complexity, difficulty, and depth of knowledge. This helps when searching for questions to add to assessments.

1. On the Create Questions screen, click the item title if the item is not already opened.

2. At the top of the question, click Settings.

3. Click the Tags tab.

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4. In the search bar, begin entering the tag title and click on the tag. Currently, available tag options are Cognitive Complexity, Difficulty, and Depth of Knowledge.

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5. Continue adding tags as needed.

6. Scroll down and click Apply to save the tags.

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7. Click Save at the top of the screen.

Previewing an Item

You can preview an item to view how it will appear to students taking the assessment. This includes the ability to select an answer, show the correct answer(s), and view/use the features added to the item.

1. On the Create Questions screen, click the item title if the item is not already opened.

2. Click Preview at the top-right of the screen.

The item is displayed as it would appear to students taking the assessment.

Editing an Item

A warning message will display when viewing an item that is included on an activity. Editing an item will impact all activities it is included on.

1. On the Create Questions screen, click the item title if the item is not already opened.

Edit mode is automatically selected when opening an item.

2. To change the title of the item, click the Title field and make the desired change.

3. Click Save.

4. To edit a question or feature, click the Edit icon next to it.

5. Make the desired changes to the question or feature and click Save.

Deleting a Question or Feature in an Item

Questions and features can be deleted from an item as needed.

An item itself cannot be deleted. In the Details tab of the Settings, set the status of the item to "Archived." Archived means a soft delete. The item will still exist but will no longer be present in the item list or in any searches unless archived items have been searched for.

A warning message will display when viewing an item that is included on an activity. Deleting an item will impact all activities it is included on.

1. On the Create Questions screen, click the item title if the item is not already opened.

Edit mode is automatically selected when opening an item.

2. To delete a question or feature, click the Delete icon next to it.

The icon will turn red and say "Confirm?" Click the icon again to confirm deletion.

3. Click Save at the top of the screen.

Duplicating an Item

An item can be duplicated. The new item can then be edited as needed.

1. On the Create Questions screen, click the item title if the item is not already opened.

2. Click the down arrow at the top-right corner of the screen and click Duplicate Item.

3. Click Duplicate.

The duplicate item is now displayed with the same title, content, and settings.

4. Make changes to the item as needed and click Save.

Searching for an Item

You can search for items created by you or items created by other users that were shared with you. You can search for items by title, content, question/feature type, status, tags, or standards.

1.  To search by item title, enter the full or partial item title in the Find by title box and click Search.

2. To search by content, question/feature type, or item status, click the down arrow on the Find by title search box.

3. Enter search criteria in the Content field, or select the Question/Feature Type or Status.

4. Click the Search icon.

5. To search by tags, enter the full or partial tag title in the Find by tags search box.

Tag suggestions will pop-up.

6. Click the tag and click Search.

7. Click the down arrow on the Find by tags search box for more tag search options.

8. To find items that match all tags entered, select multiple tags in the Match all tags search box.

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9. To find items that match at least one tag, select one or multiple tags in the Match at least one tag search box.

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10. Click the Search icon.

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11. To search by standards attached to an item, click Standards.

In the pop-up window, the standards for your assigned course(s) are listed. If you have more than one assigned course, click the course in the list at the left side of the window to view the standards for that course.

12. Begin entering the standard title or description in the Filter box to filter the list standards.

13. Click the standard to search by.

14. To remove a search criterion, click the X to the criterion.

15. To clear all the search criteria and return to the full list of items, click Clear.

When a search is conducted, items matching the search criteria are listed. Click the desired item to view the item.

Sharing an Item

You can share an item you have created with other teachers, administrators, and specific users at your school.

When an item is shared, any user who has access to the item can make changes to that item. These changes will affect the item for all users.

1. On the Create Questions screen, click the item title if the item is not already opened.

2. At the bottom of the screen, click Sharing Options.

3. Scroll down to view the sharing options.

4. Select All Admins to share the item with all administrators at your school. Select All Teachers to share the item with all teachers at your school.

The "All Teachers" option shares the item with all teachers at your school, not only those in your subject or course area.

5. To only share the item with specific users, select Custom.

6. In the pull-down, select the user(s).

7. Click Save at the top of the screen.