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The University of Arizona

Short Answer (SA)

Short Answer (SA) questions require students to provide single-word, single-phrase, or short sentence answers to an open-ended question. Note that spelling, phrasing, and answer order (if you require more than one answer) count, which means instructors may want to manually grade these (see the note below for an exception).

Note: SA questions work well when paired with an Image Information (IMG) item, for example, an image of a brain with itemized parts that students must label, or a numbered map for which students must provide place names.

Please note: Although it is possible to create questions directly in a quiz, we highly recommend that you build all of your questions in the Question Library. When finished, you will be able to import questions into your quiz. Click here for help using the Question Library .

To create a Short Answer Question:


Image of New Button

1. In the Question Library, select the New button.

To create a question within a quiz, you will have to navigate to the Add/Edit Questions screen. Click here for instructions.


Short Answer Question selection in the Dropdown Menu


2. From the dropdown menu, click on the Short Answer Question (SA) option.


Image of Leave it On button

3. If you get a "Welcome to the new Question Creation Experience!" message, select Leave it on.

4.Type or paste your question into the Question Text box.

Please Note: When pasting text, D2L will inherit any formatting (e.g. font type and size, indentations, etc.) embedded in the source document. To remove all formatting when pasting your text into D2L, use the following keyboard shortcuts. For a PC: press Ctrl+Shift+V. For a Mac: press Cmd+Shift+V.

Long Answer Question edit window

5. Click Add Blank until you have the desired number of answer choices for this question.

6. Type or paste the answer choices into the answers blanks. One answer per blank. The order of the answers does matter.

Note: These questions are meant for single word or short phrase responses. You cannot change the size of the answer box, although the size does not limit how much text students can enter.

7. For each answer, use the "abc" dropdown menu to select one of the following:

  • Text: if the answer is not case-sensitive
  • Case-Sensitive Text: if case matters
  • Regular Expression: uses letters and other symbols to create a pattern that describes a range of acceptable text strings; for more on Regular Expression answers, watch this D2L help video

8. Enter the number of points this question is worth.

9. To designate how points will be assigned to blanks, use the dropdown menu and select one of the following:

  • Students will receive part marks: students may receive partial credit; D2L automatically does the calculations using the formula: # of correct answers/total # of answers
  • Students must answer all blanks correctly: D2L will give points only if a student provides all of the correct answers

10. Note that D2L automatically shows you how the question will appear to students.

Image of Question Preview

11. Click the Save button to save your question and return to the Question Library.

Drop down menu with save options

12. For instructions on importing your new question(s) into a quiz, visit the Add/Edit Questions help page.


If you are editing a question that has already been imported into a Quiz, Survey, and/or Self Assessment, you will be presented with the option to also update the question in those locations (shown above). Be sure to update the question in every location that you want to apply the change. Any location that you do not choose to update will be left with the old version of the question and D2L will consider it an entirely different question from the modified version in the Question Library. This will result in multiple versions of the question.

Important:  Never update a question in a live Quiz or Survey, as doing so can cause a variety of issues with participant attempts, grading, reports and statistics. Please wait until after the Quiz or Survey period has passed to make modifications to your questions.  If you need to modify a question in a live quiz because it is not configured properly, contact the D2L support team using the Online Help Request form to determine the best way to correct the problem.

To access the old Short Answer (SA) question format:

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1. From within the question text window, select the down arrow at the top of the screen.

Image of Turn it Off button

2. In the "Welcome to the new Question Creation Experience! message that appears, select Turn it off.


Note: Click here to visit the Short Answer question (old format) help page.



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