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Best practices for administering remote exams

Given the recent health risks to our learning communities, the Crowdmark team would like to share some best practices for administering effective remote exams.

1. Create your exam using the Assigned Assessment feature

The Assigned Assessment is Crowdmark’s version of a take-home exam. It enables you to import an exam that you have already made elsewhere into Crowdmark, assign and distribute it to students, and then grade it using annotations, in-text comments, and many other features included in our suite of grading tools. You can also create multiple versions of the exam to distribute to students by simply:

  • Duplicating your assessment
  • Giving each duplicate a different name (e.g., Take-Home Exam Version A)
  • And then assigning each version to different groups of students.

2. Provide students with a full copy of the exam

If your existing exam is a PDF, you can attach it directly into the directions box of the assessment you are creating. The exam will then be rendered as a link that students can click on, giving them an experience very similar to that of writing the exam in-class by enabling them to have the full test available to them to reference during the exam.

3. Make a comment library ahead of time

Crowdmark offers the ability to pre-populate each of your exam questions with a library of comments. These can either be written ahead of time and uploaded all at once, or made one at a time while grading and saved. Moreover, these comments may be assigned points, enabling graders to simply drag and drop comments onto specific questions and have grades automatically tabulated. Since grades associated with any comment can be retroactively changed, you can grade freely starting from the very first exam you grade knowing that you can go back and change the value of any comment for every question in just one click — there’s no need to go back and change things one at a time, and all future questions will be updated to the new point value.

4. Ensure that you give students enough time to submit their responses

Students who are unfamiliar with Crowdmark may take a bit more time to upload their responses. Creating buffers of 10 minutes at the beginning of the exam will help ensure that students submit on time. For example, if you’d like your exam to be written in two hours from 12:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. on April 1, 2020, set the due date as 2:10 p.m. and the scheduled distribution date as 11:50 a.m.

5. Be clear with students about the use of study aids

Students may be curious as to whether the exam is intended to be closed- or open book, given the novelty of writing a test outside of class.

  • If you choose to make it closed book, you can have students sign an academic integrity document outlining what they are and are not allowed to use, and be available for questions during the exam window.
  • If you choose to make it open book, inform students about what kinds of resources they may find useful, as well as what the expectations will be given that they have more resources available to them than they normally would.

By following these best practices, you can rest assured that students will be able to easily and safely write exams outside of the classroom.

For further information about how Crowdmark facilitates the administration of remote exams, please check out our recent blog post or contact us at

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