Sunday, October 16, 2016

Grading Extended Response Questions with Google Forms Quiz Feature

For many years Google Forms has been a great tool for creating online assessments. This process became even easier when Google added the new Quiz feature to Forms, allowing the quiz to be auto-graded without the need for a third-party tool such as the Flubaroo add-on. Although the new Quiz feature was very easy to use, it did lack some of the more advanced options and flexibility provided by Flubaroo. For a detailed comparison of Flubaroo versus the Forms Quiz feature see this earlier blog post: New Google Forms Quiz Feature vs Flubaroo

Recently though Google has added some new options to the built-in Quiz feature, making it more powerful and beginning to close the gap with Flubaroo. One of the new options is the ability to hand-grade extended response questions. This is very helpful as it allows teachers to build assessments with higher-level questions that move beyond multiple choice. Open-ended, essay-type questions can provide a better picture of student understanding, assess higher levels of Bloom’s taxonomy, and reduce the potential for cheating on assessments.

See below for detailed directions on how to create and grade extended response questions using the built-in Quiz features in Google Forms.

Step #1 - Create quiz with extended response questions

First, you will want to begin by creating your quiz in Google Forms as usual. This would include all of the typical steps of setting the title, adding questions, adding images if needed, making the questions required, and such.

However, in addition to creating the typical self-grading questions (which use multiple choice, checkboxes, or dropdown question types) you can also add extended response questions. For an extended response question you would most likely want to choose the “Paragraph” type of question since this will give the student the most room to be able to type in their response, although you could use “Short answer” as well.

Step #2 - Enable the Quiz settings

Next you will want to turn on and adjust the Quiz settings for the Form. Most of these will be the normal settings for a quiz, but one will be specific for using extended response questions.

  • Click the gear button in the top right corner of the screen to open the “Settings” window.
  • Select the typical settings in the “General” and “Presentation” tabs, such as the “Collect email address” option.
  • On the “Quizzes” tab, toggle the slider on for “Make this a quiz”.
  • Because you have extended response questions in the quiz, you will most likely want to adjust the “Release Grade” option to be “Later, after manual review”. This is because you will need to enter the grades for the extended response questions and would not want an incomplete grade report sent out to the students when they submit their answers.

Step #3 - Set the Answer Key

With the Quiz features turned on, you can now enter the Answer Key for each of your questions. Again, do this as normal for your multiple choice and checkbox questions. However, for the extended response questions the process will be a little different.

  • Click on an extended response question to select it, and then click the “Answer Key” link at the bottom of the question.
  • Normally when in Answer Key mode you would select the correct answer(s) for the question. However, since this is an open ended question, there is not a specific correct answer.
  • Instead all you will do is set the point value for the question, and then click “Edit Question” to switch back out of Answer Key mode.
  • Repeat this process for each of your extended response questions.

Step #4 - Grade the extended response questions

With the quiz complete you will now want to distribute it to your students as normal (such as through Google Classroom, or email, or as a link). After the students take the quiz, you will now be ready to grade their answers. Google Forms will automatically grade any questions that use the multiple choice, checkbox, or dropdown question type (based on your answer key).

However, for the extended response questions, you will need to grade those by hand.

  • First, click on the “Responses” tab at the top of the Form to see the student submissions.
  • Next, click the “Individual” button to switch out of the “Summary” view so you can see one student at a time.
  • Now scroll down to see the student’s answers for the extended response questions.
  • For each extended response question, you can click in the score box to enter how many points the student has earned for that question.
  • If you wish you can also click “Add individual feedback” to leave personalize feedback for that student for that particular question.
  • When done with that student, click the “Save” button at the bottom.
  • Repeat this process for the rest of the students.

Step #5 - Release the grades to the students

When you are done adding your scores for the extended response questions, you can now send the final grades to the students.

  • On the “Responses” tab of the Form, click the “Summary” button to switch out of the “Individual” view.
  • Scroll down to the “Scores” section.
  • Click “Release Scores” to send out the quiz grades to all of the students.
  • The students will now receive an email message with a link to their detailed grade report for the quiz.


As Google Forms continues to be improved, we are getting more options to create and administer online assessments. There are still more features I hope Forms will add, such as auto-grading of short answer questions (like Flubaroo does). However, we now have the option to include and grade extended response questions for higher-level thinking questions, which is a great addition for more powerful digital assessments.

Post by Eric Curts. Connect with Eric on Twitter at and on Google+ at


  1. Thanks very much Eric for sharing. Teachers in my school thought Google quizzes were very limited if open ended questions are not included.

    Great News !!!!

  2. A great feature and works wonderfully. 2 little pitfalls though. The Edit feature needs to be unchecked when using the quiz. Students who edit answers after submitting cause their responses to be weirdly duplicated. Also you cannot change anything in a question after students have answered it. Doing so erases any answers to that question. Learned both of these the hard way!

    1. Great points! Thanks for sharing!