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Atomic Assessments - Getting Started

Atomic Assessments is an advanced quizzing tool that allows instructors to develop and deliver sophisticated quizzes directly in Canvas.

Instructor Considerations

  • Atomic Assessments is a third-party tool that provides a connection to the Learnosity advanced assessment platform, which provides more question types than a standard Canvas Quiz. For more information see Atomic Assessments - Is Atomic Assessments for me? 

  • Development of assessments in this tool are more complicated than the integrated Canvas quizzing tool. Please allow extra time to create the assessment and contact your local support if any assistance is needed. 

  • Although the development of the assessment is more complicated, the student’s  experience is similar to a Canvas Quiz.

  • Atomic Assessments does not have to be used for every assessment. Instructors can choose to use Atomic Assessment on an assessment by assessment basis.

Using Atomic Assessments for the First Time

  • Atomic Assessments must be enabled in Canvas in order to use it. Review the document Enabling Atomic Assessments in Canvas for step-by-step instructions on enabling Atomic Assessments in a Canvas course. Once enabled, it will appear in the course navigation bar for you, but will be hidden from your students.

  • An Atomic Assessments Student Tech Module template can be imported and modified in Canvas by instructors to communicate to students regarding the use of Atomic Assessment.

  • Instructors access Atomic Assessments from the left side navigation bar. Students access them via the normal Assignments area. The Atomic Assessments area is NOT visible to students. 

  • Atomic Assessments is a teaching and learning tool centrally supported by the Learn@UW-Madison team. For technical support questions, instructors should contact the DoIT Help Desk

Tool Functionality

Basic Functionality

  • Atomic Assessments is an advanced assessment tool for the Canvas learning management system. 

  • To Create an Atomic Assessment, you simply select the Atomic Assessments link in the Canvas Navigation Bar and then select New Assignment.  

  • There, you are guided through the creation process of the assignment including Determining the Settings of the Assessment

  • After the assignment settings are done, you will then add items to the assignment. 

  • Once items have been added, you can then preview the assignment to see what the students will see. 

Advanced Functionality

  • Inside the item settings, you can upload a data table. This table is a comma separated list of values. 

    • You can then use those values to create multiple questions and answers using just one item. 

    • You can put multiple questions inside the same item, which will allow instructors to have values to be carried forward into successive questions. 

Additional Training Resources

Best Practices and Use Cases

  • Instructors should create a test assessment that can be taken by the student before any real assessments are given. This way the student and instructor will know that the assessment will work for the student. If the student has issues with the test assessment, please have them try these: General Troubleshooting for Learn@UW Tools

  • The College of Engineering uses Atomic Assessments to leverage the advanced quizzing options available. This includes the various question types as well as the data table feature. The data table allows for them to create one question and then have multiple answers. It also allows them to chain questions together allowing them to have items that build off of each other. 


  • UW-Madison has an institutional license for Atomic Assessment for for-credit uses. Atomic Assessment is free to UW-Madison students, staff and faculty.

Keywords:aa, atomic assessments, quiz, quizzing, advanced quizzing, assessments overview getting started intro introduction 101   Doc ID:117235
Owner:Andrew M.Group:Learn@UW-Madison
Created:2022-03-09 11:40 CDTUpdated:2022-04-06 09:32 CDT
Sites:DoIT Help Desk, Learn@UW-Madison
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