Atomic Assessments - Is Atomic Assessments for me? [UW-Madison]

Atomic Assessments is an advanced quizzing tool currently available through Canvas to all of UW-Madison's for-credit instructors. Because it is an advanced quizzing tool, it is recommend for technically advanced instructors or instructors with departmental support staff. Please leave ample time to develop and test assessments in Atomic Assessments before incorporating them into your live courses.

This document provides an overview of Atomic Assessments, as well as insight into whether this tool or the Canvas quizzing tool will work best based on an instructor's needs.

What is Atomic Assessments?

Atomic Assessments is an advanced quizzing tool that allows instructors to develop and deliver sophisticated quizzes directly in Canvas. Atomic Assessments is built on the Learnosity assessment platform, with key features including:

  • Support for more than 50 question types including drag and drop, interactive charts and graphs, mathematical text for question stems and answers, and audio student responses.
  • Ability to add variables into questions, which increases the number of quiz variations.
  • Advanced reporting that includes student responses, question evaluations, and more.
  • The ability to create multi-part items that include multiple question types and that can be built on shared data.
  • Robust tagging system that can be used to organize, randomly generate assessments and do outcome based reporting.

This tool is available through Canvas to all for-credit users. Before deciding to use Atomic Assessments in your course, keep in mind that it is a complex tool. You should be prepared to invest time into exploring the tool and testing any content developed before using it in your courses.

Comparison of Canvas Quizzes vs. Atomic Assessments

Most quizzing needs can be met by using Canvas Quizzes. Atomic Assessments provides more advanced quizzing functionality for instructors looking for deeper mathematical functionality, audio responses from students, more varied question types, and other advanced quizzing options. A comparison of the two tools is provided in the table below to help you determine if Atomic Assessments is right for your course. You can also request a consultation with the Learn@UW-Madison team by contacting the DoIT Help Desk if you would like more assistance in determining whether Atomic Assessments or Canvas Quizzes is right for you.

Comparing Quiz Functionality in Canvas and Atomic Assessments


Atomic Assessments

Number of question types

  1. Multiple choice

  2. True/false

  3. Fill-in-the-blank

  4. Fill in multiple blanks

  5. Multiple select

  6. Multiple drop-downs

  7. Matching

  8. Numerical answer

  9. Formula question

  10. Essay question

  11. File upload

  12. Text box

50+ question types, including all available question types in Canvas Quizzes 


For the complete list, see Learnosity's list of question types.

Variables in question are available

Yes, allows instructor to set minimum and maximum numeric values and number of decimals

Yes, allows for table uploads of variable’s numeric values

Multi-part questions that can reuse variables



Reporting available

Basic student response analysis, item response analysis, and statistics report

Advanced student response analysis, item response analysis, and statistics report

LaTeX/MathML capable



Equation Editor



Mathematical expressions as answers allowed



Equivalent mathematical expressions as correct answers allowed 

Yes, but requires instructor to enter in multiple correct answer choices


Built-in print option



Built-in preview mode



Question tagging



Keywordsatomic assessments, quiz, quizzing, advanced quizzing, assessments   Doc ID92050
OwnerLearn@UW MadisonGroupLearn@UW-Madison
Created2019-05-30 13:27:12Updated2023-12-08 14:28:29
SitesDoIT Help Desk, Learn@UW-Madison
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