Question posted to the Teacher Tech Facebook group: “I was hoping to create a form that had 16 questions, but randomly only displayed 4 for my students, so they aren’t getting the same questions as the students next to them.” Creating random Google Form quiz versions is an obvious need for teachers.
Is There a Question Bank?
Wouldn’t it be nice if Google Forms had a question bank option? While this seems really obvious, remember that Google Forms is NOT a quiz tool. As an afterthought, Google added quiz features. A question bank does not make sense for a survey tool. Thus, Google Forms does not have a question bank option.
Creating Random Google Forms Quiz Versions
If the goal is to create random Google Forms quiz versions there are a few options for trying to make this happen.
Hack a Question Bank
One option is to create a Google Form with all of the questions for your question bank. Then make a NEW Google Form for each version. In the floating toolbar, use the “Import questions” option. This icon allows you to select from the Google Form that acts as a question bank.
Import Questions is Not Random
This hack for a question bank is not random. It will display all of the questions from the question bank Google Form in a sidebar. Manually select which questions you want to include in that version.
Use a random number generator to help you select which questions you want to randomly include in each version.
Assign Students a Version
This gets tricky, you now have multiple versions but how do you distribute to students? Copy the links to the Google Forms and put them in a spreadsheet. Label the versions and instruct students to click on the version that they were assigned. Alternatively, paste the link per student into a place that is accessible to that student. For example, the Private Comments in Google Classroom.
Using One Google Form
It is obviously easier to distribute the same Google Form to all students. To hack this you will need to add multiple sections to your Google Form. Students will branch to a “random” section.
Create a new Google Form and add questions for student first name, last name, class section, and other demographic questions. Then, use the last icon in the floating toolbar to “Add section.” This looks like 2 rectangles stacked.
Add Multiple Sections
Creating random Google Forms quiz versions within the same Form is the goal. You will need a section per version. Press the “Add section” icon as many times as you have versions. You may want to set up the directions in the section description and then duplicate the section instead.
You will need the first section after the demographics to ask a multiple choice question. I set this up last.
A Section Per Version
The sections are numbered and say “Untitled Section.” You will want to name each section to be something like “Version 1.”
After the Section
The default is that a student will progress to the next section after completing a section. You do not want this. Notice the tiny arrow next to the phrase “Continue to next section.” Change this to be “Submit form.” Do this for each section.
Add a Branching Question
In the section just below the demographics questions add a multiple choice question. The multiple choice options are each of the versions.
3 Dots More Options
It is important to set up the branching. In the 3 dots menu, in the bottom right, select “Go to section based on answer.”
Ensure that the branching question is set to “Required.” Optionally, choose “Shuffle option order.” One trick I use is to not number the versions but ask a question like “what is your favorite fruit.” Their answer will determine which version they get. Shuffling the choices helps to spread out what version each student receives.
Make a copy of my template to help get you started. It is already set up for 5 versions, just add your questions!
Add the Questions
For each version add the questions to the corresponding section. You may want to use the first method of building the questions in a single Google Form and importing the questions to speed up the process of creating multiple versions.
Have students fill out the Form with their unique versions. Be warned that questions students did not answer will be marked wrong if you have automatic scoring enabled. Use the Form settings to disable displaying the overall score to students.
Not all of students “Question 1” will be in the same column of the form spreadsheet. This might make it more difficult to aggregate data on student performance.
Remember, multiple versions for Google Forms is a hack. It is not perfect but for many teachers this accomplishes the main goal.