Create Basic Selection Questions

Learn how to create selection questions, similar to multiple choice, with optional custom options and parameter settings.

Selection questions are commonly referred to as multiple choice questions.

We will go through how to create selection questions by:

  1. Creating a question
  2. Customizing options
  3. Adding parameters (optional)

Create a question

Let’s create a question. Under the Question section, write the question you want to ask your students. Now choose Selection from the Answer type dropdown.

The next step is to add possible answers to the question. By clicking the (+) symbol, we can add as many possible alternatives as we want, but let’s start with four.

By default, all of the alternatives are marked incorrect. By clicking the red (x) symbol, we can designate which choice is the correct solution to the question.

Then we can see the points. The default for the correct answers will award 1 point while unanswered and incorrect answers will award 0 points. You could give negative points for wrong answers if preferred.

After finishing, we can preview the question. Note that the possible answers are randomized.

Customize options

There are plenty of options available to customize questions. If we return back to our original question, we can expand the Options section by clicking the arrow.

  • Single selection - When Single selection is on, which is signaled by a checkmark, the question only has one single correct solution. When it is turned off, the question can have multiple solutions. For example, now you can see that I can select multiple correct choices.
  • Order randomization - Order randomization is turned on by default and randomizes the order of the possible choices to each student. You can see an example every time you preview a question. The choices are always randomly listed.

  • Take subset - This option allows you to use an answer pool and provide each student with only a few choices from the pool. The possible answers are randomly selected for each student. For example, we have four choices in our question. We can take a subset of only three possible choices, always inclusive of the one correct answer. Then if we preview the question, we can see that there are now only three choices provided. Note that the correct solution "4" is always included.
  • Anchored alternative - Anchored alternative adds a choice that is always fixed as the last choice and included for every student. You can use it as a None of the Above option, or you can choose a custom answer. This is especially helpful when you don't have many alternatives because the more choices there are, the less likely random guessing will give full points.
  • Additive points - Additive points allows you to fully customize the points awarded to students based on their given answers. You can award positive and negative points. This is useful for questions with multiple solutions and to award students points based on their decision for each choice.

  • Clip final points at 0 - Lastly, when you use multiple selection and additive points, it is possible for students to receive a negative sum based on their given answers. If you include negative points for certain choices, clip final points at 0 will make sure that no student is awarded negative points for the entire question.

That is a brief overview of the options available to customize selection questions. As you can see, there are a variety of ways to advance your questions. We will cover the options in more detail in further tutorials.

Add parameters (optional)

In our original selection question, we can optionally add parameterization to create variations of the same question by replacing the question arguments such as numbers or words with the parameter.

For example, let’s say we want to change the question so that x plus a changing variable is equal to 5.

  1. In the Question, we simply replace the argument with a parameter variable, here `y`, defined by back ticks. We use back ticks `y` when using text or TemplateSlot["y"] when using expressions.
  2. In the Parameters section, we add the parameter using the same variable name and defining the interval minimum and maximum and steps. For example we can use a minimum 1, maximum 3, with a step size of 1 to have y equal to 1, 2, or 3.
  3. Lastly, let's include the parameter variable in the Answers. We need to change the input to an expression. The parameter variable is defined by TemplateSlot[“y”]. We know the solution for x will always equal 5 minus the parameter y. Fill the remaining answers for the question.

It’s important to remember that the parameter needs to be stated in 3 places: 

  1. the Question text
  2. the Parameters section
  3. the Choices section

We can preview the question, and we see the parameter y is randomly selected. If we preview the question again, you can see the parameter now changes.

After you finish creating your assessment, remember to save your work by clicking the cloud button. Then deploy the exam to SYLVA.


Selection questions cover classic question types for assessments. There are plenty of options to tailor your questions in SYLVA including single versus multiple selection, order randomization, taking a subset of choices, using an anchored choice, and customized point systems. You can also take advantage of question randomization for students by adding parameters to create different versions of the same question.