An Essay question asks candidates to provide an extended written response to a prompt.
This article explains how to create a basic Essay question in Surpass, including details on how to enable the formatting toolbar and word counter for candidates, set up paper delivery, and add the diagram creator.
In This Article
1. Choose your item type
2. Name your item
Enter the item’s name in the Name field.
3. Enter your question text
Enter your question text in the question stem. Select Add Text Area to add an additional question stem. You can have a maximum of five question stems per item.
Open Additional Options to add source material or assistive media to your question stem. In mixed subjects, you can also add a table to your question stem (in HTML subjects, tables can be added using the formatting toolbar).
4. Add the Essay options
Set the maximum characters that candidates can provide in their response in the entry field. The default value is 5,000 characters (approximately 800 words).
Enabling the formatting toolbar
You can let candidates use basic formatting tools when writing their response.
To allow candidates to use the formatting toolbar in delivery, select Enable text formatting for candidates. This enables the following formatting options:
- Font size
- Text align (left, centre, right)
Enabling the word counter
You can let candidates view their current word count when writing their response.
To allow candidates to see their word count when entering their response, select Display word counter. The word counter’s default label is Word Count, but you can change this in the Counter label field.
Adding the diagram creator
You can choose whether you want to allow candidates to create a diagram as part of their response.
If you want candidates to provide diagrams along with their written response, select Allow candidates to add diagrams to their answers. This adds the diagram creator to the item in delivery. The diagram creator’s default label is Diagrams, but you can change this in the Button label field. For more information, read Using the diagram creator.
Setting the answer input direction
You can change the direction of candidates’ inputs to accommodate right-to-left languages like Arabic and Hebrew. For more information on test driver languages, read About Surpass test languages.
Select Additional Options to open the Options menu and choose Right to left to update the answer input direction.
Setting the number of lines
You can set how many lines candidates have to write their response on.
This acts only as a suggestion for the size of the candidate’s answer. Candidates can continue to write if they use up all the lines provided.
The value entered in the Number of lines for candidate’s response determines how many lines are provided for this question’s response in an on-screen test.
Select Additional Options to open the Options menu.
The value entered in the Number of lines for candidate’s response determines how many lines are printed for this question’s response in the test booklet.
5. Set the marking type
Essay items are set to Human marking be default. If you want to mark candidates’ responses in either the Surpass Mark screen or SecureMarker, leave the Marking Type as Human. For more information, read Setting the marking type.
6. Set the question’s marks
Set the item’s total marks in the Mark field.
7. Select a workflow status
8. Preview your question
To see your item from a candidate’s perspective, select Preview .
In Mixed subjects, you can preview your item in the HTML test driver. Use the Preview arrow to open the Preview Options menu and select Preview in HTML . Any custom CSS is applied in the Preview screen. For more information on custom CSS, read ‘About Subject settings’ in About Site Settings options.
If you need to continue working on the item, select Edit to return to the Edit screen.
9. Saving and closing your item
Select Save to save your item to your subject.
To see additional saving options, use the Save arrow to open the Save Options menu. Select Save & Close to save the item and return to the Subjects screen. Select Save & New to save the item and create another Essay item.
Select Close to leave the Edit screen. If you have unsaved changes, you are prompted to either save or discard them.
You can do much more with Essay items in Surpass. For more information, read the following articles: