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
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
Configure the available settings to customise how the question will be presented to candidates in delivery.
Setting the character limit
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).
Setting the number of lines
You can set how many lines candidates have to write their response on.
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.
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. This enables the following formatting options:
- Font size
- Text align (left, centre, right)
- Font colour
- Horizontal line
- Special characters
- Insert table
- Bulleted list
- Numbered list
Enabling the word count
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 count. The word count’s default label is Word Count, but you can change this in the Counter label field that appears when the setting is selected.
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.
By default, the answer input direction is set to Left to Right. Select Right to left to update the answer input direction.
Advanced Essay (HTML subjects only)
The Advanced Essay mode allows candidates to respond to questions via multiple response boxes.
Select Advanced Mode
Select Advanced on the Standard/Advanced toggle to enable Advanced mode.
Write your question and add your Essay text areas
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.
To add your additional response boxes, select Add Essay Text Area.
Configure the settings for your response boxes
Settings can be configured differently for each individual response box. To change the settings for a response box, select Additional Options .
To add a label to your response box, select Label and input your text into the entry field. To change where the label will appear on your response box select either Top, Left, or Right.
To change the width of your response box, select either Narrow, Half Page, or Wide.
To allow candidates to use formatting tools when entering their response, choose between a Basic or Full toolbar. Select None to provide candidates with no formatting tools.
For a comprehensive list of formatting options included in the Full toolbar, read the ‘Enabling the formatting toolbar’ section. The Basic toolbar includes only the following formatting options:
- Font size
- Text align (left, centre, right)
To allow candidates to see their word count when entering their response, select Display word count.
To choose which direction candidates input their response from, select either Left to right or Right to left.
To determine how many lines candidates should use when entering their response enter this value into the entry field provided. The maximum value that can be entered is 100. However, candidates can exceed the specified number of lines if required.
To Set a maximum number of characters for a candidate’s response enter this value into the entry field provided.
Select Additional Options to save and close your settings.
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: