Online quizzes can be a good way to help students assess their learning. Faculty and instructors can now choose from two different options–Canvas Quizzes and Gradescope’s online quizzing tool, which the company calls “Online Assignments”.

Though their functions and features largely overlap, there are significant differences that render them suitable for different purposes. This blog post will survey the various features of Canvas Quizzes and Gradescope Online Assignments to help instructors choose between the two tools.

If you teach a class in the Humanities or Social Sciences, Canvas Quizzes would be an ideal choice for creating small, low-stakes assessments. Canvas supports eleven question types, and you can quickly create a wide range of auto-graded questions to test students’ understanding of the course materials. Canvas’ support of question banks means that instructors can randomize and reuse questions and save questions from the current quiz for future reference.

However, if you need to make extensive use of LaTex or develop questions with sub-questions, you should choose Gradescope Online Assignments. Compared to Canvas, Gradescope offers better support for LaTex and Markdown to write formulas and equations and format the question text. As you add questions, you can preview the quiz on the right side of the screen. Gradescope Online Assignments allows the use of rubrics for each question and its sub-questions. You can even change rubrics on the fly, and Gradescope Online Assignments will automatically apply the changes to the graded questions.

Canvas Quizzes vs. Gradescope Online Assignments

Canvas Quizzes is native to Canvas and therefore fully integrated with other Canvas features like Speedgrader and Gradebook. Not only can the instructor create, deliver, and grade quizzes within Canvas, but s/he can also publish grades, review quiz result statistics, and communicate with students on the same platform.

Canvas Quizzes offers two types of quiz options that serve multiple pedagogical goals: ungraded practice quizzes, whose scores do not count towards students’ final grades, and graded quizzes for conducting low-stakes, summative assessments.

In terms of user-friendliness, Canvas Quizzes has a clear interface with intuitive features for creating and editing questions.  It currently supports 11 question types: multiple choice, true/false, fill in the blank, fill in multiple blanks, multiple answers, multiple dropdowns, matching, numerical answer, formula question, essay question, and file upload question. Canvas Quizzes supports the Rich Content Editor, with which the instructor can insert multimedia (images, video, URLs, and links to other Canvas materials) in question stems.

With Canvas Quizzes, the instructor can take advantage of the advanced feature of Question Groups to randomize questions within a quiz. Additionally, instead of creating individual questions from scratch, you can import questions from existing Question Banks from previous courses. This process is, of course, reversible: the instructor can save new questions to a question bank for future reuse.

Compared to Gradescope, Canvas Quizzes makes it easier to moderate online quizzes because it is native to Canvas and has direct access to the student roster. The instructor can assign quizzes to a section within a class or allow a student an extra attempt. Canvas Quizzes also facilitates the calculation of grades by keeping the highest/most recent/average score for a quiz that allows multiple attempts.

Example Canvas Quiz

In contrast, Gradescope is a third-party tool that was originally conceived to facilitate grading paper-based assignments digitally. Online Assignments is the equivalent of Canvas Quizzes in Gradescope, and is an additional feature that allows instructors to create and grade fully online quizzes while utilizing Gradescope’s well-developed rubrics tool. Gradescope is integrated with Canvas; after enabling it in the course navigation, instructors can sync student rosters and sync grades for each item manually. In addition, the instructor needs to send out invitation links to students.

Gradescope Online Assignments supports fewer question types than Canvas Quizzes. The instructor can employ its question creation options to create the following types of questions: multiple choice, fill in the blank, fill in multiple blanks, multiple answers, numerical answer, short answer, essay question, and file upload question. Neither Question Groups nor Question Banks is available for Gradescope Online Assignments. Alternatively, the tool offers the option to add sub-questions to a stem question, which makes it easier to award partial credit to students. This feature may prove to be particularly useful for STEM classes.

Gradescope Online Assignments supports coding directly in lieu of using a graphical interface to create an online quiz. In Canvas Quizzes, instructors fill in a template for each question type using the Rich Text Editor; the process of creating a quiz question in Gradescope Online Assignments, on the other hand, is similar to playing with Lego bricks/coding. To provide a visual aid, the question creation interface is bisected so that you can preview the questions on the right side of your screen as you edit questions. This live preview feature is not available for Canvas Quizzes, where an instructor must first finish editing all the questions and then review them in a batch. Nevertheless, Canvas Quizzes allows you to preview and test quiz questions and settings from a student’s perspective.

Example Gradescope Online Assignment

The range of quiz moderation and delivery options provided by Gradescope Online Assignments largely overlaps with that of Canvas Quizzes. The instructor can set availability dates and time limits for online quizzes and allow multiple attempts in both cases.

Canvas Quizzes vs. Gradescope Online Quizzes Feature Comparison Chart

Feature  Canvas Quizzes  Gradescope Online Quizzes 
Supported by ATS ✅ Yes ✅Yes
User support and documentation ✅Yes ✅Yes
Integration with Canvas ✅Yes ✅Yes

Needs to manually sync roster and grades

Supported assessment types Graded quiz

Ungraded practice quiz

Graded survey

Ungraded survey

Graded quiz
Question banks ✅Yes Not available
Randomize questions ✅Yes Not available
Restrictions ✅Supported

(Require access code & Filter IP addresses)

Not available
Assign to different sections ✅Yes ✅Yes
Set time limit and due date ✅Yes ✅Yes
Allow multiple attempts ✅Yes ✅Yes
Supported question types Multiple choice


Fill in the blank

Fill in multiple blanks

Multiple answers

Multiple drop-downs


Numerical answer

Formula question

Essay question

File upload question

Multiple choice

Fill in the blank

Fill in multiple blanks

Multiple answers

Numerical answer

Essay question

File upload question

Question stem editing Insert image

Insert video

Insert URL link

Link to other Canvas materials

Insert image

Insert URL link

Answer choice editing Insert image

Insert video

Insert URL link

Insert image (through file upload enabled by the instructor)

Insert video (through file upload enabled by the instructor)

Insert URL link

Question groups ✅Yes Not available
Sub-questions Not available ✅Yes
Allow multiple attempts ✅Yes ✅Yes
Integration with Proctorio ✅Yes Not available
Moderated grading ✅Yes ✅Yes

(Through Canvas Assignments)

Fudge points ✅Yes ✅Yes
Grade with rubrics

Import rubrics

Import rubrics

Use rubrics for each question

Change rubrics on the fly

Apply changed rubrics to graded questions


Text comment

Multimedia comment

Text comment

Grade publication Publish grades individually

Publish grades all at once

Publish grades all at once
Communication with students Message students based on their grades

Email students

Email students
Student access View grades and comments View grades and comments

View statistics

Download graded quizzes

Quiz statistics General statistics (minimum, median, maximum, mean, standard deviation)

Statistics by question

General statistics (minimum, maximum, mean, standard deviation)

Statistics by question

Statistics by tag/concepts

Request for regrade Not available ✅Yes
Fees No cost to instructors and students No cost to instructors and students

Further resources and getting help

Academic Technology Solutions (ATS) supports the use of both Canvas Quizzes and Gradescope Online Assignments for academic purposes. If you have additional questions or need extra help choosing between these two tools, our colleagues at Academic Technology Solutions are happy to have a consultation with you. To set up a consultation, please contact ATS.
Proctorio is currently in pilot at the University of Chicago and requires faculty to purchase student licenses per test instance. If you would like to use it for exam proctoring, please fill out the Proctorio Contact Form.

Resources for Canvas Quizzes

Resources for Gradescope Online Assignments

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