Canvas Quizzes, What’s the Difference?

If you have enabled New Quizzes in your course, you can either set to ALWAYS use new quizzes or be asked to select between new and classic quizzes each time. I do suggest having the option to choose. You might be wondering what the difference is between the two types of quizzes and let me assure you, there are significant differences. Here is a breakdown of what you can expect when using each of the quizzes in Canvas.


There are several feature differences between the quiz types and I will highlight a few that I find most differentiating between the two. First, in Classic quizzes, you can create an ungraded quiz or practice quiz. To complete this action in New Quizzes you must create an assignment worth “0” points and set it to be excluded from the grade (as needed). It does not work well with complete/incomplete for a grading type either. Classic quizzes allow you to create a survey and New Quizzes does not. You’d have to finagle it with the upgraded options. In my opinion, this is a win for Classic quizzes.

Next is how they handle question bank items. Classic quizzes let you bookmark a bank while New quizzes let you tag banked items and search within an item bank. Both allow importing and deleting of banks and random questions pulled from a question bank. I would say it is a tie here and you might prefer one over the other depending on your use of question banks.

Question Types

Question types or items they create are also slightly different. New quizzes will have more workarounds such as fill in the blank for multiple blanks, you will need to use blank questions and add multiple. This would be the same workaround for multiple dropdowns. Adding just text (no question) is an option for Classic quizzes, but for New quizzes, this would be considered stimulus content and require adding questions. The question types are where New quizzes do have some added benefits as it allows for categorization, having a stimulus/passage, ordering, and hot spot (limited to 1-sport per question). I believe there needs to be an improvement to some of these question types for better functionality, but love some of the New quizzes question types, so they take the win.


Setting options are more robust in New quizzes as it allows you to specify a waiting period between quiz attempts, it will shuffle the questions rather than just shuffling the answers. They both can be set to display one question at a time, can set a time limit, and hide student responses. There are a few places that customization of new quizzes is through editing the assignment rather than in the Build feature. Knowing that the initial access is where you can modify the typical assignment settings, but the bulk of settings is in the Build section under settings. Overall, New quizzes win here as it has more setting options overall.

Grading and Quiz Moderation

Both the New quizzes and Classic quizzes offer moderation, the ability for students to view their results, adding fudge points, and auto-grading options. The two differences of note are that New quizzes will allow you to moderate the quiz and add extra time to individual students or for the whole course whereas Classic quizzes allow you to grade one question at a time in SpeedGrader. Another difference is that to access SpeedGrader and Moderation for Classic quizzes, you open the quiz and they are available, similar to any assignment. For New quizzes, this process is more complex, and clicking to different places to find what you are looking for…for example, to moderate the new quiz you need to access it from editing and then choose “Build.” To access SpeedGrader, you need to launch that from the Grade Book. While the moderate option in New quizzes allows you to sort by status and add time accommodations by the student. This one is tough since there are some great moderation aspects to New quizzes, but because of the clunkiness of getting to moderate and SpeedGrader, I will say they are tied.

Comparison of Classic quizzes moderation and New quizzes moderation features
Adding extra attempts. New quizzes also allow for individual student time adjustments.
New quizzes will also allow you to add accommodations for a student and apply time adjustments to all course assessments.


All right, the final category here is reports and checking your analytics on quiz performance. Classic quizzes offer a quiz summary with the option to filter by section, a student analysis excel download, and an item analysis excel download. It also breaks down the data by question. New quizzes, once again require you to enter Build in order to access reports. You can then view the quiz and item analysis and outcomes analysis, which requires you to be using outcomes! The biggest data difference is the New quizzes offer Quintile Performance. Learn more about New quizzes reports. Overall, they both offer some great data points regarding your quiz and might be worth trying a quiz in each one to see if you like the way the data is displayed in one more than the other. I will call this one a tie!

Where I have landed on this is that you will likely continue to use both options depending on your need and comfort level. They each won some and tied others, so it really is a personal choice and what works best for your class, the question type, and whether you wanted it graded or not. I do suggest exploring New quizzes if you have not yet done that and here is how you can turn this course level feature on.

  1. Navigate to Course Settings
  2. Choose Feature Options
  3. Enable New Quizzes

Here are some other considerations:

  • Classic quizzes and New quizzes do not share quiz banks
  • Question libraries from Classic Quizzes cannot be migrated to New Quizzes without a time-consuming workaround.
  • New Quizzes do NOT support partial credit for questions in some cases.
  • New Quizzes do NOT come with the functionality to build surveys.
  • New Rich Content Editor is still being worked on in New quizzes, so not all features may be available.


Great overview of what you need to know to get started with New Quizzes: What is New Quizzes?
The New Quizzes Instructor Guide
New Quizzes Overview Video
The Comparison Document between New and Classic quizzes
New Quizzes FAQ
Moving Classic Quiz Bank to New Quiz Item Bank (Bob Jones University,

For more on Canvas, check our past blog posts. For more support, please contact your Ed Tech Lead or Ed Tech TOSA.

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