Atomic Assessments

Atomic Assessments is a quizzing tool used to create and deliver assignments that require more advanced features than the Canvas Quizzes. Quizzes created in Atomic Assessments are seamlessly integrated within Canvas and student responses are displayed to instructors in detailed reports, providing an intuitive user experience for instructors and students. 

Key Features

  • More than 50 question types, including drag and drop, interactive charts and graphs, mathematical text for question stems and answers, and audio student responses
  • Seamless integration with the Canvas interface including the Gradebook
  • Ability to add variables into questions, which increases the number of quiz variations
  • Ability to create multi-part items that include multiple question types and that can be built on shared data
  • Robust tagging system that can be used to organize, randomly generate assessments and do outcome-based reporting
  • Advanced settings to customize activities at the question and assignment levels
  • Detailed reports on student performance at the question and assignment levels 


Atomic Assessments is integrated with all Canvas courses found in the UW-Madison Course Guide. Within Canvas, instructors can choose to enable Atomic Assessments in their courses and use it to create and publish assignments. Meanwhile, students access the assignments through Canvas without having to directly access Atomic Assessments. 

Instructional Uses

While most instructors’ quizzing needs can be met with Canvas Quizzes, Atomic Assessments is useful in courses that require more varied question types  than those offered by Canvas Quizzes. For example, science, math and engineering courses can leverage Atomic Assessments’ advanced math features, while language courses can leverage the tool’s audio recording and playback capabilities. 

Further, Atomic Assessments provides detailed reports illustrating student performance and trends, supplying instructors with helpful data to optimize the course assignments to achieve desired learning outcomes. 

Example instructional uses of Atomic Assessments include:

  • Enhance students’ learning experience through advanced quizzing features
  • Provide feedback on student performance at the question and assignment levels
  • Help achieve learning outcomes through analysis of student performance data
  • Leverage advanced quizzing settings to enforce academic integrity through IP restrictions and server-side grading

Getting Started

Atomic Assessments is available in Canvas to all for-credit courses found in the UW-Madison Guide. To determine whether a course would benefit from using Atomic Assessments instead of or in conjunction with Canvas Quizzes, you may refer to Is Atomic Assessments for me?.

To start using Atomic Assessments, you first need to unhide the Atomic Assessments in Canvas as outlined in Enabling Atomic Assessments in Canvas. Once this is done, you can start creating assignments as outlined in Creating Assignment in Canvas.

Helpful Resources


The DoIT Help Desk provides instructors, staff and students with free tech support and troubleshooting help by phone at 608.264.4357, email at and chat at In-person support is also available at the DoIT Help Desk service desk in the Computer Sciences building. Visit for hours and more information.

Instructors and instructional staff can also request a consultation through the DoIT Help Desk. A DoIT AT consultant will help you select and use the right learning technology to improve student success. In addition, the Learn@UW KnowledgeBase offers helpful documents for instructors, course owners and students.