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How do I use question pools to create isomorphic questions?

If you give an exam in a crowded lecture hall, you may use several versions of the exam. You may change the order of the questions, the order of the answers to Multiple Choice (MC) items, or the precise content of the items themselves (such as changing numerical values). These options are available for exams given through Brightspace and TopHat, and result in each student having a slightly different but equivalent exam, reducing the probability of unwanted student-student collaboration.

Isomorphic questions are those that are identical except for a small change. For example, you could ask students to calculate the number of NADH produced from the beta-oxidation of a fatty acid, changing the number of carbons; to identify a segment of a graph, changing which segment is to be identified; to identify the impact of a molecule, changing whether it is an activator, an inhibitor, or irrelevant. The idea is that you create a question pool that consists of 2-4 isomorphic questions and then the exam creator (e.g., Brightspace or TopHat) pulls one question from each question pool for each student exam it generates.

Create a question pool for isomorphic questions
Add the question to your quiz


Updated March 2020

Create a question pool for isomorphic questions

1) In the Quiz tool, click on the Question Library tab.

2) In this new window, click New and select Section.


3) Give the section a meaningful Title. In the example there will be three isomorphic questions that ask students to calculate % of a particular nucleotide. The title of the section is “%A pool”. You may opt to hide the section title and text from the students. Click Save.


4) You will return to the Question Library screen and see your section. Click on your new section to add new questions. Make them isomorphic by just changing one small part of the question. In this question, we’ve changed the %G in the organism. Click save when you are finished.


5) After adding 2-4 questions to your pool, save.

Add the question to your Quiz

1.) Go back to your Quiz tool and select the quiz you want to edit.


2.) Click Add/Edit Questions. Once in that page, click Add and choose Question Pool. Click on Browse Question Library, and choose your pool. Click Add (bottom of page).


3.) Choose the number of questions you want to add from the pool and the number of points associated with the questions. Click Save when you are finished.