Before You Begin

❗ This option is a setting available in Advanced Assessments only. If you haven't created an Advanced Assessment yet, or would like to see the beginners guide to Advanced Assessments, check out the link below:

Student Annotations

One of the optional settings available for assigning an Advanced Assessment is to give students the tools for annotating including a notepad, sticky notes, highlight tool, and drawing tool. When this setting is used, the students will have a mini-menu to choose from while taking an Advanced Assessment. These actions will be available on each item of the assessment.

Article Table of Contents

How to Enable Annotations

When you assign the Advanced Assessment, make sure to check the box for Allow Student Annotations in the Settings menu.

Student Access:

When the student begins the Advanced Assessment, they will select the menu In the upper-right corner of the screen to have access to the annotation tools.


The notepad allows the students to take running notes as they complete the assessment.

  • Notes taken on the notepad will travel from question to question. Think of it like an actual notebook - as the student takes the assessment, the notes taken while on any question will remain on the notepad as they move through the assessment.

  • The notepad can be moved around the screen.

  • Closing out the notepad will not delete the notes - the student will just need to click on the notepad option again from the mini-menu, and the notes will reappear.

Sticky Notes

Adding a sticky note to a question allows students to attach notes to just a single question, rather than keeping it on the notepad (which takes it from question to question).

  • Notes left on a sticky note will be available only for the question the note is left on; it will not travel from question to question.

  • The sticky note can't be moved around the screen, but it can be hidden by selecting Hide sticky notes from the mini-menu.

  • A deleted sticky note is unable to be recovered - a warning message will appear prior to deleting the sticky note.

Drawing Mode

Drawing mode allows the student to make free-hand drawings anywhere on the item.

  • Students can choose from four colors of the pen. They can also erase.

  • Selecting Hide drawings from the mini-menu will hide the drawings from view, but will not erase them.

Highlight Tool

Students can highlight text.

  • When a student uses their mouse to "click and drag" over a selection of text, the Highlight function will appear just above their selection.

  • They will have four colors to choose from.

  • The highlights will remain on the question as the student navigates the assessment (it will not erase when the student moves from question to question).

Otus Live Video

Below is a video from our Otus Live series on student annotations in Advanced Assessments.

Annotations FAQ

  • Will I be able to see the student's notes/drawings when they submit their assessment? No - student annotations are just for student use as they take they assessment. They are not submitted along with the assessment.

  • Do the notes/drawings save if the student exits the assessment? No - student annotations do not save when the assessment is exited (even if the assessment is saved). Annotations will re-set if the student exits and re-enters the assessment.

  • Can I turn this setting on/off after the assessment has already been assigned? Yes - this setting can be adjusted after the assessment has already been assigned.

  • Can I enable just one of the features (for example, just the notepad)? No - student annotations are a package - each of the features will be available if annotations are allowed.

  • If Allow Post Grading Review is enabled, will the student be able to see their annotations when they view their graded assessment? No - annotations are not saved upon submitting the assessment.

  • Do these features work if students are taking the assessment on an iPad? Yes - all of the features work the same way if used on an iPad.

Next Steps

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