Quiz: Importing Questions in Aiken Format  Moodle ISU


Importing quiz questions allows instructors to create questions outside of Moodle ISU and quickly upload them into the Moodle ISU Question Bank. Because the same questions may be used in multiple Moodle ISU courses or quizzes, this import function maximizes the instructor’s time by eliminating the need to recreate quiz questions from course to course and year to year.

Note: Aiken format is only compatible with multiple choice or true/false questions. For all other question types, use the GIFT format.

For more information on GIFT Format, see:

For more information regarding Moodle quizzes, see:

This guide will help you to:

Create Questions Using the Aiken Format

  1. Open Notepad (PC’s) or TextEdit (Apple/Mac).
  2. Type the text of your first question on line one.
  3. Press Enter.
  4. Type the answer options.
  1. Only one answer per line
  2. The answer letter itself,  must be capitalized.
  3. Follow the letter answer with either a parenthesis or period. Use one format or the other. AIKEN will not accept questions with mixed with periods and parentheses
  4. Add a space after the parenthesis/period and answer.
  1. Press Enter after the last answer.
  2. Type ANSWER: followed by the correct answer.
  3. Press Enter twice before starting the next question.

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  1. Repeat steps 4-7 until all questions have been added.
  2. Save the file after all of the questions have been typed out correctly.  

To save the file in Notepad:

  1. Click File.
  2. Select Save as.

Save Document in Notepad.jpg

  1. Select a location for the file that will be easy to find in later steps.
  2. Type a name for the file in the File name text area.
  3. From the Encoding dropdown menu at the bottom of the “Save as” box, Select UTF-8.
  4. Click Save.

Select UTF-8.jpg

To save the file in MAC using TextEdit:

  1. Click Format.
  2. Select Make Plain Text.

  1. Click on the TextEdit menu.
  2. Select Preferences.
  3. Click Open and Save.
  4. Check the Add .txt extension to plain text files checkbox.
  5. From the Encoding dropdown menu, Select Unicode (UTF-8).
  6. Type the name you wish to give the file.
  7. Select a location for the file that will make it easy to find in later steps.
  8. Click Save.

Import Questions Using the Aiken Format

  1. Login to Moodle ISU. For more information, see Accessing Moodle ISU for Faculty
  2. In the Administration block, Click Question bank.

  1. Click Import.
  1. This will take you to the Import questions from file page.

File Format

  1. In the File format section, Select Aiken format.


  1. Import category -  This setting determines the category into which the imported questions will be placed within your Question Bank. Certain import formats, such as GIFT and Moodle XML, may include category and context data in the import file.
  1. To make use of this data, the appropriate boxes should be checked.
  2. If categories specified in the import file do not exist, they will be created.
  1. Match grades - Imported grades must match one of the fixed list of valid grades. If not, there are two options:
  1. Error if grade not listed -  If a question contains any grades not found in the list, an error is displayed and that question will not be imported.
  2. Nearest grade if not listed - If a grade is found that does not match a value in the list, the grade is changed to the closest matching value in the list.
  1. Stop on error - This setting determines whether the import process stops when an error is detected, resulting in no questions being imported, or whether any questions containing errors are ignored and valid questions are still imported.

Import Questions From File

  1. In the Import section, Click Choose a file.
  2. In the File picker, Click Browse.

File Picker.jpg

  1. Find the file on your computer.
  2. Click Open to select the file.
  1. Click Upload this file.

Upload this File.jpg

  1. Click Import.


Note: The next screen will show that the questions and answers have been imported into Moodle ISU. If the process encounters any errors, you will see an error notice or you will see only a portion of your questions imported. If you have an error, check the formatting of your text file. If the error continues, contact the ITRC - (208) 282-5880 or email itrc@isu.edu 

  1. Click Continue after the import process is finished.
  1.  This will take you to your Question bank where you can view the new questions.

For more information on Aiken format, see Aiken format

For additional information, contact the ITRC - (208) 282-5880 or email itrc@isu.edu 

This work was done by Instructional Technology Resource Center at Idaho State University and is licensed under the Creative Commons Unported License. To view a copy of this license, visit Attribution Noncommercial 3.0 United States or send a letter to Creative Commons, 444 Castro Street, Suite 900, Mountain View, California, 94041, USA.