Drag-and-drop question

Drag-and-drop questions in digital assessment: what are they and how do you use them?

Within digital assessment, there are numerous options when it comes to question types. An example is the towing question. What exactly is this question? What are the pros and cons and what are tips on how to use this question type within assessments and exams? Read on!

What is a drag-and-drop question?

A drag-and-drop question is a closed digital question type that requires the candidate to “drag” answer options into the correct order. This question type requires the candidate to be familiar with the sequence of events, steps in a process or how certain elements are connected.

So the question type is an interactive and visual way to test knowledge. The drag-and-drop question tests not only the candidate’s content knowledge, but also their ability to organize information in a logical manner and determine the correct sequence. These components make it a question you can use well in both formative and summative testing.

Example and score distribution of a trailing question

Example: Below is the correct historical event to the correct dates.

  1. First man on the moon
  2. First human in space
  3. Landing of the first robot on Mars

Answer options: There are three answer options for this question, called 1961, 1969 and 1971. The candidate drags the correct event to the correct year….


The scoring of the trailing question may vary. For example, you can choose to award points only if all questions are answered correctly. Or you work with partial points if not all answers are arranged correctly.

Benefits of a trailing question

There are a number of advantages that the trailing question has in terms of digital assessment:

  • More interactive and challenging: Drag-and-drop questions are more interactive than traditional multiple-choice questions. This provides a better assessment experience for the candidate
  • Shows depth of knowledge: By asking the participant to drag and arrange objects, the assessment can give a better picture of how deep the participant’s knowledge is.
  • Flexible testing: Drag-and-drop questions are flexible in their design and can be used in many different ways. So you can use them to tie different parts of the lesson material together in a question.
  • Smooth assessment: Digital assessment software allows you to assign points directly to the candidate’s performance.

Disadvantages of a trailing question

Of course, there are also some drawbacks to using a trailing question in an exam. Some disadvantages are as follows:

  • Complexity: Because of the property of organizing information and sequencing, trailing questions may be complex for some candidates. Keep this in mind when choosing the test question!
  • Technical Problems: Technical problems may occur while using drag-and-drop questions. Consider screen or resolution (accessibility) issues. Therefore, choose the right testing software.
  • Time pressure: A trailing question requires a quick and precise answer during the exam. After all, the right elements must be dragged to the right place. This can create additional pressure for candidates who do not like to perform under time constraints.

Tips for drafting a trailing question

  • Clear answer options: Provide clear response options with a limited number of steps or elements.
  • Not too complex: Keep in mind the level of candidates and do not make the question too difficult and invasive.
  • Keep skills in mind: Not every exam candidate is equally developed in terms of digital skills. Therefore, provide clear instructions on how to answer the towing question.

Conclusion: the trailing question in digital assessment

Drag-and-drop questions are an effective way to test candidates by organizing information logically and sequencing correctly. The question type is flexible, visually appealing and easily assessed (automatically) by the assessment software. However, always be keen on the quality criteria of exam questions. Want more information about digital assessment? Our technical assessment experts are here for you!

Related Content

Find quick answers