Sunday, January 14, 2007

Tips for Deploying a Test in Blackboard

Click here for a video tutorial on how deploy online Tests in Blackboard.

Specific tips for deploying an online test/quiz in Blackboard

After you've created on online assessment in the Test Manager, you can deploy it into the content area of your course (e.g. "Assignments") by going to that Content Area in your course and clicking the "Create Assessment" button.

Remember, deploying an online test is not the same as a paper test. Here are some recommended settings to help eliminate potential problems when deploying a test in your Blackboard course. These settings can be found in the content area where you deploy a test (e.g. Control Panel > Assignments). Use the "Modify" button to the right of the test to open the "Modify the Test options" section.


Open test in new window - Make sure to keep this option set to No. If your student has their browser set to block pop-up windows, setting this to Yes could prevent the test from launching in their browser because the new window will be blocked by the pop-up blocker.

Allow multiple attempts - checking this option will allow the student to take the test multiple times. This is the best option when the test is a self-assessment. If it is a graded test, you will probably want to keep this option off so that they can't restart the test if they don't like their grade. Also note, whenever a multiple attempt is started, the previous attempt is deleted from the Gradebook. Only the most recent attempt is saved.

Force Completion - We do not recommend using this setting, because it can cause difficulty for students and does not effectively prevent cheating. When this is checked on, it removes the students' ability to exit and re-enter the test. This means the students must complete the test in the same browser session as when the test is initially launched. If the student closes her browser, her computer crashes, her Internet provider logs her off, etc., then she cannot get back into the test. In that event, the instructor has to make the decision as to whether or not to let the student take the test again by resetting the attempt in the Grade Center. Resetting the attempt clears out all the previously given answers and will force the student to start over.  An alternative to Force Completion is to use the "Timed Test" option and give the students a limited amount of time in which to complete the test.

Timed Tests - Instead of using the Forced Completion option to force students to take a test in one sitting, use the "Set timer" option instead. This setting records completion time for this Test. By setting the timer on and setting how long they have to take the test, you can see how long it took the student to complete the test, no matter how many times they may have accidentally closed their browser or been booted off.

You can force the test to submit automatically when the time limit is reached by turning "Auto-Submit" option ON.

Note: This will not allow students who need more time on a test to go over the limit.  If you would like to allow a student more time for a timed test, please see this article:

If Auto-Submit is OFF, Blackboard will not force a submission at the end of a timed test, but will warn the student when they have 1 minute left to submit the test themselves.  Students may go over the time limit, but if a student goes over the time allotted, they do not get an automatic score. Instead, they will get an exclamation point in the Grade Center instead, and the Instructor will need to go into the Grade Center manually grade the test, in case the instructor needs to deduct points for going over the time allotted.

Test Feedback - Sometimes an Instructor would like to only show the student their score during the time period the test is available, but then give them more detailed results once everybody has completed the test. This can be done by returning to the test options and changing the Test Feedback from the old setting to the new setting. When the student next goes to view their grades via Tools > My Grades, they will see the test results in whatever the current Test Feedback setting is.

Presentation Mode - There are many differing opinions on what option is better, All at Once or One at a Time. The "One at a time" setting forces activity on the server side of Blackboard, which can prevent problems with time-outs during test taking, especially for tests containing Essay questions that take a long time to answer.  The "One at a Time" presentation also forces Blackboard to save the students questions/progress as they move from question to question.

The "All at Once" presentation mode may be better for tests with small numbers of questions.  If you are presenting your test in "All at Once" mode, please recommend to your students that they click the Save button next to each question as they proceed through the test. This will immediately save their answer to that question in the Gradebook. Otherwise, if a student is completing a long test and gets booted from the test before completing it, all their answers may be lost. If they were clicking the Save button for each question as they proceeded through the test, the questions they already answered would still be saved.

Video demonstration: