Tests and Quizzes

Can I prevent cheating during an online quiz?

Dishonesty in test-taking is not new to the online environment. See Tips to Reduce the Impact of Cheating in Online Assessment for some strategies to reduce the impact of cheating in online tests.

What types of questions can I include in my test, quiz, or survey?

The current version of Blackboard (9.1), allows a wide variety of different question types, including Multiple Choice, True/False, Hot Spot, Matching, and Essay, to name a few. Learn more about the questions types at question types

How do I add tests from my textbook publisher into my course?

The method for adding tests to a course differs based on how the publisher formatted the materials, and they unfortunately don't always use the correct terms. To start, you usually need to download the tests from the publisher. The tests should be packaged as .zip files. If they publisher asks for the version of your learning management system, the current version is always listed on the Teaching with Blackboard Home Page

If the publisher provided Tests:

  1. Download the test(s) from the publisher and save them on your computer
  2. Log into Blackboard and access the course you want to add the test to
  3. In the Control Panel, click Course Tools
  4. From the list of tools, click Tests, Surveys, and Pools
  5. On the next page, click Tests
  6. In the toolbar, click the Import Test button
  7. On the next page, click the Browse My Computer button
  8. In the pop-up window, find and select the .zip file for the test. Click the Open button
  9. Click the Submit button to complete the import

The test will now be added to your Test Manager in Blackboard. You can deploy the test to any content area of your course (For example, in Assessments).

If the import does not work or gives you an error, the publisher may have actually given you a Pool instead of a Test. A Pool contains test questions but does not have the additional details for a test, such as question order or points possible.

If the publisher provided Pools:

  1. Follow steps 1-4 above
  2. Instead of clicking Tests in step 5 above, click Pools
  3. Follow steps 6-9 above

Once the Pool is imported, you will need to create a Test and then Reuse Questions to add the questions from the Pool to the Test. Once the test has all of the necessary questions, you can deploy the test 

How do I add images to a test or quiz question?

Images, files and external links can be added to test questions wtihin the question by using the Insert/Edit Images button in the third row of the text box editor. Adding images to test question answers or feedback is a 2 part process. First, you have to enable the image setting for that test. To do so, click the Question Settings button on the Test Canvas (the page where you add questions). Place a checkmark next to Add images, files and web links to answers or Add images, files, and web links to individual feedback then click the Submit button.

When you create or modify questions, browse for the image file (click the Choose File button next to File). Choose Display image within the page from the Action drop down menu. With this option, the image will be embedded right into the question. Or you can choose Create a link to this media file -- in this case Blackboard will not display the image, but will add a link for it that students will be able to click on.

When I want to remove access to my test will I lose the data?

If a test is removed after students have taken it, the data will be lost. Instead, once all students have taken the quiz, the Faculty Member can make the test unavailable; this way the data remains in the Grade Center but students do not have access to the test. To make a test unavailable:

  1. Make sure that Edit Mode is On
  2. Navigate to the content area that the test is in (For example, Assessments)
  3. Click the Action Link next to the title of the test
  4. Click Edit Test Options from the Action Link Menu
  5. Click Modify test options
  6. Change the setting for Do you want to make the test visible? to No
  7. Click the Submit button

I'm getting a NullException Error when I tried to go to one of my Tests. What happened?

If you see this error when trying to access a content area with a test deployed in it or the Tests, Surveys, and Pools, it may have been caused by the Item Analysis Tool being disabled. Please contact the IT Service Desk at 815-753-8100 or ServiceDesk@niu.edu. They will determine if this is the cause and re-enable Item Analysis. This should allow you to access your Tests again.

You can try turning Edit Mode off and then trying to access the deployed test. If you are able to see the test with Edit Mode off, then students should still have access to and be able to submit deployed tests. The students’ completed tests can still be graded through the Grade Center, and grades and feedback will appear in My Grades.

While the error is being investigated, you can edit deployed tests by going to the Grade Center. Click on the drop-down menu next to the Grade Center column of the test you wish to edit. Select Edit Test if you wish to change something on the Test Canvas, such as adding/editing a question. Once you are in the Test Canvas, use the drop-down menu next to the test name and select Modify Options to change options such as availability dates or multiple attempts.

How can I combine questions from several tests into one, larger test?

Faculty can combine questions from several tests by creating a new test and then using the Reuse Questions button to add questions from existing pools or assessments into the new exam.

I created a test/quiz in Blackboard and found an error. Can I go back and change that question?

Questions can be modified before the test has been taken by students. After that, the text of the questions and answers cannot be changed, but the correct answer and point values can be updated. Blackboard will automatically regrade the student submissions.

See the FAQ about how to change the correct answer and point values

After a test is taken, if a question has the wrong answer marked, and I change it to the right answer, will the scores be updated?

It is possible for you to update the correct answer and point values after students have taken a test. You have the option of changing the correct answer, giving full credit to everyone, or making the question extra credit.

To change the correct answer for a multiple choice question:

  1. Go to the test canvas by clicking the round drop down arrow next to the test, either where it is deployed or in the Grade Center
  2. Click Edit the Test from the menu
  3. Find the question that needs to be changed
  4. Click the round drop down arrow next to the question
  5. Click Edit from the menu
  6. Change which answer choice is correct by selecting a different radio button
  7. When you click the Submit and Update Attempts button, Blackboard will automatically regrade the question and update student scores

The process is similar for other question types. If you want to give students credit for more than one response (i.e. you are now accepting 2 or more correct answers on a question that only had 1 correct answer), select the option for allowing partial credit and give the second correct answer 100% partial credit. 

You may also want to throw out a question by giving all students the points or by changing the question to extra credit.

To award full credit or extra credit:

  1. Go to the Test Canvas (steps 1 & 2, above)
  2. Find the question that needs to be changed
  3. Click the Point value to the right of the question
  4. Click the appropriate checkbox, Extra Credit or Full Credit
  5. Click the Submit and Regrade button

Students are complaining that they get error messages when attempting to submit quizzes. Are there any solutions?

Remind students that successfully taking a test in Blackboard requires them to follow a few simple guidelines:

  1. DO NOT use the browser's back button to navigate during a test. The back button will invariably result in an error
  2. Do not begin a test unless you have time to complete it. Once you open an exam, you should finish and submit (particularly if Force Completion is turned on)
  3. Do not take a test or quiz on a mobile device unless your professor has told you it will be compatible
  4. If you finish the test and submit but get an error message, contact your professor immediately

There is also a Test Access Log that you can use to determine when the student accessed the test and if a problem occurred.

For some of my students, the Hot Spot question does not record the students' selections in the correct area. What is causing this?

There are a few reasons this could occur. First, it is important to understand that the Hot Spot question type uses a built-in browser capability for identifying the coordinates of where you click on the image. The browser sends this to Blackboard as a coordinate pair, and then Blackboard checks to make sure that point is in the region identified as the correct answer.

In some cases, students' answers are inaccurately marked as incorrect because they are using Internet Explorer. Some versions of Internet Explorer calculate the coordinates differently. Students should try to use a different browser for taking tests with Hot Spot questions, such as Firefox, Chrome, or Safari.

Another problem situation arises if the students zooms in or out of the browser to make the text and images larger or smaller. Because coordinates are calculated from the upper left corner of the image, the position would be different for an image re-sized by the browser, so a correct selection would be marked as incorrect. Students should not use the browser zoom controls when taking a test with Hot Spot questions.

I want to get a report on the percent correct per question in a test. Can I see this individually or by class?

Yes, it is possible to view percent correct on a test either for an individual student or for the class in general. To view a breakdown of percent correct for the class, go to the Grade Center and click the drop down arrow next to the title of the test in the Grade Center Column. Then, click Attempt Statistics. This will display each question of your quiz and the corresponding percentages of students selecting each possible answer. *Note - If you happened to use question pools to build your test, you won't see this aggregate summary as not all students answered identical questions.

You can also use the Item Analysis to view additional details for each question on the test, such as the discrimination score and difficulty rating.

To view a the percentage correct and the specific questions answered correct/incorrect for an individual student, go to the Grade Center and click the drop down arrow next to the student's score. Click View Attempt to see each question that student answered and whether the response entered was either correct or incorrect.

A student sees a quiz grade as "!" when it's a calculated grade. Assigning an override grade does not display the grade. How do I make sure the student sees a grade and not "!" ?

If you allow multiple attempts on tests and quizzes, the Blackboard Grade Center will score them based on the score of the Last Graded Attempt (if you don't change that setting). If the student for some reason didn't finish his/her last attempt, both the Faculty Member and the student may see "!" instead of the score. So even though you expect to see the calculated grade, the Blackboard Grade Center didn't assign a grade.

To override the student grade where you see "!" or an "In Progress" icon, please first clear the attempt that was not finished. To clear an attempt:

  1. Go to the Grade Center
  2. Click the action link next to the In Progress or "!" icon
  3. Click the View Grade Details link in the menu
  4. Click the Clear Attempt button for the attempt that was not finished

If it was the student's only attempt, you will have to ask the student to resubmit the test. Sometimes students, instead of clicking the Submit button, choose the Save button inadvertently. Save will generate In Progress icon, and the student will have to go back and finish the test by clicking Submit button.

For multiple attempt tests, the test can be graded on the:

  • Last Graded Attempt (default)
  • First Attempt
  • Average of Attempt Grades
  • Highest Grade
  • Lowest Grade

You can change this setting by editing the Grade Center column for the test or by editing the Test Options where the test is deployed. 

Should I use Force Completion when I set up a test?

We do not recommend that you use the Force Completion option when setting up a test. This option requires that students complete the test in one sitting, without closing their browser. This seems like a useful feature to prevent students from beginning a test, viewing the questions, and then closing the test to look up answers or confer with a classmate. However, it also prevents students from continuing a test if they have technical difficulties, such as losing internet connection, their browser crashing, or their computer freezing. Students who experience technical difficulties will have to contact you to have their test reset so that they can begin again in order to complete the test. You will then need to clear their attempt, and the students will have to begin the test over again.

Instead, we recommend that you use a timer to limit how long students have to complete the test. The timer begins counting down from when they click the Begin Test button. If a student closes their browser, the timer continues even though they have left the test. If you also turn on the Auto-Submit feature, the test will automatically be submitted when the timer expires. This would prevent students from closing the test to look up answers while allowing those who have technical difficulties to log in and continue the test within the time limit established with the Timer.

If individual students have accommodation requests for specific time limits, such as double the length of time allowed for other students, you can set those on an individual basis using the Test Exceptions feature. 

I have a Word document with multiple choice questions that I want to transfer to a Blackboard course (for student assessment/tests). I cannot copy and paste the test questions and answers. What can I do so that I do not have to type of all the questions and answers into Blackboard?

Fortunately, there are a few options for turning a Word document into a test in Blackboard. The system we have used and recommend most often is the College of Southern Idaho Quiz Generator at csi.edu/blackboard/bbquiz. You will need to reformat your questions in the Word document to match the style in their documentation guide (csi.edu/blackboard/bbquiz/doc.asp), but that is easier to do than recreating the questions in Blackboard.

There are other test generators available. A summary of the most popular ones is available at cod.edu/it/blackboard/testgenerators.htm. They all work essentially the same way, though, starting with a carefully formatted Word document.

Once you have your test questions generated, the CSI Quiz Generator will give you a .zip file. In Blackboard, you would go to your Course and then click:

  1. Course Tools in the Control Panel
  2. Tests, Surveys, and Pools
  3. Pools
  4. Import Pool
  5. Browse My Computer
  6. Find and select the .zip file
  7. Submit

Once the questions are imported into the Pool, you would create a Test in Blackboard and use the Reuse Questions option to select the questions from the Pool

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Last Updated: 8/16/2017