Assess with Quizzes and Tests
A few of options of the Blackboard Test tool are:
Low-stakes quizzes to high-stakes exams: The Test tool is used for a wide range of assessments and has a dynamic menu of options that allows you to produce anything from study-guide quizzes that students can take multiple times or final exams. There are options and additional tools that can make testing more secure, but if they aren’t implemented—unless the exam is in a proctored physical environment—tests should be considered open book.
Auto-grading: A convenience offered by the Test tool is that questions types such as multiple choice, multiple answer, true/false, or matching can be graded automatically. However, essay or short-answer questions must be graded by the instructor or TA.
Surveys: Created in much the same way tests are, students’ survey answers are anonymous and can only be only viewed in the aggregate.
Pools: You can build a database, called a “pool,” of your own questions that can be either typed in or imported from other quizzes/tests. Some textbook publishers provide Blackboard-compatible question banks that can be imported. The value of this is that questions in pools can be tagged with key topics and levels of difficulty so Blackboard can automatically generate unique tests for each student, giving you the control to make sure questions cover the same key topics and are the same levels of difficulty.
Resources about Blackboard tests
- Blackboard: Tests & Surveys on the UVM Knowledge Base
- Alternate ways to add larger numbers of test questions:
- Illustration of CTL’s recommended Test Options settings
- Instructor’s Checklist for Blackboard Tests
- Grant extra time (or other exception) in Blackboard Tests
- Send students this link: Blackboard Test-taking Tips
What if a student has a problem taking the test?
- Decision Tree to explore options
- Academic honesty and remote exams
- “Online Proctoring Tools: Balancing Academic Integrity with
Student Access and Privacy” by Dianna Murray-Close, CTL Blog
Encouraging Academic Integrity During Remote Exams
These two articles are well worth the read:
- “Academic Integrity and Remote Learning” UVM Center for Student Conduct
- “7 Ways to Assess Students Online and Minimize Cheating” Chronicle of Higher Education
Some faculty may not be comfortable using Respondus Monitor for proctoring their exams, but there are concrete steps you can take both—both technical and pedagogical—to help deter academic integrity violations.
- Research suggests that instances of cheating can be reduced if the student is asked if they will comply with academic honesty policies before taking tests. The CTL offers a 1-question Blackboard test that links to UVM’s Code of Academic Integrity (PDF) and asks if the student agrees to download, read, and abide by it. This test file and instructions to import it into Blackboard are on UVM Knowledge Base.
- If you write questions that pertain to recent events or the current context, it will be difficult to answer using online tools.
- If students have to explain their reasoning, logic, process, or analysis, it is more difficult for them to collaborate. Consider pairing a multiple choice question with a short answer question asking them to explain their thinking.
- Multiple choice questions that encourage analysis and higher order thinking will be more difficult to find online.
- Allow students to take a test more than once, focusing on mastery rather than performance. If using a large pool of questions (see below), the second attempt will not precisely match the first attempt.
Technical Recommendations and Options:
- Test Options in Blackboard that encourage academic honesty:
- Set the test timer with reasonable constraints to encourage preparation and study.
- Randomize the order of questions for each student.
- Randomize the order of answers for multiple choice and multiple answer questions.
- Hold back on releasing scores (or at least right/wrong answers) to students until a time when all students have completed the test.
- Develop “pools” (or question banks). Textbook publishers sometimes offer test banks that are ready to import into Blackboard. You can also import questions from your own tests (in Word documents) or write new questions directly into a pool. Pools can be used to build “Question Sets” in your tests. Question sets can draw upon both pools and other tests according to parameters you set. This allows Blackboard to randomly generate different tests for each student but with your control over the topics, question types, and levels of difficulty.
- If you do use questions generated by a publisher, you can edit them by changing a few variables or re-ordering words to reduce the likelihood of finding answers on the internet.
For information about Respondus LockDown Browser and Monitor as additional solutions to deter cheating, go to the Exam Decisions and choose, “No, I need to give a traditional exam / Open book is not an option.”
The Respondus LockDown Browser is a special browser that prevents a student from accessing other applications and websites while taking the test. When you deploy a test, you can choose to make this feature a requirement. Students should be instructed to download and install it well in advance, and given an opportunity to practice it with a low-stakes quiz before using it for an exam.
It should be noted that, in a remote environment (students at home), the Lockdown Browser is not an effective cheating deterrent because other devices are readily available. This is why it is most often paired with Respondus Monitor, described in the section below.
- Instructions for using the LockDown browser on UVM’s Knowledge Base
- Instructions for using the Respondus Monitor on UVM’s Knowledge Base
- Online Proctoring Tools: Balancing Academic Integrity with Student Access and Privacy, Blog post by Annie Murray-Close, Interim CTL Director