Top 10 Blackboard Test Tips

Tip #1: Use a “Converter” to Import Your Questions from Word

If you’ve been copying and pasting your questions from a Word document, one-by-one into the Blackboard Test Tool, we’re happy to tell you that there’s a faster way! Using a free web-based tool for converting test questions from Word is definitely more efficient, especially if you have an eye for detail.

Read Importing Test Questions from a Word File on the UVM Knowledge Base to learn more.

Tip #2: Get Creative with Question Types

Sure, multiple choice and fill-in-the-blank questions are effective, but there are some less commonly used question types (that Blackboard will also auto-grade) to add some variety and flexibility.

  1. With a Hot Spot question, you insert an image (such as a diagram, a graph, a chart, a picture) and ask students to click on the area on the image that corresponds to the correct answer.
  2. Matching questions can ask students to match theorists with theories, terms with definitions, causes with effects, or scenarios with best responses.
  3. Ordering questions help evaluate students’ understanding of sequenced information. This could be placing events on a timeline, choosing the steps of an experiment, or sequencing the necessary conceptual information for solving a calculation.

Tip #3: Build Your Test so Each Student has a Different Version

Creating differences in each student’s test will help prevent students from glancing at a neighbor’s screen and copying correct answers. A couple of simple ways to create variations are:

  • If the order of your test questions doesn’t matter, you can shuffle them by choosing “Randomize Questions” on the Test Options page.
  • If the order of your multiple choice answers doesn’t matter, you can choose to randomize them at the question level.

But using Question Sets is the most powerful method.
Question Sets are a feature in the Test Tool that allow you to select sets of questions from which you can pull out a randomly-selected, smaller subset that will be different for each individual student’s test. In addition, you can use criteria (such as questions affiliated with particular book chapters or questions tagged with difficulty levels or question types) to break the test into thematic segments. See Blackboard’s page on using Question Sets.

Tip #4: More Strategies to Encourage Academic Honesty

Faculty often have questions and concerns regarding academic honesty and online tests and exams. This page discusses research-based pedagogical practices and technology options you can use to deter cheating and encourage academic integrity.

Tip #5: Know Your (Test) Options

When you deploy a test—that is, make it available to students—you are presented with a long page of options that can be baffling unless you know exactly what they all mean.

This page shows the Blackboard test options with CTL recommendations including the place to grant extra time or other exceptions.

Tip #6: Share Blackboard Test-taking Tips with Students

Encourage your students to read this list before taking their tests. If they follow all the steps, it will go a LONG WAY in preventing technical problems!

Tip #7: Troubleshoot When a Student has a Tech Problem with a Test

This page on the UVM Knowledge Base covers what to do if:

  • A student needs extra time—or other exceptions—for a test
  • Students are disconnected from a test and can’t get back in
  • A student’s test is still “in progress” when the period is over
  • A test question needs to be edited after students have taken the test
  • You need to see how a student has interacted with the test by looking at the access log

Tip #8: Tricks for Grading and Giving Feedback

  • If you have a test—or even one question on a test—that is not automatically graded, but requires manual grading, you can choose to
    1. Grade it by question: You can grade all the students’ responses to a single question before moving on to the next question. To find this option in the Grade Center click the menu button in the header of the Test column and choose “Grade by Question.”
    2. Grade anonymously: To find this option in the Grade Center click the menu button in the header of the Test column and choose “Grade with User Names Hidden.”
  • If there is particular feedback that you’re apt give to students for a wrong (or right) answer you can automate this by entering that feedback when building the question itself. This only works with the automatically-graded question types. This is especially useful when giving quizzes designed to gauge and reinforce students’ understanding of foundational concepts.

Tip #9: Analyze Test Results Using Item Analysis

Item analysis of a test can help you decide if the questions you created were understood by the students and if they appropriately measured understanding of course material. To learn how to access a test’s Item Analysis see this video.

Tip #10: Make Sure Your Students Know Where to Find Feedback

Sometime students don’t know how to see the feedback you’ve left on a test or even how to find their grades. This short video covers these questions for both tests and assignments. Your students can find this video on the Student Help tab at the top of Blackboard.