Blackboard – Tests & Surveys

Blackboard Tests and Surveys are set up the same way and have all the same features except that surveys are anonymous. For the purposes of this tutorial, we’ll refer to tests but the publishing process is the same for surveys. Quizzes are built with the Test tool.

The test creation cycle in Blackboard involves three general steps:

  1. Create the test (and import or add questions to it)
  2. Deploy it so students can take it (make it available in a Content Area)
  3. Grade it (if it’s not self-grading)

Step 1: Import or Create a Test & Add Questions

Import a Test

If your test is a Blackboard-ready zip file, you can import it:

  1. Go to the Control Panel > Course Tools > Tests, Surveys, and Pools > Tests.
  2. On this page, click the “Import Test” button, and choose “Browse My Computer” to find the zip file on your computer, select it, and click Submit.
  3. Your test will now appear on the list of tests in your course. You can either open it to edit it or you can proceed to Step 2, and deploy it.

Create a New Test

To create a new test, follow the steps below, or if you prefer, you can also follow along in this Blackboard video to see how to create a test in your course.

  1. In your course, go to Control Panel > Course Tools > Tests, Surveys, and Pools > Tests
  2. On the Tests page, select Build Test.
  3. On the Test Information page, type a name. Provide a description and instructions (optional).
  4. Click Submit.
  5. This next page is the Test Canvas, where you can add the questions.

Three Ways to add Questions

  1. Type questions in one-by-one

    This is sometimes the simplest approach when making a short quiz.

    1. On the Create/Edit page, provide the necessary information to create a question.
    2. Click either Submit and create another or, if you are done, click Submit.
    3. When you have added all the questions you need, select OK. The test is added to the list on the Tests page and is ready to make available to students (see Step 2). Note that test can be edited at any time.
  2. Import them from a Word document

    If your questions are in a Word document, they can be imported, but they need to be first formatted in an exact way and then run through a “test converter.” These are web-based tools to convert the questions to a format that can be imported easily into Blackboard. Read about using these tools on this page.

  3. Reuse questions from other tests in your course or from Pools

    Existing quizzes or tests that you’ve previously given in the course can be a resource when adding questions to, say, a mid-term exam.

    For instance, let’s say you’ve given weekly reading quizzes, each with 10 questions. Now you want to draw from them to build a mid-term exam.

    On the Test Canvas for your mid-term, choose Reuse Question. You have the option to choose:

    • Create Question Set
      This a flexible option because you can indicate that you want to draw 5 questions from, for example Quiz 1, but you want each student to have a different 5 questions chosen randomly by Blackboard. You can make a Question Set for each quiz and in this way, students will all face the same number questions on the same topics but those questions will be randomized.

      Question Sets can also draw from Pools. Pools are collections of questions that you may or may not have used in previous quizzes or tests. Pools could be created by importing questions from a publisher’s test bank or a Word file. Read about Question Sets on Blackboard’s website.

    • Create Random Block
      These are similar to Question Sets but they don’t allow you to also choose from pre-existing tests, only Pools. There is no advantage to choosing this over Question Sets
    • Find Questions
      This option is not random, as are the first two, and it’s what you would choose if ALL students should get certain questions on the mid-term. You just select those questions and add them to the Test Canvas.

Step 2: “Deploy” the Test
(to make it available to students)

After you create a test or survey, the next step is to place it somewhere where students will be able to access it, and set the date and time it will become available to them.

  1. Go to your Course Menu, select a Content Area page where you want students to find the link to the test. This might be in the Course Materials area, or in a different area that you can set up in your course menu just for tests (See Manage Course Menu).
  2. Once you click on a Content Area, you’ll see three buttons
    (click Assessments and select Test.
  3. Check to “Add an Existing Test,” select the test you just built from the list, and click Submit
  4. You are now on the Test Options page and there are many options to consider. See this image of the Test Options page that includes CTL’s recommendations. (Or see this Blackboard help page.)

IMPORTANT! The 3 most frequent Test Options settings to cause problems are:

  1. Do not turn Force Completion on (leave it in the default “OFF” setting)
  2. Do not choose to display questions “All at Once” (Make sure to present them “One at a Time”)
  3. If you enter a due date, do not select the option under it that says “Do not allow students to start the Test if the due date has passed.”

Grant Extra Time to Students with Accommodations

Instructions for Test Availability Exceptions are:
Once you’ve selected the options click Submit.

Step 3: Grade and View Results

Note: Some students aren't sure how to find their grades or grade feedback.

This short video (1.5mins) explains where to look. Students can also find the link to this video in the Student Help tab at the top of Blackboard.

Some question types are graded automatically and some need to be graded

Automatic Grading: Blackboard can automatically grade multiple choice and other question types where the answer is built in. Therefore, if the test or quiz contains only self-grading questions, Blackboard can deliver the grade immediately. (You can change when they receive their grades on the Test Options page)

Manual Grading: However, other question types need to be manually graded, such as short answer and essay questions.

If there are questions that need manual grading, you can locate the tests by going to Control Panel > Grade Center > Needs Grading. Click on the link for each student. This will take you to each student’s completed test where you can enter the grade values in the box to the right of each question.

You can also go to Control Panel > Grade Center > Full Grade Center and scroll to the column for the test. Submissions that are ready to be graded are indicated with a yellow exclamation point. Click on the small button within that cell, choose “View Attempt,” and proceed to grade questions as mentioned above.

Other Actions

View Statistics

Item Analysis:

You can obtain statistics on overall test performance and on individual test questions using item analysis. This data helps you recognize questions that might need revision. This Blackboard video explains how to use item analysis.

To learn more, see Running Item Analysis on a Test on the Blackboard website.

Test Access Log

The test access log shows a detailed list of every interaction that students engage in when taking a test. If a student claims to have started a test the log will show the time the test was started. If a network or internet disruption occurred during the test for example, the log would show an unusual gap in the time. The access log can be retrieved when viewing the assessment attempt:

  1. In the Grade Center, click the grey circle chevron that appears when you hover over the cell for the student’s attempt. Select the appropriate attempt from the list.
    Arrows pointing out the steps to view a test attempt.
  2. Click on Test Information, then on the Access Log button. Arrows showing how to get to the test access log.

Review Survey Results

Surveys are anonymous, so you cannot see individuals’ answers. You can only see which students have completed the survey because of green checkmarks that appear in the grade box in the survey column.

There are a couple of ways to view the results:

  1. In the Grade Center, click the drop down button at the top of the survey column and choose Attempts Statistics. Here you see the percentages of responses by question.
  2. To view the results in a spreadsheet, click the drop down button at the top of the survey column and choose Download Results. The defaults can be left alone, and choose Click to download results. You can either open them directly with Excel or save the file to your computer.

Copy a Test to Another Course

To copy a test from one course to another, you must first download the test to your computer:

  1. Go to Control Panel > Course Tools > Tests, Surveys, and Pools
  2. Click Tests
  3. Click the grey action button to the right of the test you want to copy
  4. Choose Export to Local Computer
  5. This downloads a zip file that should not be unzipped

Then, import it into a different course:

  1. Go to the course where you want to put it
  2. Go to Control Panel > Course Tools > Tests, Surveys, and Pools
  3. Click Tests
  4. Click the “Import Test” button
  5. Click Browse My Computer
  6. Select the zip file
  7. Click Open, then Submit

Further Resources

Updated on April 22, 2021

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