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Blackboard – Troubleshooting Student Test-Taking

or, What Can Go Wrong and What to Do About It
(See table of contents on the right.)

Students are disconnected from a test and can’t get back in.

  1. First possible cause – You’ve only allowed one attempt:
    On the Test Options page, you didn’t opt for Multiple Attempts. When internet stability is uncertain, it is advisable to give students at least 2 attempts. (You can explain that they’re allowed to use the second attempt only in case of disconnection and that you’ll see what questions were answered in each attempt. You do this in the Access Logs for each student. See bottom of page.)Solution – On the Test Options page, you can give all students multiple attempts by editing that setting (Go to where the test is deployed, click the small grey action button, choose Edit the Test Options, scroll down and check “Multiple Attempts” and enter the number of attempts you will allow). Alternatively, you can grant another attempt to only one student using the Test Availability Exceptions (See bottom of page)
  2. Second possible cause – You’ve selected Force Completion: On the Test Options page, it is not advisable to select Force Completion, because if students are disconnected when they have already completed most of the test, once you give them another attempt they won’t be able to resume where they left off but will have to start at the beginning.

    Solution – Unfortunately, if you selected this, while you can allow students to take the test again, they will have to start over. You can prevent this problem from happening again on the Test Options page by un-checking Force Completion. (Remember that you can look at Access Logs for each student to see if they’ve re-answered the same questions they answered before they were disconnected. See bottom of page.)

A student’s test is still “in progress” when the period is over.

Solution – You can check their attempt and then, if answers have been recorded, you can submit the test for the student.

  1. In the Grade Center, hover your cursor over the cell that displays the grade or the In Progress icon. Click on the drop-down menu button, and choose View Grade Details.
  2. On the Grade Details page, select View Attempt.
  3. Be sure there are saved answers. (If all questions are marked with “No Answer,” you can choose to Ignore the attempt so the student can take the test again.)
  4. To submit the test, Select Test Information to expand the section, select Submit Attempt, then OK.

A test question needs to be edited after students have taken the test.

The students were able to complete the test, but now you need to edit a confusing question, delete it, or change its point value, then adjust the grade to reflect that change.

Solution – For information on how to edit questions after the test has been taken see the Blackboard Help page, “Edit, Delete, or Reorder Questions.”

Test Availability Exceptions:
A student needs extra time—or other exception—for a test.


  1. Go to where the test is deployed in your course space. Hover your cursor over the test title, click on the drop-down menu button, and choose Edit the Test Options.
  2. Scroll down to Test Availability Exceptions and choose Add User or Group. (See image.)
  3. Check the box adjacent to the name of each student who needs the exception and click Submit. (See image.)
  4. You will now see the student’s name listed under Test Availability Exceptions and you can set the exception details there.
  5. The available choices depend on what other options you have set. (See image.) For example, if you have set the test to be timed at 1 hour, you could change the timer to be 2 hours for this student. If you did not set a timer for this class, the option for extending timing will simply not appear. For another example, if you have made the test available for a specific date/time period for the rest of the class, you will see an icon to add an exception to make it available at a different date/time for this student.

How to see the student’s test “Access Log.”

Blackboard keeps an Access Log for each student that shows their interaction with the test. The Access Log can show when they started the test, when they opened a question, when they may have tried to answer a question multiple times (which may indicate a problem with the connection), and if the test was simply closed or was actually submitted.

The Access Log cannot show you the specific problem that made the test stop, or what may have produced a significant time gap between questions. It can only show that these actions occurred, which is why it is helpful for the student to let you know at what time the problem happened.

  1. Locate the cell for the student’s test attempt that you want to investigate.
  2. The cell must contain either a grade or the Needs Grading icon for an Access Log to be generated. If you submitted the test for the student, an Access Log isn’t generated unless the student selected Save All Answers.
  3. In the Grade Center, hover your cursor over the cell that displays the grade, click on the drop-down menu button, and choose Attempt. (If there are multiple attempts, choose the appropriate one.)
  4. On the Grade Test page, find the small Test Information link under the student’s name to expand the Test Information section.
  5. In the Test Information area that expands, click the “Access Log” button.

Updated on April 22, 2021

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