Blackboard Bulletin: Online Tests

By: Chris Braster

This issue of the Blackboard Bulletin is going to share some tips, tricks, and recommendations on offering online tests within Blackboard. If you are new to online tests within Blackboard, please first read the Adding Tests and Surveys to Your Course [] handout to familiarize yourself with how to setup online tests.

Creation Settings
Before you begin adding questions, it is recommended that you review, and adjust as needed, the default settings for your test. Begin by clicking on the Creation Settings button within the test canvas. Some features of tests, such as Provide feedback for individual answers and Add images, files, and external links, are turned off by default.

Another important item in creation settings is Specify default point value for questions. This is set to 10 points by default, so if you were to enter 100 questions and then decide that you wanted to change them all to 1 point each, you'd have to change each question individually. Changing Specify default point value for questions to 1 point in the beginning would save you from this headache.

Auto Grading vs. Hand Grading
If you have a large class, you may want to steer clear of question types that you must hand grade, such as Essay and File Response. Blackboard can auto score almost any type of question, but the types above require an instructor to score them.

Why is the formatting in my test canvas all screwy?
Have you ever pasted in some new questions and answers and had the formatting come out looking like this:

One of the drawbacks of the Blackboard WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) text editor is that it sometimes carries over some invisible formatting when you copy and past from MS Word and other applications. Don't worry though, when the test is accessed in student mode, these funky formatting issues don't carry over. What looks like the example above in the test canvas, looks perfectly normal when the student takes the test:

"Modify the Test options" Tips
The following are recommended settings to help eliminate potential problems when deploying a test:

If there are specific topics you would like me to cover in future issues, please let me know by emailing me at or by filling out the comments poll to the right of this article (under my photo and name).

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