Blackboard’s assessment engine is a powerful set of tools that allow instructors to create and deploy tests to students. Blackboard provides a number of options that can restrict the ways in which students are able to take a test and reduce the incidence of cheating. The more restrictive the test, the less likely the cheating. However, like airport security, the more secure the test, the less convenient it is for those taking it.
To minimize the chance of test taking problems and give students the best environment for success, we recommend certain considerations when building and deploying tests in Blackboard.
- Do not set Force Completion. This causes a student to not be able to reenter the test if something happens to kick them out. This happens a lot when working on a web browser.
- Display the questions one at a time. This benefits students by automatically saving questions as they progress
- Allow Back Tracking. Otherwise, students are encouraged to click the browser Back button, resulting in an error.
- Create Pools of Questions, and build your tests with random sets from the pools. However, do not also randomize the entire test. Double randomization is a bug in Blackboard.
- Give students a wide window in which to start the test. Discourage situations where the students all start the test at the same time.
- Give students a few extra minutes on the exam to account for unexpected load times.
- Break up large tests into multiple smaller tests. If you want to give a 2 hour test, break it up into four smaller 30 minute tests.
- Break Essay questions into their own tests. Essay questions force students to step away from the browser for extended time, increasing the risk of a browser timeout problem. Minimize the problem by having essays reside in their own test, or consider moving the essay portions to an Assignment.
Please consider these suggestions along with your own test-giving requirements as you create assessments in Blackboard.