eLearning & Instructional Technology

Better Practices for Test Deployment

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 occurs most often when students are test-taking using a web browser off-campus.
  • Display questions all at once. Requires students to save the answer to individual questions.
  • Allow Back Tracking. Otherwise, students are encouraged to click the browser Back button often resulting in an error.
  • Create pools of questions and build your tests with random question sets from the pools. Do not randomize a test pool that was is also randomized. Double randomization is a known 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 two-hour test, break it up into four smaller thirty-minute tests.
  • Break essay questions into their own tests. Essay questions force students to become inactive in the browser session for an extended time, increasing the risk of a browser timeout problem. Minimize the problem by having essay questions reside in their own test or consider making the essay portions an assignment.

Please consider these suggestions along with your own test-giving requirements as you create assessments in Blackboard (This information is retrieved from "myUSF Blackboard News" on September 18, 2009).

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