What guidance is available when running a Blackboard test under examination conditions?

These are recommended guidelines for the setting up, deployment and running summative tests delivered through Blackboard under examination conditions.

Setting the test:

  • Read the Good practice guide for Blackboard question types to ensure effective and fair use of the different question types available in Blackboard.
  • Read the Designing for Effective Online Assessment guide to help you effectively design your online assessments including some practical and general guidance for writing objective test questions
  • Avoid randomisation within the test. Use Question Pools in preference as this will enable a random block of questions on the same topic, for example, to be presented together
  • Check that answers to any Fill in the Blank, Fill in Multiple Blank and Quiz Bowl questions allow for alternative spellings, abbreviations, common mis-spellings, synonyms, punctuation, and the inclusion or omission of units of measurement to numerical answers
  • Avoid lengthy instructions within the test page. Provide instructions separately in advance of the exam to aid student preparation. This is an editable set of instructions that you can download, customise and publish in your site in order to provide students with appropriate preparatory guidance when taking Blackboard tests under invigilated or examination conditions: Instructions for Blackboard tests taken under examination conditions
  • Advise students where answers to Fill in the Blank and Fill in Multiple Blank must be spelled correctly or are case sensitive, and where answers to Calculated Numeric or Formula must be presented to a set number of decimal places or include units of measurement
  • Advise students of any corrective (negative or partial credit) scoring applied to any questions, detailing the penalty applied for selecting incorrect responses
  • Offer a practice test in advance of the exam that includes all relevant features of the actual exam, all question types to be used, and a sample of questions similar in content, style and difficulty

 Deploying the test:

  • Hide any content or information from your Blackboard site that you do not wish students to access during the exam
  • Ensure students can easily find the link to the exam. You might like to post this information as an Announcement
  • Do not select the Force Completion option. Should any student experience technical difficulties during the test, they will then be able to exit the test and re-enter to complete remaining questions
  • Avoid using the Set Timer option or Test Availability Exception rules. Time should be controlled by the invigilator to discount any unforeseen delays and individual student requirements
  • Avoid applying a Password. If a password is necessary ensure that it is easy to spell. Passwords can be applied or changed when a test is in progress to prevent unauthorised access from any students who failed to turn up to the exam
  • Do not set any Test Results and Feedback rules. Make this information available manually once all students have taken the test and all attempts have been graded. On submission, students will see that the attempt has been completed
  • If you choose to display questions One at a Time, do not Prohibit Backtracking. Students should be able to answer questions in any order and return to questions that they have previously answered prior to submission
  • Hide the Grade Centre column for the test from student view. This will keep all scores and feedback hidden until all attempts have been graded

During the exam:

  • Students should be reminded that the only software running during the exam should be a web browser logged into Blackboard
  • Students should be reminded that they only need to click the ‘OK’ to begin button once, even if it takes a few moments for the first question to appear
  • Students should be reminded that at the end of the exam they need to click the ‘Save and Submit’ button at the end of the last question or test page to submit their answers. Students should only click the ‘Save and Submit’ button once even if it takes a few moments for the confirmation screen to appear
  • If questions are presented to students One at a Time, students should be reminded that they navigate through the test using the forward and backward arrows at the end of each question. Attempted questions will automatically be saved as students navigate through the test
  • If questions are presented All at Once, students should be reminded to periodically save their answers by clicking the Save button against each question
  • A member of academic and/or e-learning support staff should be present/available by phone who has Instructor access to the relevant Blackboard site and permission to access the Grade Centre

 After the exam:

  • Check that student responses have been recorded in the Grade Centre for all of the students present in the room during the exam
  • Make the link to the test unavailable
  • You will need to manually grade any student attempts that were left ‘in progress’ or those containing Essay, Short Answer or File Response type questions. You should also check all responses to any Fill-in-the-Blank, Fill-in Multiple Blank, Calculated Numeric, Calculated Formula and Quiz Bowl  type questions for any unforeseen correct responses
  • Release feedback and make the Grade Centre column for the test available as appropriate
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