How do I create a pool of questions?

Question Pools allow you to create assessments where the choice of test questions  can be generated at random from one or more question pools so that no two students will be taking an identical test. Each time a test is opened by a student, a different set of questions is delivered from the pool(s). This applies to each student taking that test, as well as the same student taking the test multiple times (where you permit multiple or unlimited attempts).

Randomly generated tests can often be more difficult to construct than a fixed test page because of the need for a larger bank of questions, but do have the advantage of being secure, flexible and scalable.

It is good practice to group questions into pools according to difficulty and type of skill being tested (e.g. recall, comprehension, analysis or application). Assessments can then be created that draw a certain number of questions from each pool ensuring that specific skills or knowledge is being tested in an equitable way. Each question should be independent of each other.

A Random Block is treated like a question type.  A test can consist of multiple Random Blocks and they can be placed anywhere on a test along with other question types. For example, you can make the first few questions on a test be the same for every student, the next few questions scrambled from random blocks, and the final questions the same again for every student.

Step 1: First create your pool (or pools) of questions. Go to Control Panel > Site Tools > Tests, Surveys and Pools > Pools > Build Pools.

Step 2: On the Pool Information page enter a Name. Description and Instructions are optional and will not be seen by students. Click Submit.

Step 3: On the Pool Canvas:

  1. Click Create Question and choose a question type. (Read this article for information about creating each different question type, and this article for good practice guidance when creating and using each question type). Create the question and click Submit.
    You can also bring in existing questions – the Find Questions option will allow you to search for questions that currently exist in the site; the Upload Questions option will allow you to import questions exported from other Blackboard sites or that you might acquire from external sources, e.g. publishers.
  2. Continuing creating questions by clicking the Create Question button.
  3. When all questions have been added, click OK.

Step 4: Repeat steps 1, 2 and 3 to create additional pools.

Step 5: Once you have created your pool (or pools) of questions, you are ready to set up a test with Random Blocks of questions. Either go to:

  1. Control Panel > Site Tools > Tests, Surveys and Pools > Tests > Build Test. Or:
  2. a Content Area > Create Assessment > Tests > Create

Step 6: On the Test Information page enter a Name, Description and Instructions for students taking the test. Click Submit.

Step 7: On the Test Canvas:


E.G 29/09/2022

  1. Click Reuse Question and select Create Random Block
  2. On the Create Random Block page, select the Pool (or pools) containing the questions for the skills or knowledge you wish to assess, along with the question type(s) from that pool you would like to include. (For fairness, each Random Block should consist of the same question type). All questions meeting your criteria will be listed. Click Submit.
  3. You are then prompted to enter the number of questions to display to each student from that Random Block each time the test is opened, and the points awarded to each question within the Random Block. (All questions within a Random Block must be awarded the same point value).
  4. Continuing creating Random Blocks by either clicking Reuse Question > Create Random Block or clicking the ‘plus’ symbol that appears above or below existing questions to position the new Random Block(s) where you would like to display the questions in the test. Remember to edit the number of questions to be displayed and the points to be awarded for each question within a Random Block.
  5. When all Random Blocks (and any other questions) have been added, click OK.

Step 8: Add the test to the content area, either:

  1. If you started creating a test by going to a Content Area, the Add Test page automatically appears and next to Add an Existing Test pre-selects the test you just created. Simply click Submit. Or:
  2. If you started creating a test by going to the Tests, Surveys and Pools area of Control Panel, now go to a Content Area > Create Assessment and next to Add an Existing Test, select the name of the test and click Submit.

Step 9: The test is created and linked on the page, and you now see the Test Options screen to set deployment options. Read this article for information about the different deployment options.

Step 10: Once deployed, students can complete the test. We do recommend that you try out the test as a student before your students attempt it. This will ensure that the test operates as you expect it to and get a feel for what your students will see and do. Once all students have completed the test, you can access the results in the Grade Centre.

Explore the following topics for related information: