Tips for Successful Assessments

Split up long exams
This is especially important if your exams are presented all at once. The connection to the server can be lost while the student answers a long series of questions or completes a long essay.

Present questions one at a time rather than all at once
This method will keep the connection to the server alive by saving each of the answers as the student moves from one question to the next. Should something happen and you or the instructor has to intervene, the student’s progress is saved up until the point they had a problem. However, it is not recommended to randomize the question ordering within the test options when presenting the questions one at a time; regardless of how many questions the test contains.

Turn off force completion
With force completion on, if a student encounters a problem or gets kicked out of a test, the test is then submitted, just as if they had completed it. The student will not be able to complete the test, but will have to have the instructor delete that attempt and start over. Without force completion on, a student is able to open the test back up and complete it from where they left off. Please note that this is different from allowing multiple attempts, as they are simply finishing their first attempt.

Random question sets
When the quiz or test is made up of a random block of questions, be sure not to set the test options to randomize. When this combination is present, it leads to problems displaying questions to the students. We are not sure why there is a problem, but know that it happens.

Large Exams
  • Avoid randomizing answer responses within questions when the question pool is greater than 200 questions
  • Keep question pools under 200 questions. It is better to use more smaller pools, than fewer larger pools.
  • Do not use the randomize question order setting in the test options if your test has more than 150 question

Advise your students to:

Don’t wait until the last minute
Single click only
Everything that you will need to click on when taking the test in Blackboard requires a single click only.  Please do not double click.  
Use a wired internet connection
Wireless internet connections are a major factor in losing a connection to the server, which leads to being kicked out of a test.  If a wireless connection must be used, have a background connection such as streaming a radio station in a separate browser in order to keep the connection alive.
Save as you go
For tests that are all at once, have the students save every few minutes.  This will help ensure that the connection stays alive.  This is not needed for those test that display one question to a time.
Answer essay questions in Notepad
For Windows, Start > All Programs > Accessories > Notepad or for Mac, Applications > TextEdit.  Save a copy of the essay on your hard drive, in case there is a problem with the test and then copy and paste the essay into Blackboard.  Avoid using word processors such as Microsoft Word.
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Assessment Question Guide  1192k v. 2 Dec 6, 2011, 12:27 PM Calvin Bishop