Assessment Tips for Faculty


 There are several steps that you, as the instructor, can take to make online assessment a successful piece of your course(s):

  1. Recognize that things are going to go wrong and devise a plan of action -  You need to think ahead of time about what you will do when students get locked out of an assessment, when Blackboard goes down, when the power goes out, etc.

  2. Double check your assessment questions and answers - This sounds like a given, but this step in the assessment creation process is often overlooked. It is much easier to change an answer before students take an assessment and proofreading on your part will prevent student confusion and mass emails during and after an assessment. Also, don't assume that the questions in a test bank are correct; these questions/answers were keyed by a human; one who is probably not very familiar with the subject matter. 

  3. Test Settings and Options - The majority of issues with Blackboard Assessments arise when one does not have a clear understanding of the Test Settings and Options used in an assessment. In order to minimize testing problems, you should have a clear understanding of the test settings and options before your students begin an assessment. Please visit our Test and Survey Options knowledge base article for a full description of all test deployment options. 

    1. Test Availability - Once you add an assessment to a content area, make the assessment Available under Edit the Test Options. Even if your students will not take the assessment for a few days or weeks, go ahead and make it available; you can set the availability dates in the test settings and options.  

    2. Test Timer - The timer records the time it takes a student to complete an assessment and displays a timer in the top of the browser window for students while taking an assessment. **Please Note: The timer will not end an assessment when students reach the end of the allotted testing period unless the Auto-Submit feature is turned ON. Instead, Blackboard will allow the students to complete the assessment and will record a "!" instead of a score to alert the instructor to check the test and make any modifications to the score (if necessary). With Auto-Submit ON, if an assessment is auto-submitted by Blackboard, a "!" will display in the Grade Center and the instructor will have to view and submit the attempt to change the "!" to a grade. 

    3. Multiple Attempts - Multiple Attempts allow your students to take an assessment more than one time. Do not check the box for Multiple Attempts unless you really want your students to get more than one attempt on an assessment. Also, if you are using assessments from a course cartridge, always check the settings of the assessments. Sometimes, the tests in course cartridges are set for multiple attempts and sometimes they are not, and they are almost always set to "Available." 

    4. Force Completion - When Force Completion is selected, students must complete an assessment attempt the first time the assessment is launched and cannot re-enter if they lose internet connectivity. When Force Completion is not selected, students are able to exit an assessment attempt and return to it later for completion. When a Test Timer is used in conjunction with an assessment that does not have Force Completion set, a student can exit an attempt (including accidental browser disconnect) and  re-enter the attempt to continue the assessment while the Test Timer continues to record the time.  Determining whether or not to use Force Completion depends on your assessment requirements and goals.  Please contact CIRT for further assistance if you are unsure about which options will work best for your goals. 

    5. Self Assessment/Practice Test - Self-assessment is now a deployment option for tests, and options may be set to allow the instructor and student to view the grade, or to allow only a student view of the grade. Make sure you only use the "Hide Results for this Test Completely from the Instructor and the Grade Center" option if you do not want access to student scores on an assessment. **Please Note: If you deploy an assessment as a Self-Assessment, you will not be able to view your students' scores or their submitted answers. Once students have completed the assessment, the self-assessment option is not reversible.  
    6. Feedback - These options allow you to decide how much information is given to the students immediately after completing the test. Instructors may select any of the following in the Feedback options:
      • Score : Only the final score is presented.
      • Submitted Answers : The student's answers are presented.
      • Correct Answers : The correct answers are presented.
      • Feedback : The assessment feedback is presented.

 Perform a "Dry Run" of your assessment - enroll a guest account as a student in your course so that you may take your assessment as a student to become familiar with the process. This will help you understand the student side of the assessment and you will be able to better answer any questions you get from students about taking an assessment. 

  1. Clearing Attempts - To clear a student's attempt on an assessment, go to the Grade Center of your Blackboard course and click the drop down menu to the right of the score, notepad, or exclamation point for the assessment you wish to clear. Click View Grade Details, then View Attempt. The Grade Assessment page will appear. Before you click Clear Attempt, look over the assessment results including the time and assessment answers. Once you clear the attempt, this information will be lost. Click Clear Attempt to clear the student's attempt.

Consulting the Assessment Tips for Faculty is the start of creating a successful  Blackboard testing experience for your students. Please also post the Assessment Tips for Students in your course to ensure they use best practices in taking tests: