So you are giving a test and the fire alarm goes off!


And other test options to be aware of:

You may choose to set the Options one way for the duration of the test/survey and then change the Options after the test/survey has been taken. (i.e. do not allow the students to see correct answers until all have completed the test.)

Test / Survey Availability Options Best Practices

  • Make the Link Available – YES
  • Add New Announcement for Test/Survey – YES (this will create an announcement about the test/survey to remind the students and a link to the item can be within the announcement) This is optional, but if not used make sure your students know where to find the Test/Survey.
  • Allow Multiple Attempts – NO. Do not set this unless the Test/Survey is just a tool for self assessment and the instructor doesn’t want the results. Multiple Attempts only will keep the last attempt within the Grade Center. The instructor will know how many times the Test/Survey was taken or what scores where given.
  • Force Completion – NO. This will only make it harder for you. The force completion setting will not allow the student to re-access a Test/Survey if they were kicked out or if the Fire Alarm goes off!  If you are concerned about cheating, then there are other settings to use to help reduce cheating, but with online Tests/Surveys there is no real way to prevent cheating without a proctored environment. If you use this option, for every student who has technical difficulties, you will need to manually clear their attempts (3 clicks each student).  When clicked YES it  means that a student will be required to submit the test after they first click the link to begin the survey.  If the student does not click the Submit  button, the attempt will be marked as In Progress and the attempt will need to be cleared.  Force Completion with LockDown Browser? No. LDB does not like Force Completion. Use the timer and Auto-Submit instead
  • Set Timer – YES. This will help to detour cheating. Set the time to allow those students who have studied the proper amount of time to complete the Test/Survey. If a student didn’t study, they will not be able to finish the Test/Survey in the time you provide. Students who exceed the limit will still be able to submit the test but no grade will be displayed.  This option also records total completion time.  If a test is NOT set as Force Completion, then a student will be able to answer some of the questions, click the Save button, exit the test, and then click on the link to take the test.  The completion time will show the total time the student spent working on the test.

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Some Final Tips!


And no not just because it is finals week but just some reminders on test analysis features

For tests deployed in BB click on the down arrow to choose one of the following for assessment information and don’t forget if you download your grades to an Excel file save to your Pirate drive not to your hard drive (good steward of student information)

Attempts Statistics – The statistics are calculated based only on the attempts being used in the grading option (Last attempt, First attempt, Lowest Score, Highest Score, or Average of Scores). If Average of Scores is the grading option, then all attempts are included in the statistics.

Item Analysis – The Item Analysis tool provides statistics on overall test performance and individual test questions to help you recognize questions that might be poor discriminators of student performance. You can use this information to improve questions for future test administrations or to adjust credit on current attempts. You can run item analyses on deployed tests, but not on surveys.

Column Statistics – Gives information on the range of grades, minimum, maximum, average, median, standard deviation, variance and grade distribution.

View all Attempts – Lets you get a quick look of grade, number of attempts, status and duration.

Question on how these work just contact OET!


Grade Center Tips!


1.  The last access column represents the last time the student accessed the course you are checking.

2. Hiding a column just hides it  from the your grade center view it is still visible to the students. To hide a column from student edit the column information and select NO for option 3

3. To weight grades click on the chevron arrows next to Weighted Total, Edit Column Information.  You can then set up your grade weighting either by item or category.

4. Pointing at a grade item will show the Grade Title, Points etc in the Grade Information Bar

5. Grading color codes is a neat way to highlight low grades, assignments that need grading or other important information.

6.  Smart Views is another way to just highlight groups, specific grade items such as journals or discussion.

Lots more tips and information on Blackboard can be found in the CAHS Kiosk of Information (OET8000)  course you are enrolled in as a student!


Grades and non grades


As the semester’s almost over I often get a question about adding extra credit to weighted totals in grade center, this link gives a good explanation and steps on how to do this.  Remember if you “work offline” and download your grades to put them on your pirate drive rather than your hard drive so that you are a good steward of student information!

And if you want to go completely outside the box check out this article on “Going Gradeless”


Adding Extra Credit to a Weighted Column


This question came across my desk at the end of the semester and found confirmation of my solution.

Adding extra credit points to a weighted column in Blackboard Learn can easily be accomplished with three grade center columns. Assuming your weighted total column is already created you will need to create an Extra Credit column and a Final Grade Column.  Click the confirmation link above for more on this topic.

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