When creating and managing assessments in Blackboard Learn, instructors must decide which question types and testing options best fit their objectives for students and contribute to successful testing.
To facilitate this process, ITaP has developed a detailed online assessment guide to help instructors create secure, reliable and effective assessments in Blackboard Learn. The guide is accessible from the Blackboard Learn login page and under the “Tests, Surveys and Pools” tab on the Faculty Resources for Blackboard Learn page.
For Breck Terheide, an instructor in the College of Technology’s Organizational Leadership and Supervision program, the quizzes and tests he uploaded to Learn at the start of the academic year enhance his course on applied leadership, giving students more flexibility to complete assignments and saving him the task of printing and distributing test materials.
“I have 577 students this semester, and using the assessments features in Blackboard Learn allows students to work at their own pace,” Terheide says. “I can also customize testing criteria to meet the specific goals for each assignment.”
Within Blackboard Learn, Terheide chose assessment options that helped promote student success, setting up his assessments so students may take quizzes and exams on their own time. Students are given an unlimited number of attempts on quizzes but are given just two attempts to take an exam. Feedback on quizzes reveals correct answers to questions. On exams, feedback is limited to the student’s score. After an hour, each assessment is automatically submitted for grading.
In addition to online tutorials on creating, customizing and giving feedback, the assessment guide explains how to select appropriate test options and set up different question types, such as multiple choice, essay or fill-in-the-blank.
“There are many different settings an instructor can use when creating an assessment – simple things like setting the due date to more advanced options like defining the number of times a student can take an assessment,” says Stan Kruse, an ITaP senior educational technologist. “The purpose of this documentation is to explain what those settings mean and help faculty understand the different types of questions that can be asked within a test.”
In addition to the guide, a spring break workshop on creating effective assessments will be held at 1 p.m. Monday, March 11. The session covers best practices and will be followed by an open lab where educational technologists will be on hand to answer faculty questions. To reserve a seat at one or both sessions, visit the ITaP training calendar.
Kruse and other ITaP educational technologists say Blackboard Learn’s assessment features include a number of highlights, among them:
Question pools – When designing an assessment, instructors have the option to import or create groups of questions for quizzes and exams by building question pools. When paired with the “Random Block” option, question pools can be used to create a unique assessment for each student. For example, a 10-question test may draw at random from a 40-question pool.
Adaptive Release – This feature allows instructors to control the release of content to students based on preset rules. The rules may be related to scores, date and time, or attempts on an item, among other options. Using scores as the release criteria, students must score at or above a predetermined level before attaining access to the next part of the assignment or exam.
Submission controls – Because of the possibility of a lapse in a student’s Internet connectivity while taking an assessment, ITaP recommends instructors select an alternative to the “Force Completion” option, which restricts students from accessing the assessment more than once. The “Set Timer” option is one alternative, allowing instructors to control the amount of time students have to complete a quiz or exam. When “Force Completion” is not activated, students will be able to re-enter the quiz or exam and pick up where they left off.
To help ensure successful testing, faculty might alert students taking a high-stakes assessment to use a wired Internet connection rather than a wireless or cellular data connection, which are more prone to disconnection.
Writer: Jonathan Hines, technology writer, ITaP, 765-496-7998, firstname.lastname@example.org
Sources: Breck Terheide, email@example.com
Stan Kruse, senior educational technologist, ITaP, 765-496-9693, firstname.lastname@example.org
Connie Bilyeu, teaching and learning project manager, ITaP, 765-494-6119, email@example.com
Last updated: Feb. 22, 2013