Creating a Test

One very popular feature of Blackboard is its Test Manager, which allows you to create tests online with multiple question types. If you choose question types that can be graded by the server - for example, multiple-choice questions - then the server does actually grade the test for you, placing the results in the course Gradebook. In addition (if you select the appropriate option), the server can provide immediate feedback to the students about how they did on the test. Tests (or quizzes) in Blackboard can thus be very useful to assess student learning, or for students to assess their own learning, using sample tests that don't count towards their grade. To create a test in Blackboard:

  1. Log in to Blackboard (opens in new window), and click on your course among the list of "Courses you are teaching" in the My Courses section of the opening page. Within that course, go to the Control Panel by clicking on the Control Panel icon near the bottom of the left-hand navigation menu.

  2. In the Assessment area of the Control Panel(on the right-hand side of your browser window, in the middle section), click on the Test Manager link:

    Test Manager Link

  3. Click the Add Test button:

    Add Test Button

  4. On the resulting "Test Information" page, type in a name for the test. You can also add a brief description and instructions for your students. Please note that if you are setting a time limit, Blackboard will indicate in the test header that the test is a "Timed Assessment" with a specified time limit. You might want to include in the instructions some information about how students will be penalized if they exceed the time limit:

    Enter Test Information

    When you are finished, scroll down to the bottom of the page, and click the Submit Button button to send your changes to the server.

    Please note that if you want to add special formatting to the text (as in Romeo and Juliet, in the description field above), you need to be using Internet Explorer to see the WYSIWYG text editor box displayed in the figure above. The best way to add special formatting is to type the text first without that formatting, then select the text you want to change by highlighting the text with your mouse, then click on the appropriate button in the formatting toolbar (for example, B or I) to have the text appear with that special formatting.

  5. Before adding any questions to your test, click on the Creation Settings button:

    Creation Settings

  6. Choose the creation setting options that best fit your needs. Your selections here will determine what information and choices Blackboard presents to you as you are creating your test. Below, we show you the most common options that you might select, then we follow that with a table describing these choices in more (excruciating?) detail:

    Basic Test Options

    Section Prompt(s) Suggested Setting Explanation
    1. Feedback Provide feedback for individual answers Unchecked Generally, you'll want to provide one general piece of feedback for correct and all incorrect answers, rather than providing feedback for each possible answer provided.
    2. Images, Files, and External Links Add images, files, and external links to questions.

    Add images, files, and external links to answers.
    Unchecked (both options) Leave these unchecked, unless you want to be able to include images, files, or links in your questions, or unless you want your students to be able to respond with images, files, or links.
    3. Question Metadata Add categories, topics, levels of difficulty, and keywords to questions. Unchecked (most users)

    Checked (advanced users)
    Most users will want to click in the box to clear the check mark. If you are an advanced user who creates question pools (banks of questions that you can use in multiple tests or quizzes) or if you re-use questions and want to be able to search for them, then you can keep the check mark in the box to allow you to add metadata (categories, topics, levels of difficulty and key words) to the questions as you create your test. The metadata will allow you to search for questions to use in subsequent tests based on the information you have provided when creating the question - for example, search for all questions with a medium level of difficulty having the key word "photosynthesis".
    4. Scoring Specify default point value for questions.

    Specify partial credit options for answers.

    Provide option to assign questions as extra credit.
    Checked (first two options); checked or unchecked (third option) If all (or many) of your questions will have the same point value, then you want to make that value the default for this test. You can change the point value for each question, but selecting a default value now will reduce the number of times you need to set the point value when adding questions to your test.

    As for the "partial credit" setting, you'll want to make it possible for you to specify partial credit if (for example) your test will contain matching, ordering, or multiple answer question types, where a student can get the answer partly (but not fully) correct, and you want to be able to give partial credit.

    If you plan to add questions as "extra credit," you can check the box that will give you that option (for this test/quiz). Otherwise, you can leave that box unchecked.

    5. Display Specify random ordering of answers.

    Specify the horizontal or vertical display of answers.

    Specify numbering options for answers.
    Checked or unchecked, depending on your preferences Blackboard allows you to randomize the order of questions, so that each student basically receives a different version of the exam - in other words, the same questions, but in a different order. If you want even greater security, you could also create questions with answer choices displayed in a randomized order. In other words, the possible choices are presented in a different order for each student, so that one student's answer "D" might be another student's answer "A". (The Blackboard server keeps track of the correct answer for each instance of the test.) In terms of how answers are displayed, the default version is a vertical alignment (with each answer on a single line). If you want the possibility of a horizontal alignment of answer choices, you can click in that box to provide that option to you. For answer numbering, the default value is to have no numbers next to answers (for multiple choice questions), but just radio buttons. If you want to choose how your answer options are "numbered" (no numbering, Arabic nubmers, Roman numerals, uppercase or lowercase letters), you can select this box.
  7. Click the Submit Button button to send your preferred settings to the server.

  8. The Blackboard server displays the Test Creation Settings you have chosen. Click the OK Button button to confirm those settings.

  9. You will be returned to the "Test Canvas" window. To add a question to the assessment, click on the down arrow to reveal the list of types available (see the figure below), and click on the type of question you want to create. Then click on the GO button to add a question of that type. In the example below, we've selected Multiple Choice, since that is the most common question type:

    Select a Question Type

    For a description of the various new question types introduced with Blackboard's Application Pack 3, see New Question Types in Blackboard 6.3 (opens in new window).

  10. Type the question text in the space provided. If you are using Internet Explorer as your browser, you can also add special text formatting using the tools provided. As we mentioned above, we recommend that you type your question stem first, then select the text to which you want to apply special formatting using the mouse, then click on the particular button in the formatting toolbar to change the selected text as desired. You can also specify a different point value for your question than the default value that you chose earlier:

    Multiple Choice Question

  11. Depending on what settings you chose in Step 6, above, you'll have a series of options to select from. If you chose to specify the numbering option, click on the down arrow to the right of the "Answer Numbering" options, and select the kind of numbering you want for each answer choice. We show in the figure below some typical options for our first question:

    Multiple Choice Display Options

    Please note that when you select a choice for Answer Numbering, the page will reload itself from the server so that the numbering of the answer choices will reflect the choice you have made.

  12. If you want more than four possible answer choices (the default setting), select the number of answer choices you want to provide, type each answer choice in the text box provided, and make sure that you select the radio button that corresponds to the correct answer:

    Multiple Choice Answers

    If you want fewer than four answer choices, you can click on the Remove button next to the blank answer choice text box(es) that you don't want. (The button is marked in blue in the figure above, although obviously you wouldn't want to remove an answer choice that you've already typed in.)

  13. In the "Correct Response" and "Incorrect Response" fields of the Feedback section (assuming you chose not to have feedback for individual answers), you may type feedback that students will receive if they submit a correct or incorrect response. For example, if students answer a question incorrectly, you can point them to the appropriate pages or chapter(s) in the text to find the correct answer or to review the relevant topic(s). Such feedback is optional; you can create the question without providing feedback for correct and incorrect responses. Also, your students will see what you've written only if you enable feedback when you deploy the test. Since one of the benefits of multiple choice questions in Blackboard is that the server grades the question for you and can provide immediate feedback to your students, though, we do recommend that you provide such feedback, when possible. See the Making a Test Available help sheet for more information about setting specific options for the delivery of a test to students:


  14. Assuming that you didn't choose to provide metadata for the question (which would add a "Categories and Keywords" section), you're actually ready to submit your question to the server. However, I recommend that you scroll back up on the page to make sure that you truly have clicked in the radio button next to the correct answer, and then scroll down again to click the Submit Button button to finalize your question.

  15. To continue adding questions of the same type as the previous one, click on one of the Add Question Here links. To add a different type of question, select the desired question type from the pull-down menu and click the GO button. (These options are marked in the figure below.)

    Add New Question

  16. Continue adding questions until you've reached the final question of your test. Once you have entered all the questions for your test, scroll to the bottom of the page and click the OK Button button to finalize your test and return to the "Test Manager" window.

  17. The newly created test is displayed in that Test Manager window. Note that the test has not yet been deployed in your course, so there is a No in the "Deployed" column. Click on the OK button to return to the Control Panel for your course:

    Test in Test Manager Window

  18. See the Making a Test Available help sheet for further instructions on how to deploy the test within your course to make it available to your students.

Last revised June 8, 2007.  Please send questions or comments to