Tests and Surveys

You can use Blackboard to run quizzes/tests and surveys in your course. These tools provide a simple and easy way to poll students, to check their knowledge and skill, and provide feedback on their learning.

Test or survey?

These assessment tools in Blackboard are called "Test" and "Survey" but if you prefer, you can name the link so that it reads "quiz" or "opinion poll" or another title.

assessment drop-down menuYou add them from within a student-visible content area (e.g. "Course Materials") by selecting the desired option under the "assessment" pull-down menu.

Choose "Test" if you need the names of the individual students to be associated with their particular responses.

With a "Survey" the responses are anonymous, but you can see whether specific students have completed the survey and you can view aggregated responses.

While it's very easy to create and administer test/quizzes and surveys, we've put together a few time-saving tips for you to consider.

1. Talk to us

There are lots of options embedded in the Blackboard Test and Survey tools. Some of these options can cause significant technical issues, for you and your students, if deployed incorrectly. We have a lot of experience working with Blackboard tests and surveys, and can work with you to make sure your test/survey runs smoothly. 

2. Let us know when your test is happening

Blackboard is a very stable system, but like all technology it can experience both planned and unplanned downtimes. If you let us know when you plan on administering a test we can let you know if there are any potential conflicts or issues, and monitor the system for unexpected events. We will work with you to make sure your test runs smoothly. 

Please note the UTM campus scheduled IT maintenance information (usually the second or third Friday of the month between 5:00 pm - 9:00 pm).  Portal maintenance also may take place, but when scheduled, these maintenance times would occur early Friday mornings (approximately 2:00 am – 6:00 am) and are noted on the University of Toronto system status webpage.

3. Give your students a practice test

Before you run your first quiz, provide an opportunity for students to practice taking a test in Blackboard. Every student will be using a different computer to take the test; different hardware components, operating systems and web browsers can affect how a test appears and runs on a given machine. Rather than dealing with technical issues during or after the tests, share your test-taking tips with your students and have them complete a practice test at least one week before the first scheduled test. Finally, to motivate students to participate, consider having this practice test count towards partipation or bonus marks, to motivate students to participate.  

We recommend that you post a link to our test-taking tips for students page in your course shell.

4. Track Statistics and Access Log

After your create a test in Blackboard, we recommend you enable statistics tracking to keep track of which students took the test, and when they took the test. This information can be helpful when trying to understand technical or other issues that may arise with the test.

If you require more granular information about a student test, go to Grade Center, View Grade Details, go to Grade Attempt, click on Test Information to expand this area and click on the Access Log button. Detailed information such as the date and time, access type (e.g., "Saved Question 1") and test time will be avaialable.

5. Hide test grades from students

When you create a test in Blackboard the system automatically creates a column in the Grade Center assoicated with the test. As tests are completed, student marks will appear in this column. By default, this column is visible to students. We recommend that you hide this column from students before you launch the test. This allows you to verify the grades before making them available to your class.  

Note: If you have a short answer or essay question type that will be manually graded, it is important to hide this column from the students before you launch the test, otherwise students will see a needs grading sign.

6. Additional help and how to clear student attempts

On ocassion a student may approach you regarding a user error or technical issue, and we are happy to help out with these types of questions. Students need to provide the following information:

  • Course code
  • Date and time problem occurred
  • Brief description of the problem
  • Operating system used (Windows 10, Mac OS X Leopard, etc.)
  • Browser used and version (e.g., Google Chrome 55, IE 11, Firefox 45)
  • Connection – Wired or Wireless or Other
  • If possible, a screenshot (instructions for Windows and Mac)

If the student experienced a technical problem while taking a test from a computer on campus, they should also provide the following:

  • Location of the computer (e.g., Library electronic classroom, Library information commons)
  • Number on the computer (e.g., LIBPC-12) which is located on the monitor of the computer being used

If you need to remove a student's attempt due to a user error or technical issue, it is recommended that you use the Clear Attempt button and not the Ignore Attempt button. To do this, hover over the Grade Center cell where the student attempt appears and click on the round contextual button that appears, select View Grade Details, click on the Clear Attempt button beside the attempt you would like to remove then click on OK. Once an attempt has been cleared it cannot be retrieved.

7. CTSI Instructions for Tests and Surveys

Below are links to CTSI instructions for tests and surveys.

Test How-Tos

Survey How-Tos