Online Technology – Creating Tests in Blackboard

by Bob Klonoski, Assistant Professor of Business Administration, Baldwin Online and Adult Programs

October 2012

One of Blackboard’s most useful options is its test-taking feature. Like many of the other features of Blackboard, creating a test involves an initial investment in time, but once done, it becomes something that can be saved and reused from semester to semester. Several of the testing options, like true/false or multiple answer, can be graded by the software with the results posted to the “grading center”.Because Blackboard tests are intended to be taken remotely, it is best to assume that they will be “open book” and “open Web.” If a question contains a keyword that can be “Googled” or one that has been covered in Wikipedia, it may be less of a test of a student’s knowledge than his or her quick online research talent. Two tactics can help with this: One is to pre-test the questions against these online sources. Two is to require each question to be answered before moving on to a subsequent question and to set a time limit for the test – both of which can be managed by the software.To get started, go to the Course Management section of the Blackboard page, click on “Course Tools” and it will expand to show a link to “Tests, Surveys and Pools”. Click on the “Tests” link. This will give you two options; – one is to build a test, and the second is to import one. Click on “Build Test” to begin. On the first page, you will be asked to give the test a name (This is mandatory), and then to provide optional but useful information including a description of the test, and any instructions that should accompany it. The following screen enables you to create questions.There are several options for test questions:

  • Calculated Formula: Contains a formula with a number of variables. The correct answer can be a specific value or a range of values.
  • Calculated Numeric Response: Resembles a fill-in-the-blank question except a number is entered to complete the statement. The correct answer can be a specific number or within a range of numbers.
  • Either / Or: A statement with a pre-defined choice of two answers (Yes/No, On/Off).
  • Essay: A question where the answer must be typed in a text box.
  • File Response: Uploaded files are used to respond to the question.
  • Fill in Multiple Blanks: Multiple responses are inserted into a sentence or paragraph.
  • Fill in the Blank: A statement that requires an answer to complete it. Answers are evaluated based on an exact text match.
  • Hot Spot: A specific point on an image is used to indicate the answer. For example, selecting all the countries in South America by clicking on each one on a map.
  • Jumbled Sentence: A sentence with a number of variables within it.
  • Matching: Two columns of items where each item in the first column must be matched to an item in the second column.
  • Multiple Answer: A number of choices with one or more correct answers.
  • Multiple Choice: Allows a number of choices with one correct answer. Indicate the correct answer by selecting the correct answer.
  • Opinion Scale / Likert: A rating scale used to measure attitudes or reactions.
  • Ordering: A question that requires users to provide an answer by selecting the correct order of a series of items.
  • Quiz Bowl: An answer appears; the users responds with a who, what, or where question to respond.
  • Short Answer: Similar to Essay questions; answer length is limited.
  • True / False: A statement with the option to choose either true or false. True/False answer options are limited to the words True and False.

The steps that follow depend on the type of test that you’ve selected, but there are several options that they have in common. One is to set a time limit on the test – both in terms of the day and time it will be available to the class, and of the length of time that you allow your students to take the test.  Another is whether to let your students know their grade on completing the test.

More information about testing is on the Blackboard How-To at and the tips about deploying tests at the Blackboard FAQ at

The best information and direction on preparing tests in Blackboard is available on the Blackboard Users site, where a number of user guides and video tutorials are available:

Printable User Guides

About Creating Tests and Surveys 

Changing Question Settings

Creating and Editing Random Blocks

Creating and Editing Tests and Surveys

Deploying Tests and Surveys

Finding Questions 

Grading Tests

Exporting Tests, Surveys and Pools

Importing Tests, Surveys and Pools

Reusing Questions

Test and Survey Options

Test and Survey Results

Test and Survey Status

Uploading Questions

Using the Test and Survey Canvas

Preventing Cheating

Students: Taking a Test Online

In addition to the printable directions and guides, a number of short video tutorials are also available:

Adding an Existing Question to a Test

Creating a Calculated Formula Question

Creating a Calculated Numeric Question

Creating an Essay Question

Creating a Fill-in-the-Blank Question

Creating a Fill-in-Multiple-Blanks Question

Creating a Hot Spot Question

Creating a Jumbled Question

Creating a Likert Question

Creating a Matching Question

Creating a Multiple Answer Question 

Creating a Multiple Choice Question

Creating an Ordering Question

Creating a Quiz Bowl Question 

Creating a Random Block and Adding it to a Test

Creating a Short Answer Question

Creating a Test

Creating a True or False Question

Exporting and Importing a Test or Survey

Tagging Questions for Reuse

Tour the Question Finder Feature

Uploading Test Questions from MS Excel