Completing Assessments in Blackboard

Introduction

The following is a guide designed to help you prepare for taking quizzes and exams (also known as "assessments") in the Blackboard learning environment, as well as a troubleshooting resource.

Technical requirements

The current version of Blackboard is designed to work best with Firefox (both on Macs and PCs). Try to avoid using Internet Explorer if possible.

If you have access to a computer that is directly plugged into an Internet router, you may want to use it instead of relying on a wireless connection.

Make sure you have the most up-to-date version of Java on your computer, as Blackboard depends on this software in order to run. If you need to download the latest version, click here to access the Java website.

Remember to close all other windows and applications that may be running (such as Outlook, iTunes, or other web browsers) on your computer before beginning your assessment.

Preparing to begin an assessment

Give yourself enough time to complete the assessment before it is due (refer to the Weekly Instruction pages of your course for due dates). If you must submit a quiz by the end of Saturday, don't wait until 11:45pm that day to start it!

Some assesments are timed. For example, you may have 45 minutes to complete the quiz. Once you begin a quiz, the timer starts running / counting down and does not stop, even if you close the assesment.

Users are able to re-open / continue a assesment if it is closed during the allotted time period. This is a setting that enables the student to re-open and finish the quiz in case their browser crashes, they lose power, or accidentally close the quiz window.

This does NOT mean that a student can “pause” a quiz or text, or begin a quiz or test and then come back at some later time to finish it.

If you are taking a timed assesment, then there is no way to make the timer pause after you begin an assesment. If you close the assesmentand come back later, if the time has ran out, then the assesment is closed and auto-submitted for you

Make sure you are ready to start working before you begin the assessment. Find a quiet area where you know you won't be distracted. Be prepared to commit your full attention to the assessment for however long it takes you to complete it. If you have other commitments, be sure that your test-taking won't overlap or conflict with them. Don't rush yourself - you won't get any additional points for speed.

To open the assessment, click on the "Assessments" link of the course menu:

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You will see a screen listing the available course assessments (see the screenshot below). Select the appropriate assessment from the list by clicking on its name (i.e., select the "Week 1: Quiz Ch. 1" link to complete the quiz on Chapter 1 for Week 1).

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Again, don't start the assessment until you know you're ready!

During the assessment

Right before you begin your assessment, you will see an "Instructions" screen. This displays information about how much time you'll have to complete the test. Be sure to make a note of that and plan your time accordingly.

Quizzes are typically comprised of multiple choice questions, true/false questions, short answer questions, or combinations of both. Course tests and exams will commonly prompt you to write long essay-style responses. Your instructor will let you know what kind of assessment you should expect in your course's Weekly Instruction documents.

Below is a screenshot showing an example assessment with a multiple choice question, a short answer question, and a true/false question:

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When answering multiple choice and true/false questions, click the radio button next to the answer you wish to give. Do not ever double-click. Use the scroll wheel on your mouse as little as possible - you might accidentally change your answer on a question.

When completing short answer or essay questions, thoroughly read the prompt(s) provided. Make sure you understand the question and answer all parts of it fully. You can use the Visual Editor to format your response (i.e., use italics and underline, or create bulleted lists).

Every time you complete a question, you should save your answer to ensure you will not have to repeat your work should you experience any difficulties or interruptions while taking your assessment. Click on the "Save Answer" button in the upper right hand corner of the question box, or to save multiple answers, scroll to the bottom of the testing screen and click the "Save All Answers" button (see the screenshot below).

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After you have answered all of the questions and reviewed your work, click the "Save and Submit" button (next to "Save All Answers") at the bottom of the testing screen. You may receive a warning message that you skipped a question. These messages are sometimes in error, but you should still make sure you answered everything before proceeding.

Once you have submitted your assessment, Blackboard will open a new screen informing you that your test has been saved and submitted. You can review your results by clicking OK at the bottom of the test submission screen. Keep in mind that only multiple choice questions can be graded right away. Your instructor will need to individually review short answer and essay questions before you can receive a grade for these types of responses.

Tips for a stress-free assessment

  • Save your questions frequently - there's no reason not to!
  • Avoid using your browser's "Back" and "Forward" buttons (and don't hit the "Delete" key on your keyboard, as this can activate the "Back" action). Don't refresh the page, either.
  • Avoid using the tab or arrow keys to navigate.
  • Stay "active" in the test window - keep working once you've started so Blackboard won't "time out" due to inactivity.
  • If you're using a laptop, make sure it is connected to your adapter/power source. Don't close it or allow it to "fall asleep" - you could lose your work!
  • You may be disconnected from Blackboard or experience an interruption in your web connectivity while you are working. If this occurs, immediately return to the course website and resume taking the test. Try not to restart your browser.
  • Don't copy and paste short answer or essay question responses from Microsoft Word. Either type them directly into the Blackboard text box provided, or copy and paste from Notepad. This will ensure that you do not experience any formatting issues or unexpected surprises.
  • Make sure you are comfortable and have everything you will need during your assessment within easy reach. If you think you'll want a snack or a drink as you're working, grab that before you start. If you will need your notes or textbooks, keep those close at hand, too.
  • Pace yourself and stay focused - you'll be done before you know it. Good luck!

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