New in Blackboard: Test improvements

This article is part of a series of articles explaining the new features and changes that will be introduced as part of the Blackboard upgrade coming up 20-21 July.

Image of a hand holding a pencil and completing a multiple choice test

Exam by albertogp123

As part of the upgrade, there are various improvements being introduced to the Blackboard test feature. This feature allows you to set up multiple choice, multiple answer, true/false, and various other question types. It then automatically grades the tests and can provide marks and feedback to students immediately. It is a powerful tool for allowing students extra revision practice without increasing the marking burden. Below are the new features included in the upgrade:

Correct questions after a test has been taken

Sometimes an error is discovered in a test question after students have taken the test, and in the current version this can be time-consuming to correct. While we recommend that staff check all tests before students take them to avoid any errors, occasionally they can slip through. After the upgrade, Blackboard will now include a mechanism for staff to correct a test question after it has been taken, adjusting the scores on the test automatically. We hope this will save staff time when using multiple choice question testing.

Option to auto-submit the a timed test

If your students are taking a timed Blackboard test, it currently only flags up the test as having gone over time in the Grade Centre. After the upgrade, there will be an option which allows staff members to set up the test so that it automatically submits what the student has done when the time expires. Note that students with learning contracts may require additional time when taking tests. To facilitate this, we recommend setting up a second instance of a timed test for students with learning contracts.

Negative marking is now possible

Negative and weighted marking is now possible for most question types. Negative marking uses the concept of penalising students for incorrect answers, in order to discourage guessing. Weighted marking allows you to weight some incorrect answers differently than others, essentially providing partial credit for nearly getting it correct. We recommend caution using these options as they are new conceptual tools for many staff, and it could be easy to unfairly penalise students as part of the test.

Mobile tests

A new type of test will be released shortly that students can take through their mobile phones, using SHUgo. This could be used to provide additional formative opportunities which students can engage with at times that are convenient for them.

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