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Blackboard Help

Random Blocks

When creating a test, you can use random blocks to be sure that each student receives a different version of the test. A random block is a set of questions retrieved at random from one or more question pools to be presented each time the test is taken.

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Before You Begin

  • Unlike question sets, random blocks draw questions from pools only. You can use more than one pool to draw your questions from.
  • You cannot add a random block of questions from another test or survey.
  • You cannot include a random block in a survey or a pool.
  • You can choose to have the number of questions that are displayed be less than the total number of questions in the random block. For example, 3 questions display out of 50 total—the questions are randomly distributed so that each student may see different sets of questions.
  • You can choose to have the number of questions that are displayed be equal to the total number of questions in the random block. Then, all students receive the same questions, but in a different random order for each student.
  • You cannot use the search function or browse metadata when making your question selection for random blocks.

How to Create a Random Block of Questions in a Test

When you add questions to a test using the random block feature, each question is linked, not copied. Therefore, if you change the original question, the revised version of the question appears.

  1. Create or access a test.
  2. On the Test Canvas, point to Reuse Question and click Create Random Block to begin searching for questions.
  3. In the Create Random Block pop-up window, select the check boxes for one or more pools.
  4. Select the check box for at least one question type to include in the test. All questions that meet the criteria appear in the right side of the pop-up window.
  5. Click Submit. The Test Canvas appears and displays a success message. The random block of questions is added to the test.

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  6. Click the Number of Questions to display field to access the pop-up box and type the number of questions to display to students. Use a number less than the total number of questions to be sure that different questions are presented each time the test is accessed. Click Submit.
  7. Click the Points per question field to access the pop-up box. Type a point value per question. This point value is assigned to each question in the random block. You cannot assign separate point values for individual questions in the same random block. Therefore, you may want to only include questions of approximately the same difficulty.
  8. Click Preview questions that match selected criteria to expand or collapse the list of questions. You can view and edit individual questions.

You cannot delete questions within a random block. If you don’t want a question to be included in your random block, remove it from the pool it appears in.

Edit and Delete Random Blocks

From the test with the random block, access the random block's contextual menu to edit or delete it. From the Test Canvas, you can change the point value for each question in the random block or the number of questions to be used in the test.