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Blackboard Help

Best Practice: Using Tests With JAWS

The information below applies to Blackboard Learn with the Original experience.

Access tests

Doesn't seem familiar? Jump to the "Ultra" help for creating tests.

You access tests from the Control Panel. Select the Course Tools heading 4 link then select Tests, Surveys, and Pools.

Create tests

  1. In Tests, Surveys, and Pools select the Tests heading 3 link.
  2. Select the Build Test link.
  3. Find the Name edit field. This is the name of your new test. Press Tab to land on the Description Rich Edit.
  4. Press Tab twice from Description and you’ll land on the Cancel button. Press Tab to go to Submit and press Enter to create the test. This opens the Test Canvas page. Add questions and manage their point values on this page.
  5. Find the Create Question heading and press Enter to open the menu.

    If you’d rather reuse a question, press the Tab key to land on Reuse question.

  6. Choose the question type from the menu that appears.

When creating or editing a question, focus may become trapped on the Correct Response field. In this case, double-press NumPad Plus and press the E key to focus the Incorrect Response Feedback content editor.

More on creating tests

Calculated Formula tips

You will need sighted assistance to edit a formula. Though it is possible to insert symbols, tasks such as editing a fraction’s numerator and denominator are not possible using JAWS.

In between the Question Text and formula text boxes is a toolbar that you can use to insert symbols into your formula. Though many of these buttons are labeled, the menu buttons to reveal additional symbols are not, and will be spoken by JAWS as “Unlabeled x” where x is an arbitrary number. Following is a list of the toolbar buttons, with unlabeled buttons marked by (unlabeled) at the beginning of the line:

  • Square root
  • (Unlabeled) Square brackets, vertical bars.
  • 3 rows, 3 columns matrix with parenthesis
  • (Unlabeled) Options for the matrix: add/remove columns and rows.
  • Multiplication sign
  • (Unlabeled) Additional math signs: Plus, Minus, Plus or minus.
  • Number pi
  • (Unlabeled) Additional irrational numbers: e.
  • (Unlabeled) Additional Greek letters.
  • Capital omega
  • (Unlabeled) Additional capital Greek letters.
  • (Unlabeled) Additional geometric symbols.
  • (Unlabeled) Additional edit controls - Cut.

More on calculated formula questions

Multiple choice and multiple answer tips

Pressing the Tab key normally navigates between an answer’s radio button and its content editor. Occasionally, focus may become trapped on each answer’s content editor. This means you won’t be able to use Tab to move to the next control.

If this happens, focus the Correct radio button group. Press Tab from here to type the answer for the correct answer. The correct radio button is focused by default. After typing the answer, press Shift + Tab to go back to the group of radio buttons. Use the down arrow to mark the next answer correct. Pressing Tab from here focuses the content editor for the next answer.

Do this until you’ve entered all of the answers. Then press Shift + Tab to go back to the radio buttons and re-select the correct answer by using the arrow keys to find it.

More on multiple choice questions

More on multiple answer questions


  1. Find the Question Title edit field. Type a title.
  2. Tab to the Question Text field. Type question text.
  3. Tab to Answer Numbering. Make a choice.
  4. This question has one correct answer and one less-correct answer. Check the Allow partial credit check box. Checking this box reveals the Allow negative scores for incorrect answers check box. Leave this unchecked; there will be no negative scores.
  5. Tab to Number of Answers. The default should be 4. This question has 4 answers.

Pressing Tab focuses a group of radio buttons that designates one out of four questions as correct. The answers are numbered regardless of the answer numbering type of letters chosen earlier.

Normally, by pressing tab, you can focus the Content Editor for this answer. Occasionally, focus becomes trapped on the first radio button of the group.

The correct answer for this question is #1. This radio button is checked by default. If Tab is not working correctly, press NumPad Plus twice quickly to turn off Forms Mode. Press the E key and you land on the Content Editor for answer #1. Press Enter to reactivate Forms Mode, type the answer and press Tab. If focus moves to the next radio button, you are in luck. Otherwise, double-press NumPad Plus again and press F until you hear “Correct 2 radio button not checked.”

Press the E key to jump to the Content Editor for answer 2.

Type an amount in the Points field and proceed to the next using Tab. Or follow the steps described above.

Enter the last two answers and leave their partial credit percents at 0.

Once all the answers have been filled in, you land on the Correct Response Feedback field. Type a correct response.

Focus may become trapped on the Correct Response field. In this case, double-press NumPad Plus and press the E key to focus the Incorrect Response Feedback content editor.

Fill in the blank tips

JAWS announces the labels of all fields inside the Questions section when focus lands on the Select Option Label: combo box.

You know you have reached this box when you hear something like this:

“Required  Answer 1 SelectOptionLabel Contains number  Case Sensitive Case Sensitive Remove Required  Answer 2 SelectOptionLabel Contains integer  Case Sensitive Case Sensitive Remove Read Only SelectOptionLabel Combo box”

This is the control where you can select if a given answer must exactly match, contain or pattern match the contents of the answer field.

More on fill in the blank questions


  1. Tab to the Question Title field. This question has no title.
  2. Tab once to the Question Text field. Type question text with a blank space. The blank space can be in any format in single fill in the blank questions.
  3. Tab to Number of Answers. This question has 2 correct answers; arrow down to 2.
  4. Pressing tab focuses the Select Option Label combo box. Arrow to Contains, since both answers will be correct if they contain a certain word.
  5. Tab to the Answer 1 field and type the answer.
  6. Tab until you reach Select Option Label for answer 2 and set its value to Contains.
  7. Type the answer.

Fill in multiple blanks tips

When specifying correct answers for a Fill in Multiple Blanks question, use the Up and Down arrow keys rather than Tab and Shift+Tab to move through form controls.

The H key is especially useful here, since headings mark the beginning of each answer’s section.

More on Fill in the multiple blanks questions

Short answer tips

Focus may become trapped on the * Question Text field. In this case, double-press NumPad Plus and use the E, H or other navigation keys to find the desired control.

More on short answer questions