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Blackboard Help

Tests and Surveys

Your instructor and institution control which tools are available.

What's the difference between a test and a survey?

Instructors use tests to assess your mastery over course content and objectives. Your instructor assigns point values to questions in a test. You submit your test for grading, and the results are recorded. You can view your grades when your instructor makes them available to you.

Instructors can use surveys for polling purposes and evaluations. Surveys aren't graded. Your responses to survey questions are anonymous.

Surveys aren't supported in the Ultra Course View at this time.


Where do I access tests and surveys?

Doesn't seem familiar? Jump to the "Ultra" help about accessing tests.

You can find tests and surveys in any content area, learning module, lesson plan, or folder.


Watch a video about tests

This video explains how to access a test online, submit your answers, and view grades and feedback

Video: How to take a test online


Tips for taking a test

Start your test as soon as you can. If your instructor makes a test available for three days, plan to take the test early on the first day. If you have an issue, you will have time to contact technical support and your instructor.

Read all of the instructions. If you have any trouble with your test or understanding test questions, contact your instructor immediately.

Check your internet connection.

  • A wired connection is usually more reliable than a wireless connection.
  • Check with your instructor and institution before you take a test with a cellular data connection. Most institutions will advise you to avoid a cellular data connection. Exceptions: Your institution is a Blackboard Mobile Learn-enabled site with a Mobile Learn app available and your instructor has created a Mobile-compatible test.

Don't refresh the page, close the window, or use the browser's back button while you take a test. If you have problems during a test, contact your instructor immediately.


Take a test or survey

Doesn't seem familiar? Jump to the "Ultra" help about taking tests.

Navigate to the test or survey and select the title. On the next page, select Begin. Your instructor might require that you type a password to begin. If necessary, type the password and select Submit. The system continues to prompt for a valid password until you provide the correct one.

Don't use the browser's back button during a test or survey as this may cause loss of data. If you have problems during a test, contact your instructor immediately.

Take Test or Survey page

View the details. At the top of each test or survey, you can view the information about multiple attempts, the timer, navigation, and any optional description and instructions. You're also informed if you must complete the test or survey after you open it. Select the arrows next to the information section to collapse or expand it.

More on forced completion and no backtracking

If your test or survey is timed, you're informed of the instructor's choice. The timer status bar keeps you updated on the time left.

  1. Auto-submit: The test or survey saves and submits automatically when time expires. The Submitted page appears.

    -OR-

  2. Continue beyond the time limit: You receive no automatic penalty if you continue beyond the time limit. However, final scoring decisions are made by your instructor. Talk to your instructor if you have questions about this setting. The total time you spend on the test or survey is recorded and available to your instructor when you submit.

    If you save and exit, the timer continues to run. For example, you start on Tuesday, save and exit, and then complete the test on Thursday. The timer will show that you took 48 hours to complete.

View completed questions. The Question Completion Status section displays a saved icon for each question you have answered. You can select a question number to jump to that question. Select the arrows next to the status section to collapse or expand it.

Your answers are auto-saved. You can also select Save Answer next to each question or Save All Answers as you work. When you save an answer, Saved appears in the question's row.

Ready to submit? When you're finished, select Save and Submit. You may see your score immediately if all questions are auto-graded and your instructor releases this information. However, your instructor must manually grade some question types such as Essays.

More on feedback and grades


View a test question with a rubric

If your instructor associated a rubric with an Essay, File Response, or Short Answer question, select View Rubric. You can view the grading criteria before you answer the question.


Timer status bar

When you take a timed test or survey, the remaining time appears on a status bar. Use the arrows next to the timer to collapse or expand it.

Timer warnings appear when half the time, 5 minutes, 1 minute, and 30 seconds remain. When the remaining time reads 1 minute, 30 seconds, the status bar turns yellow. At 1 minute, the warning is red, and at 30 seconds, both the status bar and the warning are red. If you collapse the timer, you won't see the color changes.


Presentation options

In the test or survey information section, you are informed about which presentation options your instructor chose.

If force completion is enabled, you must complete the test or survey the first time you open it. You can't exit and continue the test or survey later. The Save function is available for you to save your answers, but you can't exit and re-enter.

If backtracking is prohibited, you can't go back to questions you have already answered. An error appears when you attempt to use the Back function within the test or survey.

Your instructor can choose to present questions all-at-once or one-at-a-time.

All-at-once presents all of the questions at the same time. These options are available:

  • Store answers. Select Save All Answers. The Question Completion Status section displays a saved icon for each question you have answered. You may change answers after you save them.
  • Finish the test or survey. Select Save and Submit. You receive a confirmation and a receipt page that states that the test or survey is completed.

A one-at-a-time test presents questions separately. Only one question appears on the screen at a time. You decide when you're ready to move on to the next question. These options are available:

  • Navigate through questions. Use the navigation arrows (<<, <, >, or >>). The Question Completion Status section shows the current location in the test and the overall number of questions. When backtracking is prohibited, the arrows don't appear.
  • Save answers. Select Save All Answers. Questions you answered up to this point are saved.
  • Finish the test or survey. Select Save and Submit. You receive a confirmation and a receipt page that states that the test or survey is completed.

Retake a test or survey

When you first open a test or survey, you're informed if you have multiple attempts. If your instructor placed a limit on the number of attempts, the number is stated. You can also see which attempt you're starting.

When you return to a test or survey to start another submission, you can see how many attempts exist and how many you've used.

Your instructor decides which test attempt score is recorded for your grade such as the average of all attempts or the highest attempt score.


Grades and feedback

Doesn't seem familiar? Jump to the "Ultra" help about grades and feedback for tests.

The majority of questions in tests are auto-graded. Your instructor defines the correct answers and assigns points to each question. The system validates your answers and assigns the score.

Essay, File Response, and Short Answer questions aren't auto-graded. Your instructor must manually grade these question types. Grades for tests with these question types are released after your instructor finishes grading and allows it.

Your instructor can use a rubric for grading an Essay, File Response, or Short Answer question and make the rubric available to you. Select View Rubric when you review the graded test to view the grading criteria for the question.

You may see your score immediately after you complete the test if all questions are auto-graded and your instructor releases this information. Your instructor may choose a date in the future to release test scores while your classmates to take the test.

After you complete a test, the performance results you receive depend on the options selected by your instructor. For example, your instructor may only show the final score for one test, while for another test the final score and correct answers are displayed. Feedback includes one or more of these items:

  • Final score for the test
  • Answers submitted
  • Correct answers
  • Feedback for the questions

To access feedback and grade information, select the test in the content area or My Grades. On the View Attempts page, select the grade link in the Calculated Grade column to access the test, your answers, and any instructor feedback.

More on grades


ULTRA: Where do I access tests?

Doesn't seem familiar? Jump to the "Original" help about accessing tests.

On the Course Content page, select the title of your test. Your instructor may also organize tests in folders. Surveys aren't supported in the Ultra Course View at this time.

You can also access tests in the activity stream or in the calendar if your instructor added due dates.

After you select a test, the Details & Information panel appears. This panel shows you the number of attempts allowed, whether there is a time limit for the test, and if your instructor has added a rubric for grading.

More on rubrics

Select Start attempt to begin. If you previously started the test, any work you added was saved. Select Continue attempt to resume working.


ULTRA: Take a test

Doesn't seem familiar? Jump to the "Original" help about taking tests.

View the details. In the right panel, view all the information you need to complete a test, including the due date, maximum score, and rubric details, if your instructor added one.

Type or choose your answers. You can use the functions in the editor to format the text. Your work is auto-saved as you type! Need to make an edit? Just select your answer.

To use your keyboard to jump to the editor toolbar, press ALT + F10. On a Mac, press Fn + ALT + F10. Use the arrow keys to select an option, such as a numbered list.

View files. Your instructor may attach files that you need to complete a test.

More on viewing attached files

Add to the conversation. Anyone can make a contribution to the test conversation. If your instructor enabled conversations, select the speech bubble icon in the upper-right corner.

More on test conversations

Not ready to submit? Select Save and Close to save your work and continue later. Your answers are saved on the page. When you return, you can resume working.

Submit your test. Finished? Select Submit when you're ready for your instructor to grade your work. You can see your score immediately if all questions are auto-graded. When you submit, a panel appears with the date and time you made the submission. Your submission is labeled Pending if it requires instructor grading. Select anywhere in the Grading section of the Details & Information panel to review what you submitted.

You can't edit your work after you submit.

Add files and text

At the end of a test, you can add text and files. Your instructor may ask you to provide a file with sources or you can add comments about the test. After you add content, select the plus sign wherever you want to add more. You can add as many text blocks and files as you want. Only your instructor can view the content you add.

Add text blocks. Select Add Text to open the editor. You can type comments about the test, include sources for an essay question, or introduce an audio file or image. You can also paste text from a Word doc. If you click outside of the text box, your work is saved automatically.

To use your keyboard to jump to the editor toolbar, press ALT + F10. On a Mac, press Fn + ALT + F10. Use the arrow keys to select an option, such as a numbered list.

Add files. You can browse for files on your computer or in OneDrive. You can drag files from your computer, such as a Word doc and an audio file. You can't add a folder of items. You're asked if you want to add the individual items inside the folder. Your institution controls the maximum size of a file that you can upload.

If you're taking a test on a mobile device, this option appears as "Upload from Device."

OneDrive: Microsoft OneDrive is a cloud-based storage platform for your files and photos. You can access OneDrive from multiple devices. The files you add are copies. If your browser allows, media files you add from OneDrive display inline. If you choose a folder of files from OneDrive, the contents of the folder are removed and appear as single items in the test.

On small devices, you can't access OneDrive.

Media viewing options

If your browser allows, media files you add to tests display inline by default. If your browser can't display a media file inline, it appears as an attachment. Files you add from OneDrive behave in the same way.

Select a media file's More options icon to access the menu and select Edit File. In the panel, you can choose how your video, audio, or image file appears in the test: inline or as an attachment. For example, you can display extremely large files as attachments that your instructor can download. You can edit the file names for files displayed as attachments.

You can also add alternative text to describe images you add. Alternative text is read aloud by screen readers and helps describe what some users can’t see. Alternative text is limited to 100 characters.

Reorder your text and files

Point to a text block or a file to access the Move icon. Press and drag the text block or file to a new location.

You can use your keyboard to move an item.

  1. Tab to an item's Move icon.
  2. Press Enter to activate move mode.
  3. Use the arrow keys to choose a location.
  4. Press Enter to drop the item in the new location.

ULTRA: Group tests

In the Ultra Course View, you won't have a separate area for groups. Instead, instructors create group tests where you can collaborate with other students.

On the Course Content page, your group name is listed after the group test title. Your group members' names appear when you open a test and when you work on it.

If your instructor enabled conversations, select the speech bubble icon in the upper-right corner. You can ask for help, share sources, or answer questions others have about the group test. You can have conversations with the whole class, just the group, or both!

You can also use Collaborate Ultra to meet virtually with your group if your course uses Collaborate and your instructor enabled conversations. To open your group's Collaborate room, open to the group test, select the speech bubble icon in the top corner, and choose My Group from the list. The Collaborate camera icon will appear in the top corner. Select the icon to jump in!

Get started as a Collaborate Ultra participant

Work on a group test

As you work on a group test, you can save a draft and other group members are allowed to edit it. Everyone in the group can keep track of the latest version of your work. When a group member starts working on a group test, the test is locked to keep others from editing. Other group members can request access to the test to begin editing, and the person in control can approve or deny the request.

Take control of a test

  1. Open the test. If another group member is editing the test, a pencil icon appears next to their name.
  2. To send a request to the group member who is currently editing, select Take Control.
  3. A message appears to let you know that your request for control was sent. If you decide you don't want control, you can cancel your request.
  4. The person working on the test gets a notification and either approves or denies your request.
  5. If your request is approved, the test is unlocked and you can edit. You'll see a message if your request was denied.

If your request is denied, it could be because your group member granted access to someone else. You can try requesting access again later. You might also want to send a message to your group to coordinate who works on the test at certain times.

If you receive one of these notifications while you're working on a test, the system saves your work automatically. You can choose to leave the assignment and turn over control to the person requesting access, or you can deny their request and keep working.

Submit a group test

Only one member of the group needs to submit the test. After the test is submitted, you can't edit the content or change any answers.

Your instructor grades a group test in the same way they grade a test that you work on individually. You only see your own grade, but your instructor can assign different grades to each group member. Instructors may assign different grades if they feel that a group member's contribution earned a grade different from the rest of the group.

How do I check that our group test was submitted?

You can check to make sure a group test submitted successfully.

  1. When you submit a test, a panel appears with the date and time you made the submission.
  2. Select the View submission link at the bottom of the panel to review what your group submitted.

To see if your group test has been graded, check the activity stream. As your instructors post grades, you'll find them in your stream. Select View your grade to display your grade.

You can also access the group test in your course to review your grade and feedback in context.

Your grades also appear on the global and course grades pages.

More on accessing test grades and feedback


ULTRA: View attached files

Your instructor decides how files will appear, such as inline or as attachments.

For video and audio files that appear inline, you have controls for play, pause, and the volume. Select the video to view it in full screen. Select the More options icon to access the menu and download a file.

For media files that appear as attachments, select the More options icon to access the menu. Select Download File to open image files in a new window or tab, or download Word documents, PDFs, or slide presentations to your computer. The View File option opens the file on the course page, such as an image.

For image files that appear inline, you can select an image to view it separately.


ULTRA: View the rubric

If your instructor added a rubric for grading to a test, you can view it before you open the test and after you start the attempt. Select This item is graded with a rubric to view the rubric.

If you want, you can view the rubric alongside the test instructions. You can expand each rubric criterion to view the achievement levels and organize your efforts to meet the requirements of the graded work.


ULTRA: Be part of the conversation

If your instructor enabled class conversations, you can discuss the test with your instructor and your classmates while the test is available. You can contribute to the conversation before, during, and after the test. As the conversation develops, it appears only with the relevant test. Conversations don't appear on the discussions page.

To view the conversation, select the speech bubble icon in the test's row on the Course Content page. You can also access the conversation in the upper-right corner of the test page or the submissions page. Your instructor can read what you and other students have written and add to the conversation.

You can use the functions in the editor to format the text.

To use your keyboard to jump to the editor toolbar, press ALT + F10. On a Mac, press Fn + ALT + F10. Use the arrow keys to select an option, such as a numbered list.

You can't edit your contribution, but you can select the Delete icon to remove your contribution. If necessary, your instructor can remove anyone's contributions.


ULTRA: Timed tests

Your instructor may limit the amount of time you have to submit your test. If you have a time limit, it appears along side other test details on the Course Content page, on the Test Details page, and within the test as you’re working.

The timer starts as soon as you select Start Attempt, so make sure you’re ready to begin!

If your instructor allowed you to submit multiple attempts, the time limit applies to each attempt.

The timer appears at the bottom of the window to let you know how much time is left. When time is up, your work is automatically submitted. The timer keeps running whether or not you are actively working on the test. If you previously saved a draft or you left the test window, the countdown continues and your work is submitted when time is up.


ULTRA: Grades and feedback

Doesn't seem familiar? Jump to the "Original" help about grades and feedback for tests.

If you update stream info, update it on student grades and assignment grade pages also.

You can see your score immediately if all questions are auto-graded. However, your instructor must manually grade some question types such as Essays, and then post the test grade and feedback.

When you log in, the activity stream page appears. When grades are posted, you'll find them in your stream. Select View your grade to display your grade. If your instructor added feedback, you'll see it after the test title.

More on the activity stream

Your grades also appear on the global and course grades pages.

More on accessing grades

You can also access the test in your course to review your grade and feedback in context. Select the test title on the Course Content page and the Details & Information panel opens. Select anywhere in the Grading section to review what you submitted, available correct answers, and your grade and feedback. If your instructor left feedback, select the speech bubble icon to view it.

For questions where you chose from more than answer, you can select Show other options to review the answer choices.

The grade pill color for each question and the total test grade are based on the grading schema your instructor chose. For example, the colors map to a typical grading schema in this way:

  • > 90% = green
  • 89-80% = yellow/green
  • 79-70% = yellow
  • 69-60% = orange
  • 59-50% = red

If your instructor needs to grade questions in your test, you'll see Pending in the Grading section.


ULTRA: Multiple attempt grades

If your instructor allows you to submit a test more than once, your grade can be calculated in different ways:

  • Average of all attempts
  • First graded attempt
  • Last graded attempt
  • Highest graded attempt
  • Lowest graded attempt

On the Test Details page, select your grade to see how it's been calculated. The panel displays your score for each of your attempts as well as the final grade that's been recorded in the course gradebook. A message appears if your instructor overrode the final grade for the test.

Select an attempt to view more details, including which questions you got right or wrong. You can also view feedback for each submission on this panel.