INSTRUCTIONAL DESIGN TIPS: Assessments
Categories, purposes, goals – What are Blackboard’s assessment tools and how can they be used?
Blackboard Version 8 greatly expands the types of questions that an instructor can pose in online
homework, quizzes and surveys. Online homework and quizzes are identical except that the instructor
uses online homework to encourage students to keep up with the reading and subject matter by setting
"start" date and an "until" date to be a period of days (such as a weekend) rather than minutes and
allowing students to work on the item any number of times. Surveys are a Blackboard feature
constructed the same as quizzes except that the identity of the student completing each survey is hidden
from the instructor. Here are the 17 types of online questions Blackboard Version 8 supports:
Multiple Choice Questions
Multiple-choice questions allow the users a multitude of choices with only one correct answer. In
multiple-choice questions, users indicate the correct answer by selecting a radio button. The number of
answer choices is limited to 20.
True/False questions allow the user to choose either true or false. True and False answer options are
limited to the words True and False.
Multiple Answer Questions
Multiple answer questions allow users to choose more than one answer. The number of answer choices
is limited to 20. This type of question may be used when more then one answer is correct; users can
select the incorrect answers. For example, in the medical field, this type of question may be used to select
symptoms associated with a medical condition.
Matching questions allow students to pair items in one column to items in another column. Instructors
may include a different numbers of questions and answers in a Matching question. For example, the
question may include a list of animals and a list of food they eat (herbivore, carnivore, omnivore). The
users would match each animal with their diet. Students will be granted partial credit for matching
questions if they answer part of the question correctly. For example, if the question is worth eight points
and the student gives the correct answers for half of the matches, they will receive four points.
Ordering questions require users to provide an answer by selecting the correct order of a series of items.
For example, an Instructor may give users a list of historical events and ask them to place these events in
chronological order. Users will be granted partial credit for ordering questions if they answer part of the
question correctly. For example, if the question is worth eight points and the student gives the correct
order for half of the items, they will receive four points.
Essay questions require the Instructor to provide students with a question or statement. Students are
given the opportunity to type an answer into a text field. Sample answers can be added for users or
Graders to use as a reference. These types of questions must be graded manually on the Grade
Assessment page. Essay questions may use the Math and Science Notation Tool.
Short Answer Questions
Short Answer questions are similar to essay questions. The length of the answer can be limited to a
specified number of rows in the text box. The number of rows is meant as a guideline when entering an
answer; it does not impose an absolute limit on answer length. Like Essay questions, Short Answer
questions must be graded manually.
Calculated Formula Questions
A Calculated Formula question contains a formula, the variables of which can be set to change for each
user. The variable range is created by specifying a minimum value and a maximum value for each
variable. Answer sets are randomly generated. The correct answer can be a specific value or a range of
values. Partial credit may be granted for answers falling in a range. This type of question allows the
instructor to randomize the value of variables in an equation and is useful when creating math drills to
when giving a test when students are seated close together.
Calculated Numeric Response Questions
This question resembles a fill-in-the-blank question. The user enters a number to complete a statement.
The correct answer can be a specific number or within a range of numbers. The answer must be
numeric, not alphanumeric. For example, in a Geography class the Instructor may ask for the estimated
population of a specific city.
File Response Questions
Users upload a file from the local drive or from the Content Collection as the answer to the question.
This type of question is graded manually. This question type is a good option if the Instructor would like
students to work on something before a test and submit it with a test, or if the response to the questions
is expected to take a long time to read. Submitting the answer this way allows the instructor to read and
grade the question without worrying that the browser will time out.
Hot Spot Questions
Users indicate the answer by marking a specific point on an image. A range of pixel coordinates is used
to define the correct answer. Hot Spot refers to the area of an image that, when selected, yields a correct
answer. The following are some examples of uses for this type of question:
- Anatomy - to locate different parts of the body
- Geography - to locate areas on a map
- Foreign Language - to select different articles of clothing
Fill In Multiple Blanks Questions
This question type builds on fill-in-the-blank questions with multiple fill in the blank responses that can
be inserted into a sentence or paragraph. Separate sets of answers are defined for each blank. This
question type may be used if there are multiple variables, such as "What colors are in the Italian flag?"
This question type is also useful in foreign language classes. In this case the identifier and adjective may
be left blank in a sentence, so as not to give away the gender of an object.
Jumbled Sentence Questions
Users are shown a sentence with a few parts of the sentence as variables. The students selects the proper
answer for each variable from drop-down lists to assemble the sentence. Only one set of answers is used
for all of the drop-down lists. This type of question may be useful when teaching about proper
grammatical order in a sentence, such as the location of a noun, verb, or adjective.
Opinion Scale/Likert Questions
Question type based on a rating scale designed to measure attitudes or reactions. This type of question is
popular to use in surveys in order to get a comparable scale of opinion. Users indicate the multiple
choice answer that represents their attitude or reaction. When the instructor creates an opinion scale
question, six answer fields are pre-populated with the following answers:
- Strongly Agree
- Neither Agree nor Disagree
- Strongly Disagree
- Not Applicable
Users are presented with a statement and asked to respond using a selection of pre-defined two-choice
answers, such as:
This question type is very useful in Surveys to gauge user's opinions. It is a variation of the True/False
question type except that more descriptive and meaningful answers may be used.
Quiz Bowl Questions
Quiz Bowl questions are a way to add fun and creativity to tests, such as self assessments or in-class
contests. The user is shown the answer and responds by entering the correct question into a text box. An
answer must include a phrase and a question word, such as whom, what, or where, to be marked as
correct. For example, the question may be "The person who invented the cotton gin", with the answer
being "Who is Eli Whitney?" Partial credit may be given if the question word is not included in the
Random Block Questions
Random Blocks enable the Instructor to use a random selection of questions from a Pool. (But you
cannot include a Random Block of questions from another Test or Survey, you must set the questions up
in a Pool to begin with.)
The Pool Manager Area allows instructors to store questions for repeated use. Pools are course specific although pools from other courses can be imported.
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