Blackboard: Tests – Creating Online Assessment Activities for your Students


You can use Blackboard to set online tests for your students. Formative tests can be useful to check and reinforce student learning, or as a revision aid. Online tests can also be used as a formal assessment mechanism.

There are around 20 different types of test question available within Blackboard, including

  • Multiple Choice (only one of the answers shown is correct)
  • Multiple Answer (the correct answer requires more than one of the choices shown to be ticked)
  • Calculated Formula
  • Fill in the Blank
  • Hot Spot
  • Short Answer

In cases such as Multiple Choice where an answer is either right or wrong, Blackboard will also mark the students’ work, provide feedback (determined in advance by the lecturer), and enter the score into the Grade Centre. The Instructor can then view students’ scores in the Grade Centre, and provide further support where needed – see our separate user guides on the Blackboard Grade Centre.

It is possible to export a Test (or sets of questions) from one Blackboard course to another – see separate user guides on copying and sharing Tests.


Creating a Test

Build a Test Canvas

There are other ways of doing it, but best practice is to create your Test first, and then deploy it in a content area (e.g. Assessments).

To do this , go to Control Panel > Course Tools > Tests, Surveys and Pools.

In the control panel using the course tools, and Tests Surveys and Pools

Then click on Tests.

Tests Surveys and Pools option page. Selecting Tests

Click on Build Test .

Build a test button in tests menu

On the Test Information page, provide a

  1. Name
  2. A Description for the Test.

Test information page

Scroll down and enter Instructions for students taking the Test.

3. Scroll down and press Submit.


Populate a Test Canvas

Now you enter the Test Canvas where you create the Test itself.

Question Settings

Question Settings button in top right of test canvas It is not essential to do this now, but before adding any questions it is worth looking at the Question Settings.


Test options, descriptions below


Here you can set options for the test as a whole. For example:

  • Provide feedback for individual answers Tick this  box if you want to provide an individual response for every right or wrong answer.
  • Add images, files, and external links to questions / answers Tick here if you want to insert pictures (allows you to ask questions like “what is the name of the widget shown?”) or even audio and movie clips.
  • Specify default points when creating questions By default each question is worth 10 points, but you can change this.
  • Specify negative point options for answers Tick here if you wish to deduct marks for wrong answers.
    N.B. This option only appears when ‘Specify partial-credit options for answers’ is ticked.
  • Specify random ordering of answers If you tick this box, when you create or edit a question you are given the option to randomise the answers.This option would allow you to set Answer A as the correct answer for all questions, leaving Blackboard to present the choices in a random order. Press Submit when done and return to the Test Canvas.

Set up the test questions

Now select the type of question you want from the drop-down list under Create Question.

Create Question button in test canvas

As you can see, there is a considerable choice of question types. We will use Multiple Choice questions as an example here, but this is far from being the only sort of assessment possible with Blackboard.

See the Blackboard help site for details of the various question types available.

Having selected the question type, enter the text of your first question.

Important information!
You do not need to give the question a title (question titles are NOT visible to students when taking the Test).

Question format with title and question area in a text editor
Scroll down to see the available options, and select any which you want to apply e.g. ‘Show answers in random order’.


Important information!
Many of these settings can be set for the whole Test via Question Settings (see above).

Use the drop-down list under ANSWERS to choose how many answers will be displayed. The default number of answers is four – this is also the minimum number of answers. You can Remove any extra questions you don’t wish to use.

Number of answers and button to choose the correct answer

Now enter the possible answers.

Make sure you check the radio button next to the correct answer.

There are more possible options at the bottom of the screen e.g. responses to show for correct and incorrect answers.

When done, press

  • Submit and Create Another to create another question of the same type.
  • Submit to return to the Test Canvas.


To add other types of  question

In the Test Canvas click on Create Question at the top of the page and select the desired question type.

Alternatively, hover over any question in the test, and click on the + sign which appears, to add a question above or below.

Plus button to add a question before or after another question.

Then select the question type from the list which appears.

Example of how the plus button questions look

You can if you wish use several question types within the same Test.

Formatting the text in questions and answers

By default you can see a basic formatting toolbar. Click on the down arrows on the right to show additional options e.g. to insert a hyperlink or Maths symbols, or use the Equation editor.

Highlighting the expand button to get full functionality on the Blackboard text editor

Showing expanded Blackboard text editor

Inserting files

Remember to select Add images, files, and external links to questions in the Question Settings (and/or Add images, files, and external links to answers). When you have done this, the option to insert or link to a file is displayed.

Insert an image button

Normally you will upload the file (e.g. a JPG image) from your local drive, by selecting ‘Browse My Computer’, and then Insert.

It is also possible to upload images first to the course Fileshare, by selecting ‘Browse Content Collection’, and then Insert.

Important information!
You may need to change the name of your image files before you insert them into the test.

If you ask “what is this plant?” and insert an image called hyacinth.jpg then it will be possible for the students to see this file name in their Internet browser! So you would want to rename this file to something less meaningful e.g. question1.jpg

When you have finished in the Test Canvas, press OK.

Making the Test Available

When you have created a test, you need to create a link to it in one of your course content areas e.g. Assessments.

See Making a Test Available


Creating a Test directly in a Blackboard course

It is probably best to create your Test, then set up a link to it. However you can add a Test, then create it.

Go to the section of your Blackboard course where you want to place the test and select Assessment > Test.

Click on the Create button next to ‘Create a New Test’.

Create button in the add test page

Then follow the steps shown on screen to create, then deploy a new Test – the process is essentially the same as shown earlier.