Blackboard Tests – Creating and deploying Tests

There are several steps in setting up a Test and making it available to students:

Build a Test
set the name, description and instructions

Populate the Test Canvas

choose the Question Settings

create Test Questions

Make the Test available

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 of the Test.
  2. A Description for the Test.
  3. Instructions for students taking the Test.Screen shot of Test set up page add name, description, instructions and submit.
  4. Scroll down and press Submit.

When making the Test available to students you will have the option to show the Description and/or Instructions to students before they begin the test.
You can use the Description to provide information that students will need before they start the test. For some timed tests you might want to display the Instructions only when students have entered the test, and the timer has begun.

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.

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

Screen shot of Question text for multiple choice question.
Scroll down to see the available options, and select any which you want to apply e.g. ‘Show answers in random order’.


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.

Screen shot of setting up Answers in Tests a radio button shows which answer is correct. Each answer can be removed by pressing a button named Remove.

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.


Inserting files

Files, images and links can be added to questions and answers.  Select the Upload icon to add images or other files.

Screen shot of question text box with the Upload files icon highlighted.

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

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

Additional third party tools are available, Flickr Photo, SlideShare and You Tube.

These question types and fields now allow you to attach files and insert media using the Add Content button

  • Calculated formula: Question text
  • Essay: Answer text
  • Matching: Question/Answer pairs
  • Multiple Answer: Answer options
  • Multiple Choice: Answer options
  • Ordering: Answer options

In addition students can insert files in their answers to Short Answer questions.

For more specific advice on using video and audio files in Blackboard tests see Embed Audio and Video Files in Questions

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.

It is possible to Export a Test (or sets of questions) from one Blackboard course to another – see separate user guide on Copying Tests.


Page last updated on March 3, 2023 by Peter Moll

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