Blackboard Tests and Pools

One good feature in Blackboard is the Assessment –> Test feature. It allows for the setup of quizzes or exams by utilizing various customizable settings. One option is utilizing pools. For example, say you want to create a final exam, which will cover chapters 1-7 from the assigned textbook. You can create what are called pools. In this case, we will create one pool for each chapter and break that number down further by creating an additional pool for each question type. In this case, question type includes multiple choice, true/false and essay. The total number of pools we will have are 21 (7 Chapters * 3 Questions types = 21 Pools), but for the sake of this example, you will not see all of the pools in the provided screen captures.

The setup process is a little lengthy, but the end result is what we are looking for. In other words, we want to be able to pull questions from each pool so it randomizes the questions and can give almost every student a “unique” set of questions.



Here is an example of how the test pools will look. Naming them properly is important so we can locate them when adding questions to the exam. You will notice that it includes the number of questions in each pool as well as the date when the pool was last updated. The number of questions helps us to determine how many questions we want to pull from each pool.


Random Blocks

In the final exam I created, I added the questions to a Random Block. The random blocks are an avenue used to implement the pools in the exam. At this point I can indicate how many questions I want displayed and how many points each question will be worth. If I want to preview questions, they can be previewed by clicking on the ‘Preview questions that match selected criteria’ link that appears below each Random Block.

This was a quick overview of the test feature in Blackboard, and one way we can utilize pools. For more information, please visit the Blackboard Faculty and Staff Guide. If you are interested in knowing more about how you can utilize the test feature with pools, please feel free to reply to this post. Until next time…