This training covers how to create tests in the Blackboard system. We will start with an approach to building tests, then move to making questions, adding questions to a test canvas and releasing to students. We advise that you complete the training in a course which is not visible to students so that you are free to follow along with the activities and practice.

At the end of the training, you will have the opportunity to book onto a live session with a member of the eLearning Team to discuss how you can get started with your own assessments. Please note that the live sessions will run under the assumption that you have completed this training.

Getting started

Please access a Blackboard course that you are able to edit; this may be a course on which you are enrolled to teach or a sandpit/playground site.

Setup: Building re-usable tests

One of the key things to ensure when making tests is ensuring that you can:

  • re-use tests when needed and
  • limit the students’ opportunity to share answers amongst themselves.

Building the questions first, before setting anything else up, is an important starting point!


Locate the staff area where you can build your tests:

  1. Enter your Blackboard Sandpit/Playground (or an appropriate Blackboard Course).
  2. Ensure that “Edit Mode” is on.
  3. In the lower left-hand menu, under “Course Management” open the “Course Tools” Menu.
  4. Choose “Tests, Surveys and Pools”.

“Tests, Surveys and Pools”

The Blackboard “Tests, Surveys and Pools” area has been split into 3 sections:

  1. Tests: Think of this as the piece of paper on which you will later deliver your questions.
  2. Surveys: Several years of testing around the Faculty have shown that this Survey tool is not very helpful, so please ignore this option. Staff who wish to use surveys should contact the eLearning Team for advice.
  3. Pools: Where you will build a body of questions ready to be added into tests.

Step 1: Building a Question Pool

Think of a question “pool” as a folder of questions, or a question bank. Here you will build your questions, including alternative versions of similar questions for when you want each student to have a unique set of questions.

You can choose to create one pool for all of your questions or create a new pool each time you have sets of questions that you wish to keep together (like a folder on your computer).

Activity: Access Pools and Create a New Pool

  1. From “Tests, Surveys and Pools”, choose “Pools”. Here you will be able to see all of your question pools (once you have some!)
  2. Click “Build Pool” to create your first question pool (remember, it’s basically a folder).
  3. Give your pool a name, for example: “Photosynthesis questions”, “Assessment 1” or “Multiple choice question pool”.
  4. Submit the pool without adding any further information.
  5. You will be taken into your new pool; before you go further, adjust the “Question Settings” to allow additional feedback by clicking “Provide Feedback for individual answers” within the “Question Settings” area, before clicking “Submit”.

You now have your pool (folder) to start creating questions — time to move on to Step 2.

When you have completed this activity, move to the next page.