Blackboard Exams

Delivering Exams through Blackboard

Exam Integrity Best Practices

Protecting the integrity of exams in both online and onsite environments is very important when assessing students achievement. Exams delivered in Blackboard can be just as effective as exams delivered in a face-to-face setting, but there is an added layer of complexity when assuring the integrity of the assessment. The following best practices will help you ensure that your exams produce the best results when delivered remotely.

  • Provide the USD Honor Code regarding Academic Dishonesty in the introduction of the exam
  • Create a large pools of test questions so you can choose questions by topics and have them randomly distributed to students
  • Leverage textbook test banks
  • Use Blackboard to create questions blocks that randomly distribute questions to students. All students will receive a different test, but be assessed on the same topics.
  • Combine various methods of assessment – tests including written or oral responses, discussion boards, collaborate presentations and group projects.
  • Combine various types of questions in your exam - include short and essay in addition to multiple choice
  • Randomize the answer choices for each question in addition to randomizing the questions
  • Display one question at a time and prohibit backtracking.
  • Set an appropriate time limit for the test. If students must know material at the time of the test, instead of looking up the answers, limit the overall time frame.
  • Set an appropriate time frame for completion of the test. Do not allow students to complete the test over multiple hours or days in order to prevent the sharing of test questions prior to the test.
  • Use “Force Completion” to ensure students complete the exam in one sitting.
  • Password protect test and only provide password when you are ready for students to start the test.
  • Use Respondus Lockdown Browser so students cannot navigate away from the exam once they have started.

For Grading Exams

  • If you do NOT use Auto-Submit, consider deducting points for going over time limits. Include a statement regarding your policy in the test description.
  • Always provide feedback for individual questions. When you do, consider:
    • Do not provide feedback until all students exams have been submitted, graded and then returned to students.
    • If you intend to use the same questions on future exams, do not show the questions, answers, or correct answer(s) after exams are graded.
    • For incorrect responses provide direction to appropriate learning topic(s) so students can review those sections pertaining to questions missed. This is particularly effective for multiple attempt exams.
  • Use the Item Analysis for continuous improvement of exam questions

Exam Creation: How-To

  • Create a Test in Blackboard
  • Respondus

Deploying a Blackboard Exam

After an exam is created in Blackboard it will need to be deployed in order for it to be available for the students. The following job-aid will guide you through the steps to deploy and exam along with the best practices to ensure you use the proper settings for optimal exam integrity.

Best Practices for Deploying an Exam:

For additional information on how to deploy exams in Blackboard, please reference Blackboard’s Support site:

Respondus Lockdown Browser

Respondus Lockdown Browser is one tool that can be used to help deter cheating during an exam that is delivered through Blackboard.

How Lockdown Browser Works

  • Assessments are displayed full-screen and cannot be minimized
  • Browser menu and toolbar options are removed, except for Back, Forward, Refresh and Stop
  • Prevents access to other applications including messaging, screen-sharing, virtual machines, and remote desktops
  • Printing and screen capture functions are disabled
  • Copying and pasting anything to or from an assessment is prevented
  • Right-click menu options, function keys, keyboard shortcuts and task switching are disabled
  • An assessment cannot be exited until the student submits it for grading
  • Assessments that are set up for use with LockDown Browser cannot be accessed with other browsers

How to Setup Respondus Lockdown Browser 

Once you have deployed your exam in Blackboard, you can enable Respondus Lockdown Browser through the Course Administration Panel.

Control Panel > Course Tools > Respondus Lockdown Browser > Tests or Surveys

Click on the chevron next to the exam you would like to lockdown. Then click Settings.

Displaying webpage option - describing the setting selection needed as a reference image for the previous text.

Choose the setting, Require Respondus Lockdown Browser for this exam.

For Students

Once you have enabled Respondus Lockdown Browser for your exam, students will not be able to access the exam from their traditional browser (i.e. chrome, firefox, etc.) They must download and access Blackboard through the Respondus Browser. Students can download the Browser from the Blackboard Support Resources page.

Displays a webpage in Blackboard, highlighting the option "Respondus Lockdown Browser."