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Teaching and Learning Webinar Series

Online Test and Quizzes

What types of online tests and quizzes can contribute most to student learning? What does the research tell us about the effectiveness of online quizzes? How can they be deployed so as to save you time and what are some techniques to ensure academic integrity? Online tests and quizzes can support, augment, and enhance your course, whether it is hybrid or delivered completely online. Online tests and quizzes are best viewed as one piece of your assessment matrix, helping students to achieve course learning outcomes.

Juan DelaCruzView the recording Online Test and Quizzes webinar co-hosted by Juan DelaCruz, Associate Professor, Economics and Business.

You can also view the webinar presentation slides and read the overview of the webinar below - prepared by Susan Ko, Faculty Development Consultant, Office of Online Education.

The Why of Online Tests and Quizzes

Online tests and quizzes are best viewed as just one piece of your assessment matrix, helping students to achieve course learning outcomes. Online tests and quizzes can support, augment, and enhance your course, whether it is hybrid or delivered completely online. What types of online tests and quizzes can contribute most to student learning? What does the research tell us about the effectiveness of online quizzes? How can they be deployed so as to save you time and what are some techniques to ensure academic integrity?

Low-Stakes Quizzes

Recent research in psychology and cognitive science has shown that frequent but low-stakes (or ungraded, self-assessment) quizzes can play an important role in learning online

  • instilling confidence in students,
  • providing opportunities for practice
  • reinforcing comprehension

In the areas of retention of factual information and reading comprehension, or tasks that involve repeated practice, online quizzes and tests allow students to establish a foundation upon which the higher-level thinking activities can be based.

When to use such quizzes?

  • Faculty may ask students to take low stakes quizzes after reading but before class discussion so as to increase the chances that students come fully prepared to discussion.
  • Or they may be designed to provide review and reflection after an online discussion or in hybrid courses, after the in-person lecture or meeting, or as a way to wrap up the week’s activities.
  • At the beginning of a course, a short low-stakes or non-credit syllabus quiz can be a great way to make sure students have familiarized themselves with the course requirements and expectations.

 High-stakes Tests and Quizzes

Generally, we would term “high stakes” any one test which constitutes at least 10% of a grade. Such tests should be offered as just one part of the assessment strategy, and should not be the only form of assessment.

How to Create an Online/Test Quiz?

There are a number of options for creating online tests/quizzes. Instructors can use:

  • test banks provided by the textbook publishers.
  • a Blackboard Test Generator to convert test/quiz document for importing into Blackboard.
  • Tests, Surveys and Pools in Blackboard to build test/quiz from the beginning.

Using Test Bank Questions from Publishers

Many textbook publishers such as McGraw Hill and Pearson have test banks available for instructors to export and then import into Blackboard. This process does take time in the beginning but will save you time in the end. We are available to assist you with importing these test banks into your Blackboard course. 

Blackboard Test Generators

Blackboard test generators are a great way for converting your test/quiz Word document in order for it to be imported into Blackboard. This is a two-step process where you format your Word document then copy/paste your formatted text into the “generator”. You will receive a file that can be imported into Blackboard. If you have always administered your test in-person using  printed copies of the test, this option would be ideal for adapting those tests/quizzes for online use.

There are three different test generators we currently recommend:

Tests, Surveys and Pools Tool in Blackboard

You can use the Tests, Surveys and Pools Tool in Blackboard to get started with creating tests/quizzes. You have the ability to choose from a wide variety of questions. Many of those questions such a multiple choice, multiple answers, true/false, fill in blanks, etc. are automatically graded which is useful for self-assessment or low-stakes quizzes. If your test consists entirely of essays it is recommended you use a Turnitin assignment to ensure academic integrity.

Test options in Blackboard  allow for the test to appear and to be accessible within a particular time and day, while other options allow you to tailor the level of security needed.

To ensure academic integrity, the test questions should be randomly drawn from a large pool of questions. An initial investment of time is necessary to create a large enough pool. Additionally, you should add or rotate a portion of the pool questions each semester.

Faculty Experience with Online Tests and Quizzes

Juan DelaCruz, our faculty co-host, shared his experience teaching Business Statistics and Principles of Macroeconomics, in which he uses online tests and exams, including online quizzes from MyStat Lab and Sapling Learning as an integral part of his assessment matrix. Online tests and quizzes are integrated into an assessment mix that also includes such items as reflection papers, group presentations, Excel-based problems, and final projects. DelaCruz pointed out that he has found online tests and quizzes so effective a tool that he uses them even for classes that meet face-to-face, not only for those offered online. He noted that online quizzes and tests can help maximize time for instructors, providing a way to make sure that students understand the subject matter, and allowing faculty to then identify and focus more on those issues that need special attention. In regard to issues of plagiarism and academic integrity, he emphasized his approach to building a culture of performance and accountability.