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Assessing Students in Blackboard

Questions with their answers


Can I collect papers and other homework through Blackboard?

You can use the Assignment Tool to allow students to upload documents to Blackboard, which then can be downloaded from the Grade Center. To begin:

  1. Click the name of the Content Area (e.g. Assignments) where you want students to submit their assignment.
  2. Select the Assessments button and choose Assignment.
  3. Enter, at minimum, a Name and Points Possible.
  4. Click Submit. Students will submit their Assignments through this link.

After a student successfully submits their files, the Review Submission History page displays a success message and information about their submission. They will also receive a confirmation email with this information.

Learn more about creating Blackboard Assignments.

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How do I check student papers for plagiarism?

You can enable the SafeAssign feature in any Blackboard assignment. SafeAssign compares student assignment submissions against a set of academic papers to identify areas of overlap between the submitted text and existing works.

Review our SafeAssign FAQs for more information on using SafeAssign with Assignments.

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How do I access students' submissions?

To view and grade student submissions in Blackboard:

  1. Go to the Control Panel and click Grade Center.
  2. Select Needs Grading.
  3. Review the submissions and click on the name of a student to review and grade their submission.

To download all submissions to your computer:

  1. Go to the Control Panel and click Grade Center.
  2. Select Full Grade Center.
  3. Find the column for that Assignment, click the down-arrow in the column header, and choose Assignment File Download.
  4. Select the student submissions you want to download and click Submit
  5. Click Download assignments now to download a .zip file with all the submissions.

Learn more about grading Blackboard Assignments.

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Can I download all student papers at once?

  1. In your Blackboard course, go to the Control Panel, click Grade Center, and click Full Grade Center.
  2. Find the Assignment’s grade column, click the down-arrow at the top of the column, and select Assignment File Download.
  3. Check the box at the top of the list to select all submissions and click Submit.
  4. On the resulting page, click on Download Assignments Now to download to your computer a .zip file of all the submissions.

Learn more about downloading assignment submissions.

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How do I comment on and grade student papers in Blackboard?

  1. In your Blackboard course, go to the Control Panel, click Grade Center, and click Needs Grading.
  2. On the Needs Grading page, click on a student’s name to open their Assignment submission.
  3. The student’s assignment submission will open in your browser where you can provide comments and assign a grade using Blackboard's inline grading features:
    Bb Annotate Toolbar
    1. Drawing, Brush, and Eraser Blackboard Annotate Drawing tool icon: Draw freehand on the submission with various colors, thickness, and opacity. Select the eraser to remove annotations. You can erase parts of a freehand drawing with the eraser or select the Delete icon to delete the whole drawing.
    2. Image or Stamp Blackboard Annotate add image iconChoose a preloaded stamp or create your own customized stamp or image to add to the submission.
    3. Text Blackboard Annotate add text icon: Add text directly on the submission. You can move, edit, and change the text and select the font, size, alignment, and color of the text.
    4. Shapes Blackboard Annotate add shapes iconChoose Line, Arrow, Rectangle, Ellipse, Polygon, and Polyline. Each shape has its own settings to change the color, width, opacity, and more.
    5. Comment Blackboard Annotate Add Comment Icon: Provide feedback in comments. Your comments appear in a panel next to the submission.
    6. Highlighter: Select specific portions of the submission to highlight. As you highlight text on the submission, an additional menu opens. You can highlight, strikethrough, underline, squiggle, or comment on the highlighted section.
      Bb Annotate Highlight text options  

Learn more about grading Blackboard Assignments.

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How do I delete a comment or annotation I've added to a student paper?

To delete an entire drawing, select it and click the Delete icon Blackboard Annotate Delete icon in the toolbar. You can also erase parts of a freehand drawing with the eraser tool.

Bb Annotate eraser tool

From the side-bar menu in the upper left panel, select Annotations. The annotations you've made will display in the sidebar. Click the delete icon Blackboard Annotate Delete icon next to an annotation to remove it.

Bb Annotate sidebar menu

Select a comment and click the delete icon Blackboard Annotate Delete icon to delete it.

Bb Annotate delete comment icon

Learn more about grading Blackboard Assignments.

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Can I grade student papers using the Blackboard Instructor mobile app?

You can grade students' Assignment submissions using the Blackboard Instructor app. Alternatively, when using a mobile device, you can also use a mobile browser to access Blackboard and grade Assignments. As part of the responsive design, the toolbar menu may appear differently based on the screen size.

Learn more about grading in the Blackboard Instructor app.

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Can I give a quiz or test online?

Yes, you can use Blackboard's Test tool. First, you must create the test and questions.

  1. In your course, scroll down to the Control Panel and click Tests, Surveys, and Pools.
  2. On the next page, click Tests.
  3. Click on Build Test to create a new one.
  4. Type a Name for the test and optional Instructions and Description.
  5. Click Submit.
  6. On the Test Canvas, click on Create Question and select a question type.
  7. On the Create/Edit page, provide the necessary information to create a question, and select Submit

After you create a test, the next step is to deploy it so students have access.

  1. Go to the Content Area where you want students to find the test, such as Tests.
  2. Select Assessments and then choose Test.
  3. Select a Test Name from the box and click Submit
  4. The Test Options page loads.
  5. Make the test available to students.
  6. Optionally, set any necessary Test Options.
  7. Select Submit.

Learn more about creating tests in Blackboard.

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Can I provide accommodations for students who need additional time on a test or take a makeup exam?

Test Availability exceptions allow instructors to make special exceptions to the time limit or test availability of an existing Blackboard test for students who need additional time or need to take a makeup exam.

  1. Open your Blackboard course and go to the Content Area where the test is deployed, like Tests, for example.
  2. Click the down-arrow next to the test name and select Edit the Test Options.
  3. Go to the Test Availability Exceptions section and click on Add User or Group.
  4. In the pop-up window, check the box for each student requiring an exception and click Submit at the bottom of the window.
  5. The student(s) selected in the previous step should then be listed under Test Availability Exceptions. Click the icon to delete the student from the exceptions list.
  6. Set any of the following options for each student:
    • Attempts: Select the number of attempts allowed for the student.
    • Timer: Enter the time limit in minutes for the selected student. You can also enable/disable Auto-Submit to have the test submit after the timer runs out automatically. You must have the timer enabled for the test, or this option will not appear.
    • Availability: If the student needs to take the exam at a different time than the rest of the class, click the calendar icon to specify the exam's availability for the student.
      • Note: If the setting "Do not allow students to start the test if the due date has passed" is enabled, even students on the exceptions list cannot take the test after that date and time.
    • Force Completion: (This setting is NOT RECOMMENDED.) Enable or disable force completion for the user. You must have the force completion enabled for the test, or this option will not appear.
  7. Click Submit at the bottom of the page to implement the exceptions.

Learn more about Test Availability Exceptions.

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How can I discourage student cheating on online exams?

You could consider using Respondus LockDown Browser and Monitor for your Blackboard tests.

The Respondus LockDown Browser is a custom browser that locks down the testing environment for Blackboard quizzes and exams. Respondus Monitor is a webcam feature for LockDown Browser that records students during online exams.

Learn more about Respondus LockDown Browser and Monitor.

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How do I print a test?

At this time, Blackboard does not have a print option for Tests.

You can try to use your browser's print function or copy the test and paste it into an external text editor program like Microsoft Word to then print or save it from there.

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How do I hide all test results and scores from students?

By default, if a test consists of all discrete-point questions, students can see points earned per question and their overall score. To prevent this, you will need to hide all test results and feedback AND the Grade Center column.

  1. Locate the test link in Blackboard and click the arrow next to the test title.
  2. Choose to Edit the Test Options.
  3. In the Show Test Results and Feedback to Students section, uncheck ALL options.
  4. Click Submit.
  5. Go to the Full Grade Center and locate the Test column.
  6. Click the arrow next to the column title and select Hide from Students (on/off).

Please note that when you hide a test column from students, they see no information about the test in My Grades and if they click on the test link, they receive a message stating when they submitted the test, but no scores appear.

Learn more about Blackboard Test results and feedback options.

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Grade Center

How can I set up a grade book?

You can use Blackboard's Grade Center to record grades and allow students to view their progress in the course.

Some Columns are automatically added to the Grade Center when gradable work is created in other areas of Blackboard, such as with Assignments and Tests. You can also manually create Columns to grade students on activities not submitted through Blackboard like participation.

To create a manual column:

  1. Under Control Panel, click Grade Center.
  2. Click Full Grade Center to get a spreadsheet-like view of all grade columns.
  3. To manually add a grade column, click Create Column.

​Learn more about the Blackboard Grade Center.

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How do I assign grades to students?

In your Blackboard course, go to the Control Panel and click on Grade Center. From there, you can access items to grade from the Needs Grading page or the Full Grade Center.

In the Full Grade Center, you can type grades directly into a grade cell or access the Grade Details page to review grade history, assign grades, and more.

Blackboard Grade Center highlighting a grade cell's menu options

Learn more about assigning grades in Blackboard.

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Can I download a copy of the Grade Center?

  1. Open your Blackboard course.
  2. Go to the Control Panel, click Grade Center, and then select Full Grade Center.
  3. On the Full Grade Center page, click Work Offline and select Download.
  4. Select the Data to download.
  5. Select the File Delimiter, Comma, or Tab (default).
  6. Choose if you want to Include Hidden Information in the downloaded file. Hidden information includes columns and students you hid from the Full Grade Center view.
  7. Click Submit.
  8. On the next page, click on Download to save the file to your computer. If you receive a security warning asking if you want to open the file, click Yes.

Learn more about working offline with Grade Center data.

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Why can't I see all the columns in my Grade Center?

New Grade Center Columns are always added to the right end of the Grade Center. When there are more columns than fit on the screen, you will need to scroll to the right.

If you are using a Mac and do not see the Grade Center's horizontal scroll bar, you may need to update your system preferences to always display scroll bars.

  1. Click the Apple menu in the top left of your screen and select System Preferences.
  2. Click General.
  3. In the section labeled Show scroll bars, select Always.
  4. Close the System Preference window.

If that does not resolve the issue, in your Blackboard course, go to the Full Grade CenterManage > Column Organization and make sure the column isn't hidden from your view.

Learn more about the Grade Center Column Organization page.

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Why did I receive an error when importing a test?

Blackboard Tests can be exported as .zip files that you or other instructors can then import into other Blackboard courses. Only test packages exported from Blackboard (or a publisher with compatible content) can be imported.

If you are using Safari on a Mac, downloaded .zip files may be automatically unpackaged, thereby making them unusable for importing into Blackboard. There is a setting you can change to prevent Safari from automatically unzipping the file:

  1. From the Safari menu choose Preferences.
  2. In the General section, uncheck Open “safe” files after downloading.
  3. Close the Safari Preferences window.
  4. After disabling the feature, download the .zip file and perform import again.

Learn more about importing and exporting Blackboard Tests.

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