Assessment & Marking

Techniques to minimise academic malpractice

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Assessment / Blackboard test tools / Minimise malpractice

Here are recommended techniques to use in Blackboard tests, to increase the confidence you have in the security, reliability or validity of online assessments. Some of the suggested techniques may make collusion between students harder, although some of the options bring with them their own disadvantages.

Click the How to… link to find instructions and example for each of the techniques.

How to…


Randomising the Order of answer options in a MCQ

No risk with this option.


This option needs to be activated on a per question basis

How to…


Randomising the order of questions in a test

The risk here relates to any errors within the questions.


You will need students to report errors via the Question Stem instead of the Question number.

Once the erroneous question has been identified you can simply edit the question/delete or award full marks for the question

How to…


Use Question Pools

Question Pools allow you to ask x number of questions from a larger pool

The greater the difference between the number of questions presented and the number of questions in the question pool, the more unique each exam will become. This does mean however the number of questions required increases rapidly.


You need to ensure each question in each pool is of a comparative level of difficulty.

An error in one question in a pool may lead to the entire pool of questions having to be invalidated/removed from the assessment.

How to…


Use Calculated Formula Questions

Calculated Formula Questions allow you to create a question that contains a variable picked from a pre-defined range of numbers. You then input the formula for finding the answer and Bb can auto-mark the question.

Minimal risk with this question.


Blackboard has a history of not dealing particularly well with very high or very low numbers (many decimal places) so try to avoid those.