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Sakai Tests and Surveys

Pros & Cons



Surveys: can be useful for gathering anonymous feedback, formative feedback, and informal course evaluation information. Surveys and Tests: there is a moderate learning curve for this tool for faculty and students.
Surveys and Tests: summary statistics can be downloaded.    
Tests: The instructor must be available to reset the attempt if a student is locked out of a test before completion,
Surveys and Tests: can be deployed anywhere in a course Content Area.
Surveys and Tests: as new versions of internet browsers are released, issues may occur with the functionalilty of a survey or test.
Tests: When using the objective question formats (T/F, multiple choice, etc.) Blackboard will automatically score and grade responses and record them in the grade center.
Tests: If the test includes any short answer or essay questions, it will require manual scoring.   
Tests: partial credit can be given for several of the objective style questions with multiple correct answers.  Tests: it may take multiple attempts to learn all the features of higher level questions.
Tests: multiple attempts can be allowed and instructors can see details of each attempt. Scores can be set up to record individual attempts or average of all attempts. Tests: faculty need to be aware of the potential for academic dishonesty when offering an online test.
 Surveys and Tests: can be exported from one course and imported into another.  Surveys and Tests: cannot be moved to another Content Area within the course once it is deployed. Surveys and tests that are imported must be redeployed.
Surveys and Tests: pools of questions can be used to create new tests.  
Best Practices for Surveys:
  • Create a no-stakes/low-stakes opportunity for students to practice with the test and survey tools.
  • Provide documentation for students: link to ITS student help documentation.
  • Make students aware that their responses to survey questions are anonymous. Respect the anonyminity by not monitoring results until after the survey deadline.
  • When using surveys to gather feedback, consider sharing results with students as a means to encourage future participation and illustrate that you are taking their input seriously.
    • Results can be shared with students by making a PDF of the summary statistics or copying and pasting to a Word document.
  • Solicit feedback half way through the course; use the feedback to inform instruction during the second half of the semester.

Best Practices for Tests:

  • Create a no-stakes/low-stakes opportunity for students to practice with the test and survey tools.
  • Provide documentation for students: link to ITS student help documentation.
  • Test pools allow for reusing and repurposing of questions; this allows for use of random block testing that can reduce student cheating.
  • Many textbook publishers offer course cartridges that include banks of questions formatted for use in Blackboard. 
  • Consider the LUC test option guidelines for optimal test configuration: ITS URL
  • Employ the suggested strategies for reducing academic dishonesty.


IMPORTANT:  In a remote testing situation (where students are taking the online test from off-campus), the identity of the individuals taking the test cannot be verified. A student may very easily have someone else take the test for him, even if the test has been password protected. The only way to ensure that each student takes her/his own test is to conduct the test in a proctored lab. For this reason, many faculty choose not to use the Sakai Test function for actual graded tests.  Instead, they utilize Tests as student self-assessments or as practice tests before an in-class exam. If placed strategically throughout the course, Sakai Tests are an excellent way to gauge student understanding of course concepts."