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Creating Questions & Question Pools

In Blackboard, you can use the test generator to bulk create certain types of questions (Multiple choice, True/False, Fill in the Blanks, etc.). The generator creates a .zip file to import into Blackboard as a question pool. Pools can then be imported/exported or copied to different courses in Blackboard. Pools can also be re-used in multiple tests.

You cannot bulk create questions in BetterExaminations, or import question banks like in Blackboard. Each question is to created individually. It is unknown if you can import/export question banks in different courses, or if you can reuse a question bank in multiple tests.

Creating Tests

Tests in Blackboard are a combination of questions and question blocks. When creating a test, the instructor will choose the pools to include as either question blocks or random blocks, or add new questions to the test as they create it. There is no approval process in Blackboard.

Scheduling/Deploying Tests

In Blackboard, tests are created, then deployed. When deploying, the instructor can control the Availability using the Display After/Until function; which is the time the test can be started by the students. In order to schedule different sittings for specific students or groups, the instructor can either set up Test Exceptions when deploying the test, or set up Adaptive Release rules. Either option allows the instructor to specify different availability periods and timer duration for specific students.

In BetterExaminations, a test sitting can be scheduled after an exam has been approved. Specific students can be selected for the sitting, and the time allocated for students to complete the test is specified. All students in one exam sitting get the same amount of time. If some students require more time, another sitting has to be scheduled for them. Once the above has been specified, the instructor can then choose one of the following options that control start time and overall duration of the sitting:

  • Students can start at a specific date and time. The exam timer starts at that specified time, and any late joiners - if allowed to enter the exam - will not have the exam’s full length.
  • Students can start the exam within a time range. When a student starts the test in this range, they have the exam’s full length time to complete it. This option is similar to Blackboard’s Display After/Until functions.

Exam Tools

BetterExaminations allows instructors to provide students with useful tools during the scheduled exam time. The tools that can be made available, include a Notepad, Text Highlighter, Drawing Tool, Sticky Notes, and a Basic or Scientific Calculator. Tool availability can be set when scheduling the exam/ by editing the tool availability after the test is deployed.

Access Logs

In Blackboard, you can view, through the grade center, which students have an attempt in progress. You can view the attempt's details and observe a student's progress through access logs. Information is recorded in the Test Access Logs, which can be viewed later at any time. The log information includes Date and Time, Activity Type, Time in Test, and Time Spent on a given question.

In BetterExaminations, the information recorded about students' activity is limited. You can view which students have attempts in progress, and when the attempts were started and finished; but not much else.


In Blackboard, test grading is automatic for questions with set answers. There are question types that require manual grading - such as they essay questions and file submission questions. Manual grading is made easier using the ‘Grade by Question’ function for a test.

In BetterExaminations, test grading is also automatic for questions with set answers - the automatic grading process can be configured with different scoring methods. Otherwise, there are question types that require manual grading - such as the essay questions and the voice recorder questions. Manual grading is done on a student-by-student; there is currently no feature to grade by question.

Releasing Feedback

In Blackboard, you can hide and unhide grades from students at any time. You can configure the test's settings to provide feedback to students whenever desired.

In BetterExaminations, you can only release feedback one time. Once you release feedback to students, it is not possible to undo this action.

Accessibility Features

BetterExaminations offers a variety of accessibility features, such as a color scheme option, to change the font and background colours of the exam, font size adjuster to change font size, and keyboard accessible zoom options.

Support for Connection Issues

Blackboard has Forced Completion functionality, which instructors are highly discouraged to enable. When disabled, students are able to re-enter the exam if they disconnect.

BetterExaminations also hasan Exam re-entry option that can be toggled when creating the exam to enable students to re-join the exam if they have connection problems.

Question Types

Blackboard Question Type BetterExaminations Equivalent
Calculated Formula • Math Formula
• Chemistry Formula
• Chemistry essay with rich text
Either/Or Choice Matrix
Essay • Essay with rich text
• Essay with plain text
File Response File upload
• Fill in the Blank
• Fill in Multiple Blanks
• Cloze with drag & drop
• Cloze with drop down
• Cloze with text
• Label image with drag&drop
• Label image with drop-down
• Label image with text
Hot Spot • ‘Highlight & Drawing’ Section
• Image annotation upload
Jumbled Sentence Cloze with drag & drop
Matching • Classification
• Match List
Multiple Answer Multiple Choice – multiple response
Multiple Choice Multiple Choice - Standard, Block Layout
Opinion Scale/Likert Rating
Ordering Order List, Sort List
Short Answer Short text
True/False True or False

Question types available on Blackboard, but not BetterExaminations:

• Quiz Bowl

Question types available on BetterExaminations, but not Blackboard:

• Graphing
• Graphing in the 1st quadrant
• Number line with drag and drop
• Number line with plot
• Bar Chart
• Line Chart
• Histogram
• Dot Plot
• Line Plot
• Cloze Chemistry
• Cloze chemistry with image
• Gridded
• Audio recorder
• Video recorder