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Test is the built-in test engine with various question types with a range of uses from informal knowledge checks to summative exams.

This guide covers how to use and set up a Test, and is primarily aimed at teaching staff.

Relevant VLE site design principles

  • 3.4 Essential: Site and materials content is accessible.
  • 4.1 Essential: The assessment section contains all information about module assessments.
  • 4.2 Essential: Assessment instructions are clearly labelled and explain the task and requirements.

Example test showing multiple choice and fill in the blank question types

Using Test

Most question types are automatically marked and so don't need input from teaching staff. This means Tests can be useful in various situations:

  • informal self-assessment or knowledge checks within weekly content
  • demonstrating preparation for workshops or practicals
  • tracking completion of required content (eg. safety materials)
  • formative tests/practice exams
  • summative exams, either online or in-person (consult us first)

Test has various options that can reduce opportunities for collusion and help build a robust assessment:

  • Randomise the order of questions.
  • Question banks and pools: present a random selection of questions for each student.
  • Multiple Choice and Matching questions: randomise the order of answer options.
  • Calculated formula questions: use randomised values to automatically generate different questions for each student.

Case study

Case study: Ultra Test for assessment

Tommy Yuan shares his experiences of using the Ultra test tool for formative and summative assessment. Topics include how it can save time for lecturers and administrators, and reduce the likelihood of collusion and academic misconduct.

Watch their presentation:

VLE Test for assessment (Panopto viewer) (6 mins 59 secs, UoY log-in required)

See the full case study for more details and the transcript. You can also browse our full set of case studies.

Question types

Test allows various question types, most of which are automatically graded.

Key question types:

Question type Description
Multiple Choice Pick the correct answer(s) from options given. Options can be fixed or randomised, can give partial or negative credit.
Calculated Formula Calculate the answer to a given formula (eg. 3x + 4y = ?). Values (x/y) are randomly generated so each student has a different question.
Fill in the Blank Input the missing word(s) in the given text.
Matching Match corresponding items from two groups. Options can be fixed or randomised, can give partial or negative credit.

Other available question types include:

  • Calculated numeric
  • Image Hotspot
  • True/False
  • Essay or Text input (manually graded)

For more information on which question types are available and how to use them, see Blackboard's question types guides.

Set up a Test


If you are setting up a summative Test, also review this more detailed guide:
Staff Help: Considerations Around & Setting up a Summative VLE Test

You must discuss with the Digital Education Team well in advance if you want to run a summative and/or synchronous exam (in person or online) using Ultra Test.

Contact us to arrange a consultation.

Test location

Consider where students would expect the Test to appear.

With module materials: informal self-tests, knowledge checks or quizzes are best placed alongside the relevant module materials.


Assessment section Tests listed as either a formative or summative assessment in your module catalogue entry must appear (or information about the Test, if run on VLEEXAM) in the Assessment section of the site. If you also want the Test to be accessible through a weekly content folder, use a Course Link.


Create the Test


Draft your Test questions in Google Docs, Word or Excel. This helps avoid errors and it’s useful to have a copy to share with external examiners.

  1. In the relevant location, click Create > Test.
  2. Give the Test a descriptive name at the top left.
  3. Click the plus icon to add questions (see below for details of uploading or reusing questions).
  4. Set the Due date and adjust other settings as needed.
  5. Set the test as Visible to students or specify Release conditions in the top right.


For more detail, see Blackboard's guide to setting up Tests

Upload questions

You can draft questions in a spreadsheet and upload them in .tsv format to your Test:

  1. Make a copy of the Ultra tsv template for Tests Google Sheet
  2. Enter your questions by editing the BB test tab.
  3. Download the questions in tsv format: File > Download > Tab-separated values (.tsv)
  4. In your test, click Upload questions from file and select your .tsv file.

For more details and examples of the required file format, see Blackboard's guide to uploading questions.

Question pools

Use question pools to present a random subset of questions so that each student gets a different version of the test.

  1. Make sure all the questions you want to include have already been added to this Test or another Test or Question Bank on the site.
  2. Click Add question pool.
  3. Select the questions to include in the pool and click Add questions.
  4. Specify how many questions to display and the points for each question.

Use Question Pools in Assessments in the Ultra Course View [YouTube]

Accessible Test Content

As with all teaching content, accessibility is very important when building test questions and answer options. All the usual considerations around accessibility apply to tests, but it is particularly important that you take into consideration accessiblility when using tables, images or mathematical content in test questions.