Exams set for Force Completion
The Force Completion setting causes many headaches for instructors and Teaching Assistants. When an exam is deployed with the Force Completion option checked, it forces a student to complete the test within the initial launch of the exam. If a student closes their browser, experiences a computer crash, their network/browser times out, or their Internet provides boots them, they will not be able to resume the exam. The instructor must then choose whether or not to clear the student’s exam attempt. This forces the student to start over. Meanwhile, the student has already seen the exam and has possibly looked up answers to questions. In some cases students may learn to take advantage of exam resets. They can begin a quiz, take note of the questions, exit the exam, and ask the instructor for a reset. Have you noticed that the same students ask for exams to be reset? How can you eliminate this?
Do not choose the Force Completion option. Instead, make the exam timed by choosing the Set Timer option. The Timer feature records completion time for an exam. Setting the timer allows you to see how long a student spent on an exam, regardless of how many times they closed their browser, had a connection time out, or were boosted by their Internet service provider. Since force completion is off, the student can reenter the exam. The exam timer continues to record time even if the student has excited the attempt.
If a student goes over the specified time limit they do not get an automatic score on their exam. Instead, they will receive an exclamation point in the Gradebook. The instructor will need to go into the Gradebook and hand grade the exam.
Here is an example of how this can work:
An instructor posts a Blackboard exam and specifies a 45 minute time limit. A student enters the exam. 15 minutes into the attempt the student's computer crashes. They reboot, and access the exam again. The student does not need to ask for their test to be reset. Their exam timer, on the Blackboard server, is still running. 40 minutes elapses between the time the student first entered the exam and the time they click submit. Because they did not exceed the time limit the student is scored normally and receives a grade.
A student begins an exam with a 45 minute time limit. The student looks at the exam questions and exits the attempt. They spend a day researching the answers to the test questions. The student enters the exam again, answers the questions, and clicks submit. They are not immediately presented with a score. When the instructor looks at the gradebook they do not see a score corresponding to the student’s attempt. Rather, they see an exclamation point. The instructor clicks the exclamation point and sees that the student spent over 24 hours on the attempt. The instructor chooses to give the student zero points.
Once an exam is submitted, unless it is set for multiple attempts, it cannot be accessed again. As long as the time limit is not exceeded, it should not matter if a student logs out, switches computers, etc.
Note: There are no exam settings that will prevent students from collaborating with their classmates, using notes, etc. The best options to help prevent this would be to create pools and then randomize both the questions and the order in which the answers are displayed.
Click here to view an article about the Blackboard server exam timer and the courtesy timer that displays in the student’s browser.