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Question Sets vs. Random Blocks In Blackboard Tests and Quizzes

question-sets-1Random blocks and question sets allow instructors to create tests that pull questions from pools and other tests/quizzes so that each student does not get exactly the same questions when they take the test.

A random block allows Blackboard instructors to select question pools to pull questions from. Instructors specify the question types (like multiple choice, true/false etc.) and the number of questions to be included in the random block.

Question sets, on the other hand, allow more flexibility than random blocks. Question sets can be setup to retrieve questions from pools and/or other tests. Question sets allow Blackboard instructors to browse to select specific questions from pools and/or other tests. With question sets, you can also set a filter based on other criteria such as categories, topics, keywords, and levels of difficulty.

Though both question sets and random blocks deliver questions randomly to students, the two features have distinct differences:

  • Instructors can manually choose questions from all tests, surveys, and pools for question sets. Random blocks draw questions from pools only, so they can't include questions from other tests or surveys.
  • Instructors can search questions and browse metadata to create question sets. Random Blocks don’t allow instructors to search questions or browse metadata when created.
  • Instructors can delete questions in a question set. The question is removed from the set, but not deleted from your course. Instructors can't delete questions within a random block. If a question doesn’t need to be included in a random block, remove it from the pool.

After making the selections, set the same points possible for all questions in the set or block. To assign a different point value to a question, add the question individually outside of a block or set.

Question Sets and Publisher Content

Question sets are especially handy when using publisher supplied test banks and pools.  These pools are normally patterned on the chapters of the textbook and may include more questions over topics not needed in assessments.  Question sets allow the instructor to search by topic using different sets of questions, whereas random blocks would force the instructor to create multiple pools just to create the same random draw.

When creating tests, instructors can include a combination of question pools, question sets, and static questions that all students will receive when taking the test.

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