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With assignments, you can create coursework and manage the grades and feedback for each student separately. Use tests and surveys to measure student knowledge, gauge progress, and gather information.


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titleBenefits and Challenges of Using Force Complete on a Blackboard Original Test

Changes to Force Complete in Original Courses

The Force Completion option now requires a time limit and automatic submission. Blackboard made this change to enforce the submission of incomplete or abandoned attempts. This change is important so that instructors can access and grade these attempts. Instructors may also create a multiple attempt assessment with the Force Completion option. This change ensures that students can now start new attempts in this scenario.

When originally developed, Force Complete was intended to prevent students from navigating away from a Test to minimize cheating. When the students left a test, Blackboard would submit whatever answers had been completed. However, if students encountered technical issues, such as losing an internet connection while on wi-fi or clicking too quickly through test questions, the test engine would consider that to be an attempt to leave the test, even if it was a technical problem. In case of any issues with the session timing out, the student cannot re-enter the test from the last point saved and the instructor must either reset the attempt or allow another attempt – in both scenarios, the student loses data and must start over again.

The typical Blackboard login session is long-lived (normally three to four hours) – however, a test session is much shorter (about 20-30 minutes). In complex exams requiring elaborate write-ups, more time to solve and answer, or containing a large number of questions displayed all at once, users may not interact with the server often enough and, therefore, run into problems.


  • If you select Force Completion, students must complete the test or survey when they launch it. Students may only access the test or survey ONE TIME. 

  • The Save function is available for students to save the questions as they work through them, but they may not exit and reenter the test or survey. 


  • If students accidentally close their browsers, leave the test or survey page, or lose power or their internet connections, they cannot continue.

  • The TSC and DoIT staff will NOT reset a student's test attempt. Students MUST contact you to allow them to start over with a new attempt.

If you must use Force Complete...

  • Avoid creating large exams involving many/complex questions that are randomized and presented all at once. This will be especially important if you have large courses (e.g., more than 50 students) accessing the same test at the same time. 

  • Additionally, a large test with randomized questions is more likely to have Force Complete issues when the duration exceeds 60 minutes. A large test is more than 50 questions. Each version of a randomized test is created in temporary memory

    • When a session expires for a student, the randomized tests no longer exists and cannot be recovered, which forces the student to start all over. 
    • When you remove randomization from the variable, a specific version of the text is delivered, which ensures the student gets the same test if s/he logs back in after a disruption.

  • If you must use a large, complex and randomized test, consider chunking those questions into smaller exams that can be taken in a sequence.

    • Display the questions one at a time. This ensures that the student's session is continuously updated, and the likelihood of a student not hitting the system to persist his/her session is reduced.

  • Reserve Force Complete for when students are on campus taking a proctored test and connected to an Ethernet cable (for example, in a lab) instead of Wi-Fi. If issues occur, an instructor or proctor can be available to reset the test.

  • Allow 2 attempts in case there are technical issues that lock a student out of the first attempt. Both attempts will be preserved, allowing you to review student responses. 

    • You can also review the Test Access Log. The access log shows a detailed list of every interaction that students engage in when taking a test. If a student claims to have started a test the log will show the time the test was started. If a network or internet disruption occurred during the test, for example, the log would show an unusual gap in the time. 

  • Alternatively, if you do not want to create 2 attempts for all students by default, create a Test Exception for a specific student to allow a second attempt. This will allow one student to retake the test while the first attempt(s) are preserved in the course grade center.

  • Stagger student access to the Final Exam using groups.

Alternatives to Force Complete

You may find it advantageous to use the Set Timer options and not the Force Complete option. For example, if a student loses his internet connection for 10 minutes on a timed test, at least he can access the test again and continue. If you enabled the Forced Completion option, he cannot access the test again and must contact you to reset the test.

  • Set the Timer.
    • During a timed test, the time elapsed is displayed to students. As students approach the time limit, a one-minute warning appears.
    • If the student's connection breaks, the student can return to the test. The timer will continue to record the time from the initial point of entry.
    • If a student saves and exits the test, the timer continues. For example, if he begins the test on Tuesday, saves and exits it, then completes it on Thursday, his completion time will be 48 hours.

  • Set the test to Auto Submit. 
    • If you set the timer, turn on Auto-Submit to automatically save and submit a test or survey when time expires. 
    • Without enabling auto-submit, students have the option to continue after time expires. 
    • Tests and surveys are flagged as submitted after the timer expired. You have the option to adjust the grade based on the time.

  • Use Respondus Lockdown Browser
    • This custom browser prevents students from copying/pasting, screen capturing, printing, chatting, and accessing other applications. 

If there was a campus-wide network issue, an announcement will always be posted to DoIT News. Regretfully, it is not possible for DoIT to verify an individual student's connectivity issue with Blackboard, nor can we determine if there was a connectivity issue with an off-campus network.

titleCreate & Manage Assessments

The following links redirect to Blackboard resources.





titleUsing the Ultra Course Experience?

Learn more about Tests & Assignments in the Ultra Course Experience.

titleNeed Help?