Assessment Recipe: Maths questions (including workings) which need to be hand written

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If you prefer to use alternative methods to Blackboard such as eassignment or another tool, check with your Deputy Head of School for Education for guidance.

In person arrangements

When this type of exam is sat in person students sit spaced apart in a large hall. Students have a printed question paper with rubric on the front. The question book contains numerous questions to which students may have to draw graphs, write calculations, or otherwise fulfil requirements that are less straightforward where mathematical notation is needed.  Students write their answers into the answer booklet.

How to transfer this online

You have two approaches; one is to create Blackboard test that assess the same knowledge in a method suitable for delivery using the question types in Blackboard.  If so, follow the guidance in the assessment recipe for Computer based tests.

The other approach is to create an assessment paper and answer booklet and ask the students to either print out, complete (for example by drawing on graphs, writing calculations), or by completing a word document and adding notation with a stylus, or to create an exam paper and ask students to write the answers on blank paper in pen. If done on paper the students scanning the page using Office Lens or OneDrive on a mobile device and submitting it to a Blackboard assignment, or submitting the word document to a Blackboard assignment.

Blackboard assignment is recommended because it has a marking interface that allows marking with stylus (pen like tool) which colleagues report is more desirable for marking such assessments.

Blackboard assignment process

A new Final Assessment menu item has been added to most Blackboard courses. Please use this content area to add all content relating to your final assessment, or move your final assessments here if they are elsewhere. If you do not see a Final Assessment menu item, you can create one by following this guide:  How to add a Blackboard menu item.

Within this content area, add a content item explaining that this is where the assessment will be found on the day. This should include the rubric for the assessment (usually found on the front of the physical paper) so that students have a clear understanding of what the format will be. Include information such as who in the school students should contact with questions about the assessment or the paper, including technical questions*. Also, include a link to this Student Guide: Preparing for short duration online assessment (

*this is based on on this section of Section IV: General Information and Regulations of the University Calendar that states that “The nominee(s) of the Associate Dean (Education) must be available during the whole of the examination period in case of queries”, to keep the Short Duration Online Assessment process aligned with this exams process that it replaces, the nominee (usually a course instructor) should be available for student queries during their working hours.


If you wish for your students to include certain information such as their student number but not their name, or if you wish for students  to use a template for their submission make this clear and provide the students with the resources you require of them.  The file format recommended for students to use to submit is Microsoft Word (doc or docx) in the case of typed responses or PDF in terms of scanned responses.  Ensure that students have the equipment necessary such as a mobile phone running IOS or Android and the Office Lens (android, IOS) or OneDrive (android, IOS) apps in the case of scanned responses.  Include download links for the apps and recommend students practice with the apps in advance.

Create an item in the same content area and attach this PDF, use the text box to add any further information about the exam paper, and state that when the students open the PDF they will find the exam question/s within it.  Set this item to become available when you want students to have access to the exam paper.

Create a Blackboard assignment where the submission will be made by students.  Set the due date to the date and time after which students should no longer be able to submit.  Set the Display After to be the earliest time from which you wish students to make submissions.

Short Duration Online Assessments will be scheduled by the Exams Office so you should match start and end dates/times for the assessment to match the exam schedule.

If you allow only one attempt, then if a student submits an incorrect file or makes a mistake they will not be able to resubmit without your assistance.  We recommend allowing three attempts and stating that you will mark the most recent attempt.

Students should use Microsoft Word or Office Lens / OneDrive as appropriate to create the document which should contain all the answers clearly labelled in one single document.  Using a personal computer (e.g. tablet, phone or smart tv) they should use Google Chrome to access Blackboard and submit their assignment whilst ensuring that third party cookies are allowed.  They should ensure that the file they are submitting is not open in another application when submitting to Blackboard.

Online considerations

This assessment will not be proctored (invigilated) which means that it is effectively open book. Students have access to all of Google and the wider web. There is no way to enforce that they complete the assessment with a set time other than the time between the start date and the due date.   This means potentially students could spend all 24 hours (for example) working on the exam. Your questions should be structured to take this into consideration. Questions which hinge on them to remember facts are unlikely to be useful identifying strong students.

Students may experience difficulties if they are unfamiliar with scanning handwritten submissions using their phones, transferring the file to their computer, and then uploading to Blackboard.  Students may forget to scan some pages within their submission due to the stress of the process.

Risks and possible mitigation

In addition to the general risks outlined on the main Online Short Duration Assessments web page, the table below covers risks specific to this scenario along with suggested mitigations.

What could go wrong? Possible Mitigation
Error found in question/answers after assessment made available. Ensure that the questions, rubric and all settings have been thoroughly proof read and reviewed for errors by yourself and relevant colleagues in good time before the assessment is due to take place.

Where a mistake is found after students have started the test please follow the appropriate AQSC Policy.

A student does not have a suitable device (smartphone/scanner etc) to create a PDF of their written submission. AQSC approval for running such assessments is conditional on the proposing School providing assurance that it has made or assured adequate provision for the support of all students taking the assessment including, but not limited to: those taking the assessment outside the UK, those with inadequate connectivity or IT equipment and those experience IT failure during an assessment, provision or assurance of suitable space for all students to take the assessment, accessibility for disabled students and students with specific learning disabilities.
A student is not able to transfer a file they created in Office Lens (or similar app) on their phone to their computer for submission to Blackboard. In all circumstances it is very beneficial to run a short formative assessment using the same methods and options that would be used in the summative assessment. This allows students to get used to the interface and process and allows staff to ensure that the results they receive are what they expect.
Student loses their internet connection and cannot participate within the time frame. Agree within your School in advance how you will deal with this.
An assessment has been scheduled to be available for the wrong time, or for too little time. You can change the settings at any time, but we recommended that you agree within your school or faculty how you will deal with this if it happened. If this is reported after the  start time has passed it may be a question of an appeal to go through the School’s standard process.  See also “Error found in question/answers after assessment made available” at the top of this table.
Blackboard becomes unavailable during the assessment. Agree a back up plan, for example students should send an email to the school student office with their submission attached, and ensure your students and school are aware of this.
A student sees a score or correct answer feedback when they should not. Set the ‘hide from students’ setting for the Grade Centre column and make sure the score is not included in the running total.
A student submitted an assignment just as the deadline passed, and their receipt shows it was late, even though they started submitting before the deadline. Make it clear to students that it is their responsibility to have successfully completed their submission before the deadline, not to have started the submission process before the deadline.  Within your school or faculty you may agree to adapt this, but it is important to have made your approach to this clear to students from the outset.

Marking and giving feedback

To replicate the exams experience it is expected that no feedback will be given to students for the submissions other than a final score which would be delivered via Banner Self Service and the “Marks Release” process.  More information will be placed here shortly.  In the meantime it is important to ensure that marks are hidden from students.

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