Question Pools

Video: “How to Build a Pool of Test Questions

Vendor Documentation: “Questions Pool

Information on this page:

Using Question Pools

Test Questions can be added to Question Pools so they can be archived for multiple uses. Pools act as repository for sets of questions that can be added to a test.  Pools can also be used to store all questions used in a test that randomly selects a sub-set of the pool questions. For instance, you can build a quiz in Blackboard that randomly selects ten (10) questions out of a pool of 100 questions each time a student clicks on the test to take it.

To Create a Question Pool:

  1. On your Course Site, under the Control Panel, click Course Tools, and then click Tests, Surveys, and Pools.
  2. Click Pools, and then click the Build Pool button.
  3. At the initial Pool Information page, fill in the Name field and provide a brief Description about what this pool will contain and any Instructions.
    NOTE: The Description and Instructions fields for a Pool are not visible to students. They are only visible to instructors.
  4. When you are ready to create your pool, click the Submit button at the top, or at the bottom, of this page.  You will then be presented with the Pool Canvas page.

The Pool Canvas

The Pool Canvas allows instructors to add questions to a pool, by either creating new questions, finding questions from other pools or tests, or by uploading new questions.

  1. When the Pool Canvas appears, click the Question Settings button.
  2. Choose any of the desired options for the pool:
  • Select the Feedback options to add comments for all answers
  • Select the Images, Files, and External Links options to add additional content to questions or answers
  • Select the Question Metadata options to add categories and difficulty levels
  • Select the Scoring options to set a default point value or enable partial credit
  • Select the Display options to control the layout of questions and answers
  1. Click Submit to complete the pool settings.

You may add questions to this pool by creating new questions, finding questions from other pools or tests, or by uploading new questions.  The steps for creating a new question are the same as creating a new question in a test.

To find existing questions to add to a pool:

If you want to add a question to a pool that is already created in another pool or a test, follow these steps:

  1. At the Pool Canvas page for your Question Pool, click on Find Questions.  A new window will pop up to search for existing questions in your course site. Note: you may need to disable your pop-up blocker in order to bring up the Find Questions window!


  1. You may modify the criteria in the left column of this window to find questions by changing thePools, Tests, Questions Types, Categories, Topics, Levels of Difficulty and Keywords.  Changing any or all of these criteria will return a different set of questions.
  1. Click on the checkbox next to each question that you want to add to your Question Pool and clickSubmit.  These questions will now be listed on your Pool Canvas page.
  1. You may also choose to add a group of questions from a pool to a test.


To add a pool to a test:

  1. On the Test Canvas page for your test, point to the Reuse Question menu and click on Create Random Block.

Create Random Block


  1. A new window will pop up to search for existing pools in your course site. Click the checkbox next to the Pool to add it to this test, and then choose a Question Type or All Pool Questions.

Question Search


  1. Click Submit to add the pool of questions to your test.   You can manage how many questions from this pool will be included in your test while on the Test Canvas.

Pool Completion


Uploading Questions from Excel

If you want to create your test offline using Microsoft Excel, you can do so by saving the test as a special file and then uploading to Blackboard. Once in Blackboard, the questions can be added to different tests as if they were created using the Blackboard system.

To upload questions from Excel (for full details, please refer to the Blackboard documentation located here):

  1. Open MS Excel and create a blank workbook.   Each row of the worksheet will be a single question. The first column will designate the question type.  See the table below for the abbreviations that should be used for each question type:
  Type of Question  Shorthand Version
  1. Calculated Numeric
  2. Essay
  3. Fill in the Blank
  4. File Response
  5. Multiple Choice
  6. Multiple Answer
  7. True/False
  8. Ordering
  9. Matching
  10. Short Response
  11. Opinion/Likert Scale
  12. Multiple/Fill-in-the-blank
  13. Jumbled Sentence
  14. Quiz Bowl
  1. NUM
  2. ESS
  3. FIB
  4. FIL
  5. MC
  6. MA
  7. TF
  8. ORD
  9. MAT
  10. SR
  11. OP
  12. FIB_PLUS


  1. The second column in your Excel workbook designates the question text.
  2. The third column designates the answer to the question. If you have multiple answers, you will place them in the following columns. Refer to the example below:

Excel workbook

  1. Save the file as a tab-delimited text file, named as: “[TITLE/NAME].txt”.
  1. To upload this file, in the Test Canvas, click on Upload Questions, click the Browse … button to find your .txt file, click the Open button and then click Submit.  You will then be able to preview the questions in Blackboard.



For immediate support:

607 255 9760 (M-F, 9a - 5p ET)

Search Academic Technologies