Setting up a Brightspace Assignment for an exam

Setting up a Brightspace Assignment for an exam

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  1. Brightspace assignments can be used to distribute exams over your students, either as a whole exam, or -to diminish possibilities to exchange information on exam questions- per large question (max 2-4 timeslots). Students download the exam, create answers in a text editor (for example Word) or with pen and paper on blank sheets, and upload the result to Brightspace before the deadline (due date).
  2. If your exam will be split in multiple consecutive timeslots, you will need to create multiple Brightspace quizzes, each with their own score.
    Create a ‘category’ that will contain the grade based on the scores of the individual quizzes.
  3. Your teaching assistants have access to assignments and quizzes. If your faculty, programme or Board of Examiners does not allow TAs to have access to assignments or quizzes before or after the exam, you will have to change their status to ‘student’. It is not possible to deny student assistants from Brightspace Support access to Brightspace Quizzes or Brightspace Assignments.
  4. The list of students who registered for the exam does not always match the list of students enrolled in your Brightspace course. As a result, students who did register but were not enrolled in Brightspace (e.g. students who failed the course last year), may miss official announcements on the exam. Therefore, make sure to enroll all students who registered for the exam in Brightspace and resend them important information on the exam, if needed.
    Officially, students need to register for an exam in order to be allowed to take the exam. That way, the exam desk will check if students meet the requirements to be allowed to take the exam (e.g. passed previous tests or courses, enrolled in the programme, etc.). Furthermore, registration allows you, as the lecturer, enough time to adapt fraud prevention measures to the number of students participating (more students, more versions for example), prepare the settings of the exam for the individual students, and arrange extra correctors if needed to grade the exam before the deadline (10 or 15 working days after the exam date).
  5. You can split up your exam in 2-4 parts, that students have to take one by one in consecutive time slots.
  6. You can assign (slightly) different assignments for different groups, using release conditions.
  7. You can change the group composition per time slot to prevent students from identifying who is working on the same questions and hence reducing fraud risks. For example: Question has four versions. q1v1 is for the q1v1 group, which contains different students than the q2v1 group.

Communicate at least the following:

  1. Communicate at least the following: That students need to register for the exam and enroll in the applicable Brightspace course.
  2. What learning objectives and subjects (reading) material the exam will and will not cover.
  3. Where they can find practice questions and answers that are exemplary for the exam questions (for example last year’s exam and model answer).
  4. When a practice test will take place or where the students can find one.
  5. What books / programs / mobile phone with camera / calculator you expect them to have available for completing the exam. Make sure to instruct students to prepare clean sheets of paper to write on during the exam.
  6. Information on the honor pledge: what does it contain and what are the consequences of committing fraud.
  7. What the exact procedure and used tools of the exam will be:
    1. What time will the exam be made available?
    2. If applicable: how many time slots the exam will consist of?
    3. What time(s) students need to hand in what type of document?
    4. In case of handwritten texts, indicate that students are asked to have a working scanning app available during the exam, which produces an acceptable file size (not too large to prevent delays due to uploading). You can provide an example of a mobile scanning app to transform pictures of their work into a single pdf with their mobile telephone. They could also use a scanner. Ask students to number the sheets and check if each page contains the subquestion number (in case the order of the pages gets mixed up in the pdf).
      If you prefer to do the scoring anonymously (to diminish bias) and online, ask the students to not write their name on the sheets. On the other hand, if you plan to print all assignments and score the exams on paper, then do ask students to provide their name and student number on each paper.
    5. What the timing and procedure will look like for students with extra time (how-to’s can be found here in this document). That the students need to keep track of time themselves. What will happen if the quiz is submitted after the deadline (you will only consider the documents that were submitted before the deadline).
    6. How and when you will make the answers and feedback available to the students.
  1. Create the assignment: Go to Assignments (1) and choose New Assignment (2).

  2. Add an assignment Name (1), Instructions (2), the assignment file as Attachment (3). Choose Individual assignment under Assignment type (4).

To find out how to distribute different exam versions, click here.

Before you create a grade item, it is useful to walk through the gradebook settings for the grades of your whole course. For example, to decide how you want the final grade to be calculated: formula or weighed. You can use the setup grade wizard for this.

  1. Create a new grade item by clicking Grades (1) → Manage Grades (2) → New (3) → Item (4).
  2. Choose ‘Numeric’ grade item type.
  3. Enter the following settings:
    Category Setting Value Needs changes?
    Type numeric change
    Properties Name Same as exam name change
    Short name Abbreviation for exam name (will be the column name in grade center) change
    Category Optional: add if, for example, multiple assignments result in 1 averaged assignment grade, which in turn contributes to the final grade. Brightspace can calculate the average for the category.  change
    Also use this if you have multiple versions of a Brightspace Assignment (exam question) and need to sum the scores (some will be 0) for all versions.
    Description Optional
    Allow users to view grade item description Optional checkbox
    Grading Maximum points 10 (maximum grade value) change
    Can exceed Do not check
    Bonus Do not check
    Exclude from final grade calculation Do not check
    Grade scheme ‘Round off at 0,1′ (if the exam is the only grade contributing to the final grade, set to ’round off at 0,5′) change
    Restrictions Hide from users Check, until you have graded all exams, did the test result analysis and are ready to publish the exam results. change


In case there are multiple versions of for example question 1, for group categories 1, 2 and 3, we advise you to hide the grades for question q1v1, q1v2 and q1v3, and create a new grade item (e.g. exam_q1) where you add the scores for all 3 versions of question 1.

Category Setting Value Needs changes?
Submission, completion and categorization Assignment type Individual assignment
Submission type File submission
Files allowed per submission Unlimited
Submissions All submissions are kept
Notification email
Category No Category optional
Evaluation and feedback Score out of 10 (or other number if there are multiple assignments and you wish to add the scores, instead of weight grades) change
Grade item Choose the corresponding grade item, which you created in the previous step. change
Student view preview NA
Rubrics If you want, you can add a rubric which can function as an answer model for the exam. Cannot be changed once you start grading. Click here for an example and a link to how-to in point 6. optional, useful!
Default scoring rubric If applicable, select the rubric from the previous setting here. optional
Anonymous marking Check ‘Hide student names during assessment’ to reduce bias. change
Annotation tools Check ‘Make annotation tools available for assessment’ change

Make the exam available during the correct time window(s) to the correct students:

  1. Click the Restrictions tab (1).
  2. Make sure that Hide from users is checked (2).
  3. Add a Due Date and time, for example 10:30 (3, the submission deadline for standard students)
  4. Add a Start Date and time, for example 9:00 (4)
  5. Add an End Date, for example, 13:00, after the end of all exam parts. Make sure that this time is later than the official due time, so students with a delay (for example caused by technical problems) have finished the exam as well.
  6. Add which students are allowed to access the exam by adding release conditions.
    Once a user meets a release condition, the condition is cleared for that user and cannot be reset. For example, if you attach a release condition to an assignment requiring users to achieve more than 60% on a quiz before they can access that topic, and one of your participants receives 72% on the quiz but you adjust their grade to 55% they will be able to access the topic because they did meet the requirement at some point.
  7. Tick that some students are allowed to hand in their assignment late (because they are entitled to extra time) under Special Access. Add which students are entitled to extra time and set their extra time.
    During the exam, in case of technical issues, you can grant extra time to students with technical issues here. In case of large problems, you can change the general due / end dates.
  8. Save the assignment.

To find out how to distribute different exam versions, click here.

You can check student work for plagiarism in case students type their exams in a text editor (Word, Open Office), resulting in .docx, .pdf or .txt file extensions. This is not an option for hand-written assignments.

  1. Go to the Turnitin tab (1):
  2. Check Enable GradeMark for this folder.
  3. Check Enable Originality Check for this folder.
  4. Do not Check Allow learners to see Turnitin similarity scores in their submission folder.
  5. Keep frequency at Automatic originality checking on all submissions.
  6. If you want, you can have a look at More Options in Turnitin.
    Some options are focused on grading in Turnitin. Lecturers who previously tried to grade in Turnitin reported unacceptably slow responses of the tool, probably due to the extra layers that need to be loaded. Grading in Brightspace Assignments (see below) is allegedly much faster and the possibilities are more or less similar (several annotation methods, use of rubrics).

Check whether the list of students who registered for the exam contains students who are all enrolled in Brightspace. If not, enroll the missing students now in Brightspace. An exam ticket gives students the right to participate in an exam. Some students who are enrolled in your course are not registered for the exam. It depends on the programme your course is part of whether it is okay or not to give these unregistered students access to the exam. Ask your programme director in case of unclarity.

Prepare and fill a group for ‘regular students’ (who registered for the exam) and a group for ‘extra time students’ and use that for the restriction tab as a condition to get access to the Brightspace Assignment. 

Run a test with the entire exam with a colleague or student assistant, to spot and fix issues. You can change the timing. Use your sandbox to do this. 

It is advised to create a practice exam for students, in which they (and you) practice the process and can test their equipment and software.

During the exam, you want students to be able to ask questions about that one question that was open for multiple interpretations, that you did not see coming, even though you had your colleagues peer review your exams. There is no perfect communication platform available for this yet. You are suggested to either use email (and inform your students beforehand that they can reach you by email) and/or Brightspace Discussion Boards.

  • Email: Especially in large groups, use a shared mailbox that you and your course team can access. That way, you can handle questions from multiple students at the same time.
  • Brightspace Discussion Board: You and your students need to press ‘refresh’ to see new posts).
  • Telephone: In case of very emergencies, you could share your TU Delft telephone number with your students.
  • Conference tools: You could try to set up a call in which you disable the chat between participants, allow students to enter break-out rooms to ask you/colleagues individual questions via chat or microphone, and, if necessary, you can communicate information to the group in the main room (one-way only).

Click here to learn more about how you can write feedback on the students’ exam in Brightspace. You can add text, or use a table to add hand-written text to the students’ pdf.

In case you are working with typed answers and you are using TurnItIn, go over the similarity reports to check for overlap with other student’s work. Reminder: Lecturers who previously tried to grade in Turnitin reported unacceptably slow responses of the tool. Grading in Brightspace Assignments (see here) is allegedly more grader-friendly.
Click here to learn more about how to develop Brightspace rubrics and see the example below how you can use them to grade exam.

You can use a test result analysis to analyze if there are indications to adjust the answer model. See the reader for UTQ ASSESS for more information.

After scoring all individual exams, and doing a test result analysis, you can publish the exam results and annotated exams. Make sure to make the grade visible, so that students can access their grade. Publish an announcement, including the procedure to ask questions and/or discuss issues in the grading and/or file complaints.
Students can find their annotated exams under the ‘assignment’ tab at the top of the Brightspace page.

Distributing different exam versions

Sometimes you want to split your class into two or more groups and give each group a different version of the exam. If you use Brightspace Assignments there are 3 ways to do this. Also, there are some generals things to take in account. Please read them below.

The easiest way to distribute different versions of exams is to make groups for those different versions. After you have made the groups, you make an assignment for each version and then use the release conditions of the assignments to make sure each assignment is released to only one group.

Pros and Cons

  • Pro: Simple/quick.
  • Pro: Easy to download all submissions at once.
  • Con: Students can see which other students have their version (are in their group).
  • Con: Students have to be pre-divided into groups using the group tool.
  • Con: Maximum of 200 members per group.

Follow the steps below to use this method:

  1. Create the groups, as specified on this page.
  2. Create an assignment, as specified here.
  3. Go to the Restrictions tab, and click create and attach in the section release conditions.
  4. Select Group enrollment and the group you would like to assign the exam version to.

A slightly more advanced way of distributing different versions of exams is by creating different group categories per exam version, and within these categories make one group per student. After you have made the groups, you make an assignment for each version and then use the release conditions of the assignments to make sure each assignments is released to only one category.

Pros and Cons

  • Pro: Relatively simple and relatively quick.
  • Pro: Easy to download all submissions at once.
  • Pro: Students cannot see who else is in their Group.
  • Con: It is slightly more work than using groups.
  • Con: Students can see in which category they are and ask other students if they are in the same category.
  • Con: Students have to be pre-divided into groups using the group tool.
  • Con: Maximum of 200 groups per category.

Follow the steps below to use this method:

  1. In the Groups tool, create a set of new categories, one for each exam version.
  2. The most convenient way to set up the groups is by using the group import/export tool:
    1. Download the classlist.
    2. Assign each student to a version of the exam (one of the categories you made).
    3. Assign each student to a unique group.
    4. Convert to the right format (see link).
    5. Import the groups.
  3. Create an assignment (for each version a distinct assignment), as specified here.
  4. Go to the Restrictions tab, and click create and attach in the section release conditions.
  5. Select Group enrollment and the category you would like to assign the exam version to.

If you do not want students to see the group to which they belong, you can use this work-around. First, create a grade item that you set to be hidden. Then, give the students a grade for this Grade Item – the grade represents the version of the exam that the students get. Once you have inserted the grades, create an assignment for each version, then use the release conditions of the assignments to make sure each assignment is released to students that have a certain grade on a certain grade item.

Pros and Cons

  • Pro: Students cannot see which other students have their version.
  • Pro: It is easy to download all submissions at once.
  • Con: Not very logical and straightforward to set up.
  • Con: The hidden grades cannot be changed before and during the exam (see note).
Make sure that the grades are not changed after the release condition is set, before or during the exam. When you need to change grades in the hidden grade items: delete the release conditions and make new ones. If a student has met a certain release condition once, he/she will keep the rights to see the assignment linked to these release conditions; even if the grade has changed afterwards.
Do not ‘recycle’ hidden grade items.

Follow the steps below to use this method:

This is a work-around, so it is not all that logical and straightforward. If you need help, please contact Brightspace Support.
  1. Create a Grade item (see above, name it for example ‘versions_timeslot_1’) using the following settings:
    • Grade Item Type: Numeric value
    • Maximum Point: 100
    • Weight: 0
    • Grading Scheme: Percentage
    • Hide from users: Selected (!)
  2. Add versions (grades) manually or by using Import and Export functionality. The grade you enter is the Version of the Exam that the student will receive.
  3. Create and Attach a Release Condition with the following settings:
    • Condition type: Grade value on grade item
    • Grade item: hidden grade item that you just created
    • Criteria: Between
    • Grade: Version number twice (for example: between 1 and 1 for version 1; between 2 and 2 for version 2).

    The result will look like this:

  4. Repeat in case you have multiple time slots and would like to have different group compositions for each timeslot (for example: Item 01 and Item 02).

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