Please improve the system, so that "Paused" assessments are automatically fixed within minutes and hopefully are improved in the future so that assessments do not become "Paused".

Please fix online Assessments so they DO NOT become "Paused". Our teachers have experienced this in two ways:

Experience 1.) When a student submits a completed online assessment (all questions answered) that shows as completed on the student's end, it sometimes gets stuck in the system going to the teacher and on the teacher's end it shows as incomplete with the allow continue button on the teacher's end. Then after the teacher hits the allow continue button the online assessment becomes paused. When paused the teacher can not see any of the question answers, they all show no answer given. On the gradebook it shows an S for Submitted for this online assessment for this student.

Experience 2.) When a student is in the middle of taking an online assessment and only has half of the questions answered and they get kicked off of the assessment due to internet connection (or some other reason), the online assessment on the teacher's end shows as incomplete with the Allow Continue button. Then when the teacher hits the Allow Continue button sometimes the system shows that online assessment as paused. Since the online assessment is paused the student can not get back into it to finish it.

My understanding of Blackbaud's current attempts at work around solutions are (I apologize if my understanding of this is incorrect):

Blackbaud's current work around solution for Experience 1 above: We have to call Blackbaud, tell them about the issue, and then Blackbaud has the data team see if the completed assessment answers can be recovered. There is not a 100% chance of recovering the answers, which makes this not an acceptable solution. In addition this is not an acceptable solution because this process takes between 1 to 10 days for the Data team to try and recover the answers. This is not an acceptable time frame if report cards have to be printed the next day.

Blackbaud's current work around solution for Experience 2 above: We have to wait until the programming script runs at midnight every night that searches out online assessments paused mid way through and unpauses them letting the student get back into the online assessment the next day. This is not an acceptable solution because some teachers do not want a student to have to wait that long to finish the test since it is unfair to the student to have to wait that long and it creates a possibility for cheating. In addition this is not acceptable since sometimes we have to print report cards the next day before the student has the chance to finish this assessment.

It would be great if the online assessments would just auto save every second so that if an internet connection error occurs there is a saved version the student can go back to. Until these "paused" problems are fixed, so that online assessment never get paused, it makes the online assessments not usable to us. Instead of using Blackbaud's online assessments we are looking into using Google Forms using the Google Form quiz setting with the Extended Forms addon that puts an individual timer for each individual student.

I understand there are multiple reason why an online assessment could become paused. The main cause would be some type of connection interruption while the Student is trying to submit the assessment, like a lost of internet connection, refreshing browser before the assignment has actually submitted, or closing the tab before the assignment has been submitted. The online assessments are a big selling point of the Blackbaud system, they need to work right every time (i.e. no pausing, easily recoverable by teacher quickly, & no data loss). I understand these causes are out of Blackbaud's control, but these online assessments need to be designed in such a way that if any of those things happen it doesn't matter since the online assessments are saved every second, so they can always be recovered by the teacher quickly and then the teacher can let the student back in. Thank you for your help!

  • Ed Hilliard
  • Feb 3 2021
  • Implemented
  • Attach files
  • Admin
    Michael Morrissette commented
    20 Dec, 2022 04:49pm

    Hey Folks -

    We know that this was a pretty painful experience in the old assessment builder. With the new assessment experience we introduced two options to help combat this issue:

    1. There is now an auto-save feature

    2. When a teacher allows continue, the system will no longer force the 'paused' status.

    This update is not retroactive to the old builder, however.

  • Jeanne Townsend commented
    3 Dec, 2021 03:07pm

    Agreed! We are a Microsoft O365 school, and are moving teachers away from the Google platform. As such, we are guiding them to use Assignments and Assessments in our BB Edu Mgmt platform, but these features MUST work properly so that teachers feel confident using them.

    We understand that BB can't control everything, but a periodic save (every 1 second, every 3 seconds, or even every 1 minute), along with the ability to edit the responses until they are submitted, would certainly improve the Assessment function.

    Thank you for tackling this improvement to Assignments and Assessments!

  • Janice Bonczek commented
    17 Sep, 2021 01:05pm

    I agree with this 100%. I work in the IT Department as well as teaching, and even I have trouble with the "paused" assignments. Blackbaud's assessment system needs a huge overhaul.

  • Ed Hilliard commented
    5 Feb, 2021 03:46pm

    I understand that some of the problems that cause an assessment to become paused are out of Blackbauds control. However the quick timeframe a paused assessment is fixed should be within Blackbaud's control.

    The issue in Experience 1 where the current wait time is 1 to 10 days for the completed assessment to find out if it is recoverable is unacceptable for many reasons: We can not always wait that long. For example a makeup assessment given the day before report cards go live. Even if we can wait that long it is not fair to the student if the data is not recoverable, to have to study for the test again, and take it a second time days later when the material is not fresh in their mind. Plus it also gives that student extra study days that the other students did not get. In addition if the data is not recoverable the teacher either has to make a completely new exam which is not fair to the teacher or if it is the same exam it is not fair to the other students because this student will already know what is on the exam to know what to study and thus will have an unfair advantage.

    The issue in Experience 2 where the half finished assessment that gets paused and the student has to wait until the next day to finish it is unacceptable for many reasons: We can not always wait that long. For example a makeup assessment given the day before report cards go live. It is not fair to the student who has to spend an extra night studying. It is not fair to the other student's since that student gets an extra night to study. Plus that student knows what half the questions are already so they can look them up during that extra night of studying, giving them an unfair advantage.

    Due to these concerns all paused assessments need to be automatically fixed by the system within minutes to preserve the integrity of that exam, not give that student an unfair advantage, not give that student more work to do, and to not give that teacher more work to do. I appreciate the help of the development team in this matter. I will be eagerly waiting to hear news from the development team about future improvements Blackbaud will be making to substantially reduce the time it takes to fix a paused assessment.

  • Ed Hilliard commented
    4 Feb, 2021 06:52pm

    I do not think the response "that it is an internet connection issue and thus outside of Blackbaud's control" is an acceptable answer. First of all if the assessment does get "paused" (due to either experience 1 or 2 from initial idea) it should be instantly detected by the system and instantly fixed. Since the system immediately puts paused as the status for the assessment it should immediately know there is an issue and then it should immediately check if it is the issue in experience 1 the system should be able to know it was a completed assessment because the gradebook shows S for submitted and thus should know to immediately start the data recovery process on its own or at least automatically send it to the human data recovery team. Then the system should check if it is the issue in experience 2 since there is no S in the gradebook for submitted the system should assume that student got kicked out part way through the assessment and thus the program/script that runs at midnight to fix experience 2 issues should automatically and instantly be run at that moment without having to wait until midnight.

    I also think there could be more outside the box thought put into a way to have it work even with internet connection errors. Such as having the assessment constantly saving every second like Google Docs do with a warning and procedure if the connection with Blackbauds database is temporarily lost. Such as having the assessment start saving itself to the device it is being taken on so the student can keep taking it, meanwhile it keeps trying to reestablish a connection and once it does it sends what was saved to the local device to the Blackbaud database. If the time allowed to complete the assessment runs out before the connection is reestablished it is just saved (in an encrypted form with teacher name, course name, course section number, student name, assessment name, total time taken, questions & answers saved in the specific order the student took them in even if random order was selected in assessment settings) to the local device that can then be searched for on that local device and then once the internet is working again emailed to a specific Assessments Blackbaud email address that the system atomically receives, processes, and inserts that into that students test results (an automated process so that grades for that assessment can be given as soon as possible).

    Thank you for your help!