Blackboard Quick Tip: Avoid ‘Prohibit Backtracking’ on Test Options (UPDATED)

Tests with the “prohibit backtracking” option selected may cause students to encounter an error and lose their work. Instructors should not enable “prohibit backtracking,” or turn it off if it’s already enabled.

If a test is set to display only one question at a time and also set to Prohibit Backtracking, students advancing without clicking “save answer” may encounter an error like this:


After clicking OK, the error message will clear and the test will have advanced to the next question without saving the last answer entered.

To prevent students from possibly losing an answer they entered by forgetting to click Save Answer, we recommend not using the Prohibit Backtracking option.


When this option is not being used, the following message is displayed above and below each question:


So not only are answers not lost, but it is not necessary to click “Save Answer” at all.

UPDATE, 10/6/14:

There’s a little quirk to turning this off — we’ve discovered the option checkboxes for “one at a time” and “prohibit backtracking” may appear right next to each other when viewed in Firefox or IE.

backtrack1If you see this, just click the round radio button for one at a time and not the square checkbox for prohibit backtracking. (Or use all at once for test presentation, if that works for you.)

This option appears correctly — with one at a time appearing above prohibit backtracking — in Chrome.

backtrack2UPDATE, 10/8/14:

After Blackboard server maintenance (including the cumulative update 2 to the Blackboard 9.1 Service Pack 14), we now believe that this issue is resolved.


Instructional Design Services at Metropolitan Community College in Omaha, Neb. Visit our department resource site.

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Posted in Blackboard, Blackboard Learn for instructors
2 comments on “Blackboard Quick Tip: Avoid ‘Prohibit Backtracking’ on Test Options (UPDATED)
  1. […] prohibit backtracking, this setting won’t “break” Blackboard, but it’s tricky, easy to mess up […]

  2. […] Configure availability (including what not to do in test options) […]

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