Blackboard Tip: Use Adaptive Release to Grant a Deadline Exception

Here’s a neat trick for allowing just one student to re-take or take an exam late. Even better than it just being “neat,” I find it easier than using the exceptions area on Blackboard tests.

If you need to allow just one student access to a test (and all other students don’t see the test), my recommendation is to use adaptive release to allow selective access. To do this, first make the test available in the test options, removing any date restrictions and, if it’s after the due date, make sure you’ve got the “do not allow students to start the Test if the due date has passed” box unchecked.

Then, add a basic adaptive release rule via the item options.

adaptive1Adaptive release rules add condition(s) to accessing Blackboard content. By adding one student — I’m going to pick on Curtis in this example — to the membership area of an adaptive release rule, we’re ensuring that just one student can see the test, even though the test settings show it available to everyone. This is because the adaptive release rule trumps the availability settings.

adaptive2To allow only specific student(s) to access an item, add username(s) to the membership area of the adaptive release rule or click browse to choose from a list. In this example, Curtis is the only one who will see this test because Curtis is the only course member who satisfies the criterion of being Curtis.

Because of this somewhat tricky this-looks-open-but-it’s-not aspect, I don’t usually recommend using adaptive release rules to set date/time availability, but I think it can really come in handy in certain cases. You can always tell if adaptive release is turned on by the “Enabled: Adaptive Release” label under the item name. You can remove the criteria by editing the rule or by going to the advanced adaptive release menu and deleting the whole rule.

How to Browse Adaptive Release Status

Another cool trick is to use the grade center to see who can see what in your course, particularly helpful for checking your work if you plan on using this technique. Just click the menu chevron in the name cell for the student whose access you want to browse, then click on the browse option.

adaptive5Here, you can see side by side that Curtis can see Sample Test, the item with the membership adaptive release rule, but my preview user cannot, as indicated by the eye-with-a-slash icon. (Click to enlarge.)

adaptive6That’s because the test settings are available, but adaptive release dictates that just one user has access.

You could also use this technique to give a group exclusive access to an item. But remember! This is not the way to grant extended time for a quizzes, just a way to give some students access and restrict others.


Alex is online course support technician at IDS, working to support all online, hybrid and LMS-enhanced instructors and students in using Blackboard and several media servers. She's also the administrator for the MCC Blogs network. You can reach her at

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Posted in Blackboard, Blackboard Learn for instructors
2 comments on “Blackboard Tip: Use Adaptive Release to Grant a Deadline Exception
  1. […] setting in mind if you do allow for exceptions — you’ll need to turn it off if you’re allowing just one student to take the exam late, for […]

  2. […] is pretty handy for troubleshooting adaptive release, and for checking your work when you use adaptive release to allow deadline exceptions and the […]

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