Formative Assessments

Note: The administration of formative assessments is set to change significantly in 2017-2018. This page will be updated to reflect the new administration.

About Formative Assessments

Formative assessments are common exams that are administered in formative courses to allow program evaluation early in the programs.

The common exam is developed by senior faculty in the discipline and tests all student learning outcomes of the affected course(s) in the discipline.

The need for formative assessments was identified by ACBSP as part of the 2008 re-affirmation of accreditation review.

Affected Courses

The following courses in the Sorrell College of Business have been identified as formative courses.

After reviewing the general policies and guidelines here, also refer to the guidelines specific to each course by following the links at the top of this page.

Computer-Based Testing Requirement

All assessments are administered using Blackboard. For purposes of data collection and reporting, there can be no exceptions. If a campus or site does not have computer resources available during scheduled class time or the scheduled final exam, arrangements have to be made to administer the exam outside the scheduled time (including Saturdays).

In addition, the use of the Respondus LockDown Browser is required.

Course and Instructor Requirements

Download the Instructor Check Sheet (PDF) to verify that all steps for a successful exam administration have been completed: click here.

Instructors must provide students an opportunity to take a Blackboard exam before the formative assessment to ensure that students have access to Blackboard and are familiar with the user experience.

  • This exam may count towards the final grade, or it may just be a sample exam with no point value in the course.
  • The setup of the exam must reflect the formative exam setup:
    • The exam must be password-protected.
    • The exam must be timed and the time allotted per question must be the same as the time allotted per question for the actual assessment. (See the details for each course to learn about the time allotted for the exam.)
    • Questions should be shown one at a time with backtracking allowed.
    • Set up for the Respondus LockDown Browser.
  • The practice exam should not require a live proctor.

Exam Policies

  • All formative assessments are closed-book, closed-notes.
  • All formative assessments require a LIVE proctor, regardless of course delivery method (eTROY, hybrid or face-to-face). Remote Proctor is not acceptable.
    • If the course is delivered through eTROY, students will need to follow the eTROY proctor guidelines but note that Remote Proctor is not an option.
      Review the Proctored Exam Policy here:
    • For face-to-face classes, the exam may be administered during class time if computers are available at the teaching site. If computers are not available, the exam will have to be rescheduled.
      • Note that exams may have to be scheduled outside of the normal class time to accommodate lab availability.
      • Instructors need to take attendance before the start of the exam and verify that students who were not present did not access the exam.
  • The formative exam must count towards a certain portion of the final grade in the course. 
    This may be different for each discipline, but a minimum of 10% of the final grade is required. The maximum weight is 25%. The actual weight is set by the discipline coordinating committee for the discipline.
    See the detailed instructions for each course on the left.
  • Students will loose points for exceeding the two-hour time limit. The instructor is responsible for calculating and applying the grade penalty.     
    • Blackboard will not automatically submit the exam when the time limit is reached.
    • For eTROY classes, the instructor will receive the unmodified grade and the time taken.

Formative Exam Proctoring Options

Formative exams must be proctored by a live proctor. eTROY students may choose to use one of the following:

  1. ProctorU (click the link for more info on the ProctorU service),
  2. an approved commercial testing center, such as Sylvan/Prometric,
  3. their Education Service Officer ("military base"),
  4. a Troy University site.

In all cases, except perhaps using the ESO, the student will be required to pay for the proctoring service.  Option 1 will charge the student $25 to proctor an exam.  Option 2 will be priced out by the testing center.  Option 3 will be priced out at the discretion of the Education Service Officer. Option 4 will charge the student $25.

Assessment Administration

In order to deliver the common assessment efficiently and provide the ability for centralized reporting of grades, the following process has been adopted.

All Course Delivery Methods

  • For each formative course section, a secondary Blackboard course shell, the Assessment Course Shell, will be created automatically.
    • Students will be enrolled in the Assessment Course Shell automatically.
    • Instructors will not be enrolled in the Assessment Course Shell.
  • The exam will only be available for a limited time each term/semeter. The schedule is published on this page (below).
    If the scheduled exam period for the formative assessment falls outside the time that the exam will be available, the instructor of the course needs to contact the SCOB Web/Technology Specialist with justification to change the schedule. Approval from the department chair or Dean may be required to change a published exam date.
  • If a student experiences a technical issue during the exam (such as a computer crash or loss of Internet connectivity), the student can restart the computer or use another computer and continue the exam from the last submitted question. The timer starts running as soon as the exam is entered and will not stop, even if there is a technical problem.

Face-to-Face and Hybrid Sections, including V-Tel

  • Each term/semester, Instructors will be provided with the time period of the formative assessment and the password of the exam.
    This will be in the form of an e-mail from the Sorrell College of Business Web/Technology Specialist (Sven Aelterman).
    Instructors may also view the schedule below.
  • The instructor must record the exam grade for each student after the student submits the exam. Instructors in face-to-face and hybrid sections will not receive grade reports.
    Instructors must record the scores to ensure that the student successfully completed the exam (an unfinished exam will not show a score) and to take attendance at the same time. If a student has already logged out from Blackboard, instruct the student to re-enter Blackboard and go to My Grades (from the eTROY page, not within a specific course shell).

Online (eTROY) Sections

  • Instructors in eTROY sections will not be provided with the password. Instead, the password will be communicated to the proctors using the eTROY proctor workflow.
  • Proctors for eTROY sections are required to record the students' grade to ensure that the exam was submitted to Blackboard.
    An exam that has not been submitted will show the grade as "In Progress" instead of a number grade.
  • After students take the exam, the grades will be reported to the instructor. This will occur on regular intervals starting on the second exam day and through the day grades are due.
  • The instructor is responsible for integrating the grades in the primary course shell's Grade Center, if desired. 
    Instructions for importing grades into your Blackboard course shell are available here.

Exam Availability Schedule

Effective 16/T3, there are no date restrictions on formative exams.

Incomplete Grade Policy for Formative Courses

There is no change to the policy on issuing incompletes - at least 50% of the course must be completed and the student must be passing at the time the incomplete is issued (catalog reference).

  • For eTROY sections, the student is expected to use the same proctor as originally indicated. If the student is unable to use the same proctor, the student must contact Tammy English at eTROY and provide information for the new proctor.
  • For face-to-face sections, the instructor is expected to be the proctor.

Contact Info

Technical Questions

Contact Sven Aelterman, SCOB Director of IT. See for details.

Procedural/Administrative Questions

Please contact the Associate Chair of the Division that manages the course discipline. For contact information, see the links above for each course.

Last Updated: 7/18/2017