White Paper: Five Steps to Better Tests

May 2013

There is always something more to learn about how to create assessments that measure what you really want to measure.  We're pleased to offer some help with this in the form of a new white paper that will help you create better tests more efficiently. We hope you will enjoy the paper and share it with your colleagues.


Kind regards,

Joan Phaup, Editor 

This issue of Questionmark News includes:

  1. White Paper: Five Steps to Better Tests
  2. Webinar: Learn to Write High-Complexity Items for Performance-based Tests
  3. Questionmark Users to Meet in San Antonio March 4 - 7, 2014
  4. Harvard Researchers Say Tests Help Online Learners Stay On Task
  5. Learning Cafe Videos Make Learning Easy
  6. Tech Tip: Importing Existing Items into Questionmark Live

White Paper: Five Steps to Better Tests

Effective tests require considerable planning well before the questions are written.

Our newest white paper offers good practice guidance for five key stages of test deployment, which will help you save time and effort while producing tests that provide meaningful, actionable results.

The paper by Questionmark Product Owner Doug Peterson will walk you through these essential steps:

  1. Planning the test -- important issues to consider before you begin writing any questions
  2. Creating the test items -- including tips on how to avoid bias and stereotypes 
  3. Creating the test form -- including developing instructions and setting passing scores 
  4. Delivering the test -- with an eye to secure delivery and controlling item exposure 
  5. Evaluating the test -- examining item-level and test-level data to improve the quality of an assessment

Download the paper with our compliments 


Webinar: Learn to Write High-Complexity Items for Performance-based Tests

Creating test items that check someone’s ability to apply knowledge — rather just recall what they have learned — presents special challenges.

These challenges will be addressed during a one-hour Questionmark Customers Online Webinar at 1 p.m. Eastern Time on Thursday, June 6.

James Parry, E-Testing Manager at the U.S. Coast Guard Training Center in Yorktown, Virginia, will discuss the value of high-complexity test items, explain what makes these questions different from others and offer tips on how to write them well.

Here’s what you can expect to learn about during this free, one-hour webinar:

  • Differences between knowledge testing and performance testing
  • Definitions and comparisons of low-, moderate- and high-complexity test items
  • How performance-based tests relate to Bloom’s Taxonomy and Gagne’s Nine Events of Instruction
  • How to match the complexity of test items to the desired level of cognitive performance
  • Tips for ensuring the quality of high-complexity test items

Register for this and other webinars


Questionmark Users to Meet in San Antonio March 4 - 7, 2014

Building on the success of this year’s Questionmark Users Conference, we are already planning for 2014.

We look forward to seeing customers at the Grand Hyatt San Antonio, on the city’s famous Riverwalk, from March 4 to 7 next year.

Here’s some of the feedback we’ve received from people who joined us in Baltimore several weeks ago:

  • “The conference was absolutely awesome. I can’t tell you how much I’ve already implemented with our assessment process.”
  • “It’s a fantastic place to learn about what other customers are using Questionmark for and bouncing ideas off them.”
  • “The networking was great! I left the conference feeling like a member of the Questionmark family.”
  • “Not going to the conference would be a huge missed opportunity.”
  • “Outstanding!”

Bookmark the conference web page and stay tuned for future announcements


Harvard Researchers Say Tests Help Online Learners Stay On Task

Online courses offer a flexible and increasingly popular way for people to learn. But what about the many distractions that can cause someone's mind to wander off the subject at hand?

According to a team of Harvard University researchers, administering short tests to learners watching video lectures can decrease mind-wandering, increase note-taking and improve retention.

Interpolated memory tests reduce mind wandering and improve learning of online lectures, a paper by Harvard Postdoctoral Fellow Karl K. Szpunar, Research Assistant Novall Y. Khan and Psychology Professor Daniel L. Schacter, was published last month in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) in the U.S.

This team's research seems to indicate that including tests or quizzes could make online courses more successful. So whatever types of information you are presenting online – whether it’s a lecture, an illustration or text, you can help students stay focused by embedding assessments right on the same page as your learning materials.

Learn more about this research


Learning Cafe Videos Make Learning Easy

The Questionmark Learning Cafe is the place to go for quick tutorials on best practices and the use of Questionmark technologies.

Take a few minutes and choose a video on these and many other subjects:

  • Assessments through the Learning Process
  • Configuring a SharePoint site to Embed Questionmark Perception
  • Questionmark's Moodle Connector
  • Delivering and Reporting on Observational Assessments
  • How to use the eQuation formula editor in Questionmark Live
  • How to use the Questionmark iPhone App

There's more where these came from: Check out the Learning Cafe

Tech Tip: Importing Existing Items into Questionmark Live

Questionmark Live browser-based authoring makes it easy to create new questions, but it is also easy to import questions you already have.

  • Once you have clicked "Import Questions" in the Questions tab, click "Browse" and navigate to the file you want to import from your own computer or a network storage device.
  • Click "Open" once you have identified your file, and it will upload to the Questionmark Liver server. Enter a Title and Description for the new Question Set, then click "OK."
  • Share, revise and finalize your imported questions just as you would those you have created within Questionmark Live. 

Questionmark Software Support Plan customers will find more details, including a list of supported file formats, in the following Knowledge Base article:

How has the question import uploader changed?