Developing test questions is hard work. Students likely have never stopped to think about it, but the task of composing an exam question item bank on any subject is difficult and time-consuming for teachers. Wouldn’t it be great if there was a way that this academic chore could be made easier? Well, there is, and in this blog, I will tell you about it.

Watch the video below to learn more or keep scrolling to read the blog summary. 

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Video Overview:

Exam Creation is Hard Work

Let’s consider how faculty can not only use assessment banks created by third parties such as textbook publishers, but how they can deploy those assessments in a controlled, proctored testing environment.

Faculty love to teach, and they should — they are subject matter experts in their disciplines. But regardless of whether they are experts in astronomy, calculus, biology, or business, the time comes when they need to be able to determine the degree to which their students are mastering the course content. We typically call this “giving a test.” But before the test can be given, it must be created. This is where the problems can arise.

Unless a person is a faculty member in the College of Education and has studied the art and science of authoring effective test questions, they likely are not conversant about matters such as Bloom’s Taxonomy, behavioral learning outcomes, question stems, distractors, and item weighting. So, many faculty members begin the arduous journey of exam creation with scant preparation — mostly relying on their prior experiences as a test taker. This can easily result in ineffective exams that do not adequately measure levels of learning comprehension.

For this reason, many faculty members utilize the valuable resource of an exam item bank created by a third party such as a textbook publisher. These item banks are typically super strong resources that ensure that all learning objectives are met by questions that are appropriately stated with plausible distractors, valid answer choices, and may even be mapped to established content standards.


Third-Party Providers

Textbook publishers such as Cengage, Pearson, and others do a great job of providing professionally produced item banks across the full spectrum of subjects. They invest much time and money in authoring, validating, reviewing, and updating these item banks. In addition to providing the questions and answers, many such providers also provide an assessment engine that can be used to administer the exams to students.

It is at this point that the process can become complicated and technical. Many institutions provide the resource of instructional designers that assist faculty with configuring such technology. One facet of this process that may be unclear to faculty is whether or not, and if so how, they can have these exams proctored. What is the workflow for taking these pre-produced item banks and presenting them to students in a controlled environment?

Intuitive Exam Configuration

This is where SmarterProctoring comes in and simplifies the process for faculty. Whether they are creating their own exam content and delivering it via the assessment engine of the LMS, or if they are using a publisher item bank in a third-party assessment engine, faculty use the same area and workflow in SmarterProctoring to configure both.

If the exam is being provided via a third-party assessment engine, the faculty member simply inserts the Exam URL where prompted as shown in this section of the video below.

SmarterProctoring is also typically capable of securely achieving password insertion in the LMS or other assessment engine. Because there are differences in assessment software, faculty are encouraged to test the exam configuration, including password insertion after setting it up. SmarterProctoring provides step-by-step tutorials that walk faculty through this process in our always available knowledge base.

Authentic Assessments

During the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, many faculty members who were new to teaching online and some schools enterprise-wide shifted to an un-proctored assessment strategy that dominantly utilized forms of authentic assessment such as papers, projects, and portfolios.

One of the reasons for the shift was that the process of creating assessments and deploying them in a controlled environment seemed so difficult and time-consuming. But during the pandemic teachers and students alike recognized that authentic assessment is time-consuming to produce for students, time-consuming to grade for teachers, and its subjectivity is open to bias in grading.

But now, as we are emerging from the impacts of the pandemic, at SmarterProctoring, we are seeing a shift back to more objective question-type tests, many of which use publisher item banks.

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SmarterProctoring Does Not Limit Your Testing Options

One of the benefits of SmarterProctoring is that it can be used to proctor multiple types of exams such as exams written by the faculty member and deployed in the LMSs assessment engine or publisher-created content deployed in an external assessment engine.

Unlike some other proctoring services, we do not force you to use our assessment engine or limit which testing tools you can use. We simply control and monitor the electronic and physical testing environment in which the test is being taken.

Start Working Smarter, Not Harder

If you would like to learn more about how SmarterProctoring can be used to administer any type of exam in a controlled electronic or physical environment, reach out to us for a consultative conversation.

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