Computer-based testing or test bank is considered the most standardized and objective method of monitoring and evaluating learning outcomes.
A test bank essentially is a ready-made electronic testing resource that instructors can customize for their teaching. Test bank primarily attempts to provide various questions in different objective formats (recall, recognition, compare/contrast, critical thinking, essay) as students vary in how they can best demonstrate that they have learned the material.
In this blog, we explore test banks, how to program test banks, their benefits, why educational institutes should outsource their test bank conversion, and the process of converting test banks to different LMS formats.
What is a Test Bank?
As prepackaged online resources meant for instructors creating tests and sometimes given through educational institutions, these online test banks are quite attractive. They are often created by the same publisher that produced the corresponding textbook for the particular course and thus, revolve around the main topics of that individual textbook.
What Does a Test Bank Include?
The test banks offer a diverse selection of questions that are usually tailored to the contents of an individual textbook. Further, they also include feedback on a specific answer given by students themselves and exact page references to the textbook.
Questions in a test bank can be of any of the following types:
- Multiple choice and multiple responses
- Fill in the blanks
- Essays/short answers
Since test banks cater to a wide range of users, they are available in multiple LMS formats. Besides, they are also password-protected to ensure privacy and give access only to the instructors.
Why Should Educational Institutions Outsource Test Bank Conversion?
Test bank or computer-based testing offers multiple advantages to online learners and instructors, largely in terms of grading, administration, and scale. There are various test bank formats available.
For instance, if the file is .zip, these are typically the old QTI formats and work only in the Canvas environment (can be added in Canvas via import as course content, courses settings, and select the option for QTI zip file). Since many of the titles of the resources have either ExamView, Respondus, and/or ParTest formats available, you can ask vendors about those as they work in most LMSs.
In the case of new titles, the option of test bank download is typically available in the IMSCC format, which would require an IMSCC file converter. IMSCC is primarily a data interchange file used mainly by Canvas. Unlike the .zip file, the IMSCC format works in most of the LMSs and would be imported as course content. The problem here is that you cannot easily tell which format is available without downloading them to see what works in major LMSs.
This is where outsourcing of test bank conversion comes in.
There is a wide range of assessment tools for learning systems available in the market, including ExamView, Respondus, EZTest, and more. They help develop assessment applications for the eLearning market that many educational institutions across the globe use. These applications are powerful tools for creating and managing test banks published directly to Brightspace, Canvas, Moodle, and IMS QTI format. They are particularly useful for educational institutes looking to switch over to test banks.
Further, implementing this assessment software helps everyone involved in the assessment process, including students, for whom it fully streamlines the assessment process. On the contrary, teachers can leverage it to reduce the time taken for them to create exams. Once delivered and the results are collected, teachers can use various analytical tools built into the application to better understand performance and individual students.
Process of Converting Your Test Bank to Different LMS Formats
Here is the stepwise procedure for converting your test bank to a different LMS format:
- Receive the input test bank file from a client in Word format.
- Before beginning the test bank conversion process, format the input Word files to make them ready for import into applications such as Respodus, EZTest, and ExamView based on the client’s requirements.
- Once done, import the formatted Word files into the Respondus, EZTest, and ExamView applications based on the client’s requirement.
- In the next step, you can generate ten different types of LMS output files from Respodus, EZTest, and ExamView applications as listed below:
- Moodle XML
- D2L Brightspace
- IMS QTI
Here is an example of how you can export a test bank for WebCT-
- Create or open a test bank in ExamView Test Generator.
- Click on File from the menu bar, go over Export, and select WebCT CE 6/ Vista 4.
- Set the location where you want to save the exported file, enter your file name, and save.
- Complete the export dialog option by entering a category name for the content. WebCT typically uses the category name to perform operations In various groups of questions (e.g., view all/delete all questions in a category).
- Select the formatting options depending on the type of formatting required by the questions in your test bank.
- Click OK to export your test bank.
Once done, the following LMS exports can be generated using various applications as listed below-
EZTest test banks application
Respodus test banks application
- Moodle XML
- D2L Brightspace
- IMS QTY
ExamView test banks application
Review the output files in their respective LMS and deliver the final output file to the client.
For educational institutions, the most common method of distributing test banks is by converting them to different LMS formats. The test bank software mentioned above for conversion offer the easiest and most secure way for an instructor to obtain a publisher test bank over the Internet.
Publishers generally offer the instructor a code and password for the test bank. The instructor can select the valid option within the given application and follow the on-screen instructions to register and access the test bank. The instructor and educational institutions can then select questions from the test bank and publish the exam to an online course in a few minutes.
Further, the publisher can also distribute the test bank directly to instructors in a file format compatible with the given assessment tool or applications. The instructor can save the file to their system, browse it in the given application and then open it using the code and password. The test bank can then be extracted, decrypted, and restored to the projects folder in the chosen application.
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