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In this blog piece we are going to explore what is QuestionBank and why it can play a pivotal role in raising your exam standards.

Over the years, you’ll build up a bank of hundreds, even thousands of questions that you return to whenever you create a new exam. QuestionBank allows you to keeps all these exam questions in one accessible location. BUT don’t be mistaken – it is so much more than just a storing vault.

QuestionBank is in fact at the heart of the Speedwell assessment system. It allows you to design, build, manage and analyse the performance of every single exam question, providing key insights to make changes, raise the standards and run more effective assessments.

So how does it work?

Quite simply you import (or simply copy and paste) existing question libraries into the item banking software or you can create new questions. Each question can then be given a status, category, sub category or keyword for easy retrieval. You can also link and group them based on a particular curriculum, syllabus or learning outcome for example.

A new exam can then easily and quickly be compiled either manually or by using automated statistical searches and then refining your selection. This is where the Blueprinting tool comes into its own, ensuring the relevant areas of the syllabus are covered fairly. Blueprinting allows papers to be constructed by setting up templates which use a set of pre-defined rules to select questions, and therefore ensure appropriate content and difficulty. For example a simple search could be: include one question from each subject that hasn’t been used in the last 2 years, has a medium range facility value and good discrimination. It’s that simple and quality exam papers can be produced in a matter of minutes!

The next step is analysis and reporting. Once the examination results have been gathered, whether electronically or manually, the data can be inputted into QuestionBank providing you with immediate and in-depth statistical analysis. You can then decide how you want to display the statistics (graphically or numerically) and use that information to produce clear, concise, conclusive reports – quickly.

This information can then change the face of all your future exams. It can for example highlight a question that is, unwittingly, poorly worded and leading to skewed responses. It can detect whether a question is too easy or difficult. It can even highlight the performance of the individual responsible for writing one set of questions versus another.

What else can it do?

Well, QuestionBank will save you considerable time and stress – no more unwieldy Word documents or unreliable systems. While giving you confidence in the quality and validity of your assessments. In addition, it has an intuitive design which makes it easy to use and supports all kinds of exams – multi-choice, short written answers, OSCES, observational assessments and more.

It also has some really neat practical functions:

  • A complete history of the question i.e. when the question was changed, by who and when.
  • Text, images and related material can all be attached to the question, for example any material required for a practical exam.
  • Style templates for more professional looking exams, while images can easily be added and scaled to size.
  • Automatic re-numbering of the questions (and answers) if a question is moved, deleted or added.
  • And so much more.

In summary, QuestionBank builds up a detailed performance history of all the question on the QuestionBank item banking system giving you the power to interrogate the performance of every question and weed out the ones that aren’t working. This in turn will enable you to drive up quality, ensuring each and every exam offers the right content and the appropriate degree of difficulty. All this while saving you time, money and effort … what’s not to like?

Published 23rd October, 2014