Item banks and on-demand tests

The aim of this chapter is to provide an overview of the fundamental principles of item banking. Item banking is a means to producing better questions (or items) and question papers (or tests) through the use of up to date statistical information about how tests and items perform when sat by candidates. The use of this alternative to the conventional process of question paper setting can also improve the efficiency of the production of examination materials; provide for the controlled re-use of questions (or items); and, lead to a reduction in the time between candidates sitting an examination (or test) and receiving their results. Item banking can be used to support new models of assessment that begin to move away from offering one or two examinations per year on fixed dates. The destination of such a journey is on-demand testing which offers the ultimate in flexibility and speed. This chapter discusses the differences between the conventional test-led approach to question paper setting and the item-led approach that item banking is able to facilitate.

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