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What to Consider When Evaluating Item-Banking Systems

February 2, 2017  | By  | 1 Comment

One of the most important decisions a credentialing organization will make is the selection of an item-banking system for its most valuable asset – its assessment content. Should a proprietary software solution be developed? Should the organization use whatever item-banking system their psychometric vendor is selling? Or should an off- the-shelf item-banking system be purchased?

Taking time for careful consideration of the specific requirements needed to support the desired test development functions will prove to be a well spent resource. Two key considerations are 1) test content – what types of test questions are to be developed now and in the future and 2) process flow – what is the process to be used (or desired to be used) to develop and maintain test questions?

Item type may be a primary consideration for any organization utilizing technology-enhanced items (TEIs), or innovative items, as many item-banking systems are built to only handle multiple choice, multiple response, and true/false items.  A smaller but growing number of item-banking systems can store a variety of digital audio, image and video media file formats or maintain hotspot or drag and drop item types.  For an organization that plans to use TEIs, the first question they may ask is what item types can be authored, stored and managed in the item-banking system.

In terms of test development process improvement, some item-banking systems support integrated workflow for item-development enabling subject matter experts (SMEs) to access the system remotely for purposes of writing, editing, review or completion of other assigned tasks in a collaborative environment.  Other systems do not have these features, however, a system with an integrated workflow may not be something an organization is interested in using if, for example, they prefer to write and review questions during face-to-face meetings.

For a more detailed list of the questions organizations should ask in vetting item-banking systems, see Evaluating Item-Banking Systems: What to Consider and Why.

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