Appendix A – Importing Items from FastTest 2.0

Table of Contents

 

The Word XML import format is for users who simply have item texts in a document, and no other information (statistics, etc.) that they need to upload. The tagged (@@) format is for users who have items in document format, but also have additional information such as statistics to upload. If you already have items in the PC version of FastTest, FastTest 2.0, you do not need to use either of these methods. Instead, you can export items from the PC version to an RTF file, which will then be immediately imported into FastTest. This Appendix provides detailed instructions regarding this process, called the “PC Export Format.”

  1. Create a new test in FastTest 2.0 with a name to describe what you are exporting, like “Math Bank Test”
  2. Go search for items you need; continuing the example, searching a Math folder (including subfolders) with a P of 0 to 1 (which should be everything in your bank)
  3. Select that entire list (click the first item in the list, hold down SHIFT, and click the last item) and add it to the test by clicking the green + button
  4. Export the test using the “Print/Save Selected Fields For Test” command in the Tests drop-down menu
  5. Open the resulting RTF file, insert a space somewhere or make another single superficial change, and then save again. Word must “normalize” the file by saving it.
  6. Import that file to FastTest

The file exported by FastTest 2.0 is an RTF file that contains a table of all the fields you exported.

Appendix B – Importing Items as Word XML

Table of Contents

 

The Word XML import format is for users who simply have item texts in a document, and no other information (statistics, etc.) that they need to upload. Besides regular text, this method will recognize and import the following, which is the primary advantage of this method:

  • Images: bmp, png, jpeg, and gif formats (also recognizes math equations)
  • Rich text: font color, font family, font size, bolding, italic, and underline
  • Objects: basic text box, paragraph separation, and tables.

Importing items with this method is comprised of five easy steps.

  1. Finalize format (eliminate Word-specific objects)
  2. Insert page breaks
  3. Format answers
  4. Save as Word 2003 XML file
  5. Import into FastTest

Step 1: Finalize format

Before uploading, you must first ensure that the content of your document is in a format recognized by Word 2003 XML and FastTest. There are three things to check: Word-specific objects, Autonumbering (including automatic ABCD lists and bullets), and tables that are not part of the stem.

Objects which are Word-specific and not standard RTF, such as AutoShape objects, will not be recognized on import. You must manually convert these to a standard images, such as jpg or png. The best way to do this is to take a screen capture. There are various software programs to do this; a free one is FastStone Capture (http://www.faststone.org). Alternatively, you can use the Print Screen key on your keyboard, which will create a bitmap image of your screen and put it on the clipboard. Simply open up an image editor and paste (CTRL + V). Equation Editor objects will be converted to a .png image automatically.

Similarly, Word-specific text formatting is also not recognized during the import process. Two examples of this are Autonumbering and arrangement of item answers as tables. Fortunately, both of these issues are easily solved.

Converting Autonumbering to Text

First, make sure the currently active document is the one you want to convert. Open the Visual Basic Editor by pressing ALT + F11. On the View menu in the top bar, click Immediate Window. In the Immediate Window, type ActiveDocument.ConvertNumbersToText and press Enter. This runs a command that converts Autonumbered lists to regular text for the entire document. More information regarding Autonumbering is widely available on the Internet.

Converting a table to text

Tables that are part of the item stem do not need to be converted. They will be imported as drawn. It is the layout of the entire item itself as a table that can cause the importer to not recognize items correctly. For example, a 4-option multiple choice item might have the answers as a table with two columns and four rows, like this:

A. Chicago
B. New York
C. Boston
D. Los Angeles

To convert this table to text, follow these steps. First, select the entire table. For Word 2003, on the Table menu, point to Convert, and then click Table to Text. For Word 2007, go to the Table Tools Layout ribbon, and click Convert to Text. You can then specify your separator for columns; simply choose a single space. If you have a very large number of items and expertise in VBA macros, a macro can also be written to search an entire document and perform this step.

Step 2: Insert page breaks

Go through your document and insert a page break between each item by pressing CTRL + Enter. This serves to tell the importer where one item ends and the next begins. You can also (optionally) number your items at this time. The Word XML import method will name items based on the page number in this document (Item 001, Item 002…) unless you provide other numbers at the beginning of each page. To provide your own numbers, put the number as the very first thing on each page, followed by a dash, period, colon, >, ), or ]. For example, “1.”, “2-“, “3:”, “4)”, “5>”, and “6]” are all valid number markers. Alternatively, you can put the number as the very first things on each page enclosed in ( ), < >, or [ ]. For example, “(1)”, “<2>” and “[3]” are also valid number markers. Make sure stimuli such as text boxes or images are after the item number, as part of the stem. The importer will recognize numbers from 0 to 999, and the numbers will be excluded from the actual text of the item.

Step 3: Format answers

Answers should follow the question text in a vertical layout, each answer beginning a new line.

Note: answers must be separated by paragraph breaks (Enter). Line breaks (Shift + Enter) are not sufficient.

The answers must be demarcated in some way: the available delimiters are the same as question number delimiters above. Answers can be labeled with numbers or letters, both upper and lower case. To mark an answer as correct, put an asterisk as the very last character of the answer as shown below.

A. Chicago*
B. New York
C. Boston
D. Los Angeles

Step 4: Save as Word 2003 XML file

Once the items have been formatted (in some cases, you need to do nothing more than insert page breaks), save the document as a Word 2003 XML file, as shown below.

Save as Word 2003 XML Document

xml-save-1

Step 5: Import into FastTest

In the Item Explorer tab of FastTest, right-click on a bank and select Import → Import Items. You can then specify the path to the file you just saved. A message will appear when the uploading is complete and an email will be sent to you when the importing is complete. You can then click the Sync button, and your items will now appear in a new category of that bank.

Full Example – 4 Item Test

1. What is the largest city in the American Midwest?

A. Chicago*
B. New York
C. Boston
D. Los Angeles

<------------Page break goes here------------->

2.

globe

What word best describes the image above?

A. Globe*
B. Map
C. Atlas
D. GPS

<------------Page break goes here------------->

3.
A factory produces widgets from January to August. It produces thingamajigs from September to December. Widgets sell for $15 each and cost $10 to produce. Thingamajig materials cost $3 and sell for $4. Because thingamajigs are smaller, they are easier to package and distribute.
Which is more profitable to manufacture, widgets or thingamajigs?

A. Widgets
B. Thingamajigs
C. Neither
D. Not enough information provided*

<------------Page break goes here------------->

4. The number of customer support calls per year for Acme, Inc.
   is shown in the table below.
Year Calls
2005 465
2006 234
2007 567
2008 602
2009 599
Which year had the most calls?

A. 2005
B. 2007
C. 2008*
D. 2009

Appendix C – Importing Items as Tagged Text

Table of Contents

 

The Tagged Text File import method uses special tags (codes) to tell it when each item begins and ends and to specify all of its additional information to be imported into your item bank. This Appendix describes how to use these tags, which are sometimes called “@@ codes” because they begin with two @ characters. Each file to be imported continues with as many items as necessary, each beginning with an @@ line.

To prepare your items for import, open your file of item texts in your word processor. Insert the required tags into your file at the start and end of each item, then save your file. Inserting the tags is easiest by repeatedly pasting a set of basic tags lines at the beginning of each item (based on what you need), then editing those lines accordingly for each item. The Mail Merge functionalities in word processors can also offer a substantial timesaver, as can Search and Replace functionality.

Please note: If you are using a Mail Merge to move items from Excel to Word before importing into FastTest, the Mail Merge feature has a limit for each cell of 255 characters. This means that longer text will be cut off.

The item import functionality has the following additional considerations:

  • Blank lines in the file are ignored, unless they appear in the Item Text or Notes fields. Then they are imported as blank lines.
  • Once the appropriate coding is added to a Word (or other word processor) file, you must save it as an RTF file or a TXT file to be imported.

Format

All tags must begin with @@, where xx represents the relevant tag. For example, the tag for item identification (name) is @@ID. If the tag represents a short piece of information, it is followed immediately (no spaces!) by an = sign, followed immediately by the information. For example, if you want to import an item with the keyword “Algebra” you would state it as below.

@@KW=Algebra

For information that is likely to include multiple lines, a different approach is taken. The item stem, item answers, and notes fields all use a tag to note beginning and ending. For example, an algebra item stem would be specified as below.

@@BT
4 + 3x = 19
Solve for x.
@@ET

Required Tags

There are three required pieces of information to import an item: the item identification or name (and category path if needed), the item stem, and the item answers (option/alternatives). This translates to five required tags: identification line (@@), begin text (@@BT), end text (@@ET), begin answer (@@BA), and end answer (@@EA). The first 3 (ID, BT, and ET) are used only once per item; the latter two (BA and EA) are used as many times as there are answers for an item.

All other tags are optional.

The Item Identifier Tag

This is the first required tag. Its format is:

@@ID=

Without this tag, no items will be found when the file is processed. This tag uses the following format:

@@ID=<Category Path>:<Item Identifier>

i.e., the Category Path followed by the Item Identifier, separated by a colon (“:”). Note that items will all be imported into the bank for which you right-clicked and chose Import Items; the path refers to the categories within that bank.

  • This can be a full path, including the item identifier, or just a category name.
    • If the @@ID line includes just a category name, the item will be placed in the category and its identifier will be <none>, e.g., @@ID=Algebra.
    • You can then later change an item’s identifier, and can drag and drop items into other categories.
  • If you provide an item identifier (as shown above), the item identifier follows the category path, separated by a colon (:), e.g., @@ID=Algebra:Item 13. This will import Item 13 into the Algebra category of the bank you specified upon import.
  • You can specify the specific location of an item in your bank structure on the ID line, by specifying the complete path of the item in the hierarchical structure.
    • The Category Path can consist of a series of sub-folder names separated by the backslash character (“”).
    • E.g., @@ID=AlgebraQuadratics:item 37
    • The following characters are not allowed in bank and folder name: asterisk (“*”), percent (“%”), forward slash (“/”) and vertical line (“|”). If used in the bank path, the forward slash (“/”) will be replaced with a backslash (“”).
    • Leading spaces are also not allowed and will be removed.
    • Ordinarily, the colon (“:”) can be used in a folder name. However, because the @@ID= tag uses the colon to separate the Bank Path from the Item Identifier, do not use the colon in the bank path because anything beyond the colon will be considered to be the Item Identifier.
  • If the category path that you provide already exists in the workspace that you import to, that path will be used. Otherwise, the path will be created.
  • If the Item Identifier provided already exists in the workspace, it will not be overwritten, but a new item will be created with the same name.

The Begin and End Text Tags

The second required tag lines identify the text of each item. Because the Item Text field will likely contain more than one line of text, two tags are needed. These tag lines enclose the text of each item. The required format (beginning in column 1) is the Begin Text tag @@BT, while the End Text tag is @@ET. Place the End Text tag on a separate line following the item text. Take the algebra item shown previously: multiple choice item might have the answers as a table with two columns and four rows, like this:

@@BT
4 + 3x = 19
Solve for x.
@@ET

Any blank lines between the Begin Text and End Text tags will be included in the Item Text field. Do not place any tag or information lines used by this import utility between @@BT and @@ET because any @@ combination of characters will result in any item text beyond this combination of characters to be ignored. On the extremely rare occasions that you need to use two @ characters together as actual item text between the Begin Text and End Text tags, place a space between them and make a note to yourself to use the FastTestItem Editor to remove the space after the item has been imported.

The Begin Answer and End Answer Tags

Because FastTest stores item answers separately to facilitate formatting of online tests, all answers must be imported separately. Similarly to the item stem, you must place a Begin Answer (@@BA) tag on the line before and an End Answer (@@EA) on the line after. So continuing with the same example, if the four answers to the item are 4, 5, 6, and 7, it would be imported as below.

@@BA
4
@@EA

Examples

Example 1:

@@ID=bank2
@@BT
What is the capital of Minnesota?
@@ET

This will create an item identified as <none> in a category called bank2 at the top level of the destination bank, because there is no colon (:) followed by an item identifier. There are also no answers to the item.

Example 2:

@@ID=MathAlgebra:ALG_001
@@BT
4 + 3x = 19
Solve for x.
@@ET
@@BA
4
@@EA

@@BA
5
@@EA

@@BA
6
@@EA

@@BA
7
@@EA

This code will create an item named ALG_001 in the Algebra subcategory of the Math category. When delivered online with alphabetical labels, this item would appear as shown below.

4 + 3x = 19
Solve for x.

A.  4
B.  5
C.  6
D.  7

Additional (Optional) Lines of Information

Additional lines of information provide information to be stored in the other fields in each item’s record in the item bank. Additional @@ lines are optional, with each beginning on a new line. Additional lines can appear in any order, and can precede or follow a text block. All additional information lines are assumed to be associated with the most recent @@ID= line. Spaces are not allowed adjacent to = signs.

Notes

Because the Notes field can contain more than one line of text, two tags are needed. The Begin Notes tag is @@BN and the End Notes tag is @@EN. Place these tags on a separate line before and following your notes. Neither the @@BN nor the @@EN tag lines have any further information on them. Any blank lines between the Begin Notes and End Notes tag will be imported into the Notes field.

Example:

@@BN
This is a difficult item.  It requires the student to apply three
different operations in a particular sequence, and then recognize
the fact that the resulting answer is a prime number.
@@EN

Do not place any tag or information lines between @@BN and @@EN because any @@ combination of characters will result in any Notes text beyond this combination of characters to be ignored.

Default Value: Blank

Author

The Author information tag is:

@@AU=

Place the author text after the equal sign (“=”) in the Author information line. The Author field may contain up to 128 characters.

Example:

@@AU=John Jones

Default Value: Blank.

Source

The Source information tag is:

@@SO=

Place the source text after the equal sign (“=”) in the Source information line. The Source field can contain up to 128 characters.

Example:

@@SO=Page 27 of the textbook, Intro to algebra, Third Edition

Default Value: Blank.

Description

The Description information tag is:

@@DE=

Place the description text after the equal sign (“=”) in the Description information line. The Description field can contain up to 255 characters.

Example:

@@DE=Intermediate algebra with prime number

Default Value: Blank.

Keywords

The Keywords information tag is:

@@KW=

Place the keywords text after the equal sign (“=”) in the Keywords information line. The Keywords field can contain up to 128 characters. You may separate keywords with either commas or spaces. The keywords will be imported as they appear following the equals sign.

Example:

@@KW=addition, subtraction, prime number, division

Default Value: Blank.

Date Created

The Date Created information tag is:

@@DT=

Place the date you want entered into the Date Created field following the equals sign. If the date used in the Date Created information line is invalid or cannot be interpreted, the default value will be used. Note that dates can be represented in U.S. format (MM/DD/YYYY) or the more internationally aware YYYY-MM-DD.

Example:

@@DT=06/13/2004

Default Value: The date the file is imported.

Item Type

The Item Type information tag is:

@@TY=

Place the two-letter item type following the equals sign. The following six two-letter types are allowed:

  • MC : Multiple Choice
  • MR : Multiple Response
  • FR : Free Response
  • IN : Instructional
  • SU : Survey

Example:

@@TY=MR

Default Value: MC.

Keyed Answer

The Keyed/Correct Answer tag is:

@@KA=

Keyed answers are not allowed for the Free Response, Instructional, or Survey Item Types. A single value is allowed for the Multiple Choice and True/False Item Types. The Multiple Response Item Type allows for multiple keyed answers.

For Numeric answers, place a single number between the range of 1 to number of answers following the equals sign. For example, if @@NA for that particular item, the @@KA value must be between 1 and 4 inclusive. “@@KA=3” would be acceptable, “@@KA=6” would be outside of the acceptable range.

For Alphabetic answers, place a single letter between the range of A to the letter of the alphabet corresponding to the number of answers following the equals sign. For example, if @@NA=4 for that particular item, the @@KA= value must be between “A” and “D” inclusive- “D”, being the fourth letter of the alphabet. “@@KA=C” would be acceptable, “@@KA=F” would be outside of the acceptable range.

For the Multiple Response Item Type, you may provide more than one correct answer. Place the string of acceptable answers separated by commas (“,”) or spaces following the equal sign. As before, the values must be in the range of “1” to the number of answers for numeric answers, or between “A” and the letter of the alphabet corresponding to the number of answers for alphabetic answers. Values outside of the acceptable range will be ignored.

If the Keyed Answer information line is not provided, the value is not in acceptable range, is incorrectly specified for the Item Type or otherwise invalid the default value will be used.

Default Value: Blank.

IRT Model and a, b, c Parameters

The IRT Model tag is:

@@IR=

Place the IRT model specifier following the equals sign, and follow it with the a, b, and c parameters.

The IRT model specifier consists of one of the following:

  • 1P – 1 parameter (Rasch) model
  • 2P – 2 parameter model
  • 3P – 3 parameter model

Follow the IRT model specifier with a comma (“,”) followed by the a, b and c parameters separated by commas. The IRT Model information line should follow the format:

@@IR=<IRT Model specifier>, <a Parameter>, <b Parameter>, <c Parameter>

You may also skip the unnecessary a, b, or c parameters that are not required for that particular model.

The 1-parameter model only allows for the b parameter to be entered. You can supply only the necessary b parameter value or you may leave the unused values blank. For instance, the following example for the 1-parameter model may be entered as either:

@@IR=1P, 1.2
or
@@IR=1P,  , 1.2,

The 2-parameter model allows for the a and b parameters to be entered. You may supply only the necessary a and b parameter values or you may leave the unused c value blank. For instance, the following example for the 2-parameter model may be entered as either:

@@IR=2P, 2.2, 1.2,
or
@@IR=2P, 2.2, 1.2

For the 3-parameter model the a, b, and c parameters must be entered. The following is an example for the 3-parameter model:

@@IR=3P, 2.2, 1.2, 0.25

For all IRT Models, the a, b and c parameters must be in the proper ranges:

  • The a parameter must be in the range 0.00 to 10.00
  • The b parameter must be in the range -10.00 to 10.00
  • The c parameter must be in the range 0.00 to 1.00

If the IRT Model information line is not provided, the values are not in acceptable range, are incorrectly specified, or otherwise invalid, the default values will be used.

Default Value:
IRT Model: None
a Parameter: Blank
b Parameter: Blank
c Parameter: Blank

Classical Test Theory Statistics

The Classical Test Theory Statistics tag is:

@@CT=

Place the classical test theory statistics in the order p-value and item-total correlation, separated by a comma after the equals sign. Skip a parameter by leaving it blank. If only one parameter is included it will be presumed to be the p-value.

Examples:

@@CT=0.83, -0.23
@@CT=0.83
@@CT= , -0.23

The p-value and item-total correlation must be in the correct ranges. The range for the p-value must be between 0 and 1 inclusive. The range for the item-total correlation must be between -1 and +1 inclusive. If the classical test theory statistics are not provided, the values are not in acceptable range, or are otherwise invalid the default values will be used.

Default Values:
p-value: Blank
Item-total correlation: Blank

User Statistics

The User-defined Statistics tag is:

@@US=

Place the User 1, User 2, and User 3 statistics separated by a comma after the equals sign. Skip a statistic by leaving it blank. If only one statistic is present, it will be presumed to be the User 1 statistic.

Examples:

@@US=5.63, 4.52, 9.54
@@US= , 4.52
@@US=5.63

If the user statistics are not provided, are not a number, or are otherwise invalid the default value will be used.

Default Value: Blank.

Custom fields

If you have defined custom fields for your workspace, those can also be imported. The tag to begin the field (similar to “Begin Answer”) is @@BF, and must be followed by @@EF for “end field.”

Examples:

For example, suppose you have added a custom field for cognitive processing level named “CognitiveLevel.” If an item is at the recall level, it would use a tag as follows. Note that the colon after the field name is necessary.

@@BF=CognitiveLevel:Recall
@@EF

Full Example

The following is an expansion of the previous example, now including optional information. The correct answer is 5, which is the second option, so the Keyed Answer is B.

@@ID=MathAlgebra:ALG_001
@@KW=algebra,addition
@@DE=Easy algebra item
@@TY=MC
@@KA=B
@@CT=0.96,0.07
@@SO=Page 22, Intro to Algebra textbook
@@BT
4 + 3x = 19
Solve for x.
@@ET
@@BA
4
@@EA
@@BA
5
@@EA
@@BA
6
@@EA
@@BA
7
@@EA

Step-by-Step Guide

  1. Make sure you have your items saved as an RTF file or TXT. The file should include all the information you wish to import. RTF files can contain text formatting and images while TXT supports just plain text. Note that RTF does not support Microsoft Word objects, like math equations, path diagrams, and text boxes. For best support for special characters (such as foreign languages) in the TXT file, save the TXT file using the UTF-8 encoding.
  2. Paste the ID line at the beginning of each item. It looks like this:@@ID=Folder:ItemNameIf you have Algebra items in a Math category, it would look like this:@@ID=Math:Algebra_001

    You can have more than one level of folder if you specify a path, like:

    @@ID=Math/8th:Algebra_001

  3. Update the information in that line accordingly for each item. In the previous example, you would likely want to change the numbers in the item name. If you have a large number of items, and they are sequentially numbered, a Mail Merge might work well.
  4. Paste @@BT before each item stem and @@ET after each item stem.SHORTCUT TIP: You can paste the @@BT at the same time you paste the ID line, like this:
    @@ID=Math/8th:Algebra_001
    @@BT
  5. Paste @@BA before each item answer (option) and @@EA after each item answer.SHORCUT TIP: You can paste the @@EA and the subsequent @@BA at the same time. That is, you can copy the following text, and paste it between Option A and Option B, Option B and Option C, etc. See the full example above.@@EA
    @@BA
  6. Paste in any other tags, such as keywords, description, or statistics.
  7. Import the RTF file and make sure everything appears in order.
  8. You must manually import or recreate special objects, such as multimedia, text boxes, and math equations.

Appendix D – Importing Items as Simple Text

Table of Contents

 

For simple items that only require plain text and have no ancillary information, the simple item text importer can get items into FastTest very quickly. For image and rich text support, use the Word XML Importer.

Format

The item is begun with a number followed by either a dot (“.”) or a parenthesis (“)”). After the number, the stem is entered and can take up any number of lines. Answers are entered vertically after the stem (one per line) and are preceded by an answer marker. A valid answer marker is an upper or lower case letter followed by either a dot (“.”) or a parenthesis (“)”). An asterisk before an answer marker denotes that answer as correct; i.e., gives it an answer weight of 1.0.

If item weights are used for partial answers, an item weight is denoted by (‘[weight]’) followed immediately by an alpha with either a dot (“.”) or a parenthesis (“)”). You should not use the asterisk if item weights are used; i.e.,

[.5]a. Partially correct answer

Full Example

1. What is the capital of Minnesota?
  a. Duluth
  b. Minneapolis
 *c. Saint Paul
  d. New Ulm

2. What is the capital of Iowa (Partial Points)?
  [0]a. Ames
  [1]b. Des Moines
  [0]c. Iowa City
  [.5]d. Dubuque

3. What is the capital of South Dakota?
 *a. Pierre
  b. Sioux Falls
  c. Rapid City
  d. Bismarck

4. What is the capital of North Dakota?
  a. Pierre
  b. Grand Forks
  c. Fargo
 *d. Bismarck

5. What is the capital of Wisconsin?
  a. Green Bay
 *b. Madison
  c. Milwaukee
  d. Eau Claire

Appendix E – Importing Items as Excel

Table of Contents

The Excel Importer can import a variety of response type items containing plain text, including text containing html markup. For image and rich text support, use the Word XML Importer.

Format

Items are designated by row, and must contain Item Name, Response Type, and Item Text columns at minimum in order to successfully import. The optional columns supported by the Excel Importer are listed below on the right.

  • REQUIRED COLUMNS
  • Item Name
  • Item Text
  • Response Type
  • OPTIONAL COLUMNS
  • Answer X (where X is 1, 2, 3, etc. Item may require multiple columns)
  • Likert Scale (required for Likert-Type items, must be the name of an existing Likert Scale)
  • Description
  • Source
  • Keywords
  • Author
  • IRT model
  • IRT A
  • IRT BIRT C
  • Mean Angoff
  • STAT 1
  • STAT 2
  • STAT 3
  • Difficulty
  • Discrimination
  • Answer Keys
  • Content area

Note: Custom field data can also be imported by naming a column the same as the custom data field.

The item(s) are created by naming the columns (required plus any optional columns).

  • Enter the item name, item text (this is the stem of the item), and response type.
    • Valid response types include
      • Multiple choice
      • Multiple response
      • Instructional
      • Survey
      • Essay
      • Likert-Type
      • Short answer
      • Scored short answer
    • Note: If left unspecified, the import will default to Multiple Choice response type
  • Include answer column(s) to import answer options
    • Answer 1 translates to A, Answer 2 translates to B, etc
  • The Answer Keys column will indicate which answer(s) receive a weight of 1.
    • Multiple choice, multiple response, and survey items use a comma separate list of answer orders, e.g. “1, 3” to give answers 1 and 3 a weight of 1
    • Scored short answer items use a comma or pipe separated list of the answer text, e.g. “apple,pear” or “apple|pear”
  • IRT Model column has predefined values that must be used if including this column
    • 1-Parameter
    • 2-Parameter
    • 3-Parameter
    • Graded Response Model
  • The file must be saved with the .xlsx extension

Example

Appendix F – FastTest WebLock

Table of Contents

 

Overview of WebLock

FastTest’s WebLock is a client application that is installed to a local computer. It provides a custom interface for the Internet Explorer (Windows) or Safari (Mac) software that is already installed on the computer. It does not modify an existing copy of Internet Explorer or Safari, but rather, installs a separate program that will display the custom browser when it is started.  WebLock uses the same security features and service packs that are currently installed for Internet Explorer or Safari. Installing WebLock won’t modify the current version of Internet Explorer or Safari in any way.

WebLock creates a “locked” testing environment for your assessments and includes the following features:

  • Assessments are displayed full-screen and cannot be minimized
  • Assessments cannot be exited until submitted by users for grading
  • Task switching or access to other applications is prevented
  • Printing functions are disabled
  • Print Screen and capturing functions are disabled
  • Copying and pasting anything to and from an assessment is prohibited
  • Right-click menu options are disabled (Windows); key + click options are disabled (Mac)
  • Browser menu and toolbar options are disabled except Back, Forward, Refresh and Stop
  • Function keys (F1-F12) are disabled
  • Source code for the HTML page cannot be viewed
  • URLs cannot be typed by the user
  • Hundreds of screen capture, messaging, screen-sharing and network monitoring applications are blocked from running
  • The browser automatically starts at the examinee login page
  • Links in questions that point to other servers don’t compromise the “locked” testing environment
  • Pages from the assessment aren’t cached or stored in the browser’s history listing
  • And many other features…

In FastTest, tests can be configured so that they MUST be delivered via WebLock. (See the Online Delivery Tab of the Edit Test Dialog.) This document describes how to install the WebLock browser on a computer, deliver a test in WebLock, and remove WebLock afterwards if so desired.

Step 1: Installing WebLock (once per computer)

  1. Before you start, ensure that:
    1. You have Admin rights to the computer that will be used
    2. The computer is connected to the internet
  2. Go to: http://weblock.www.fasttestweb.com
    weblock
  3. Click: Click here to install the FastTest WebLock secure Browser on the left.
  4. Run program and click yes or continue for all prompts. The installation will check whether you have Mac or Windows and install appropriately.

Note that Step 1 does not need to be done immediately before the student takes a test. It should be done ahead of time to ensure that the computer is ready for the test when the student is ready.

Click “Run” in the first screen.

The setup installer will then download.

Click “Run” on the next screen.

The installer will then open. Click “Next.”

Click “Next” to install in the default folder.

Click “Install” to run the installer.

Click “Finish” to close the installer and return to the browser.

Step 2: Launching WebLock (for each test session)

  1. Before you start, ensure that:
    1. The computer is connected to the internet
    2. All other programs are closed on the machine
  2. Go to: http://weblock.www.fasttestweb.com
  3. Click: Click here to launch FastTest WebLock and continue to the testing system. Click “Allow” if shown the screen below. You will have to turn off programs like Google Desktop and other auto start programs to start the test. To do this, right click the icon on the toolbar.
  4. The WebLock browser will then open to the examinee login screen as seen below.
  5. The WebLock browser will then open to the examinee login screen as seen below. You can be certain the WebLock browser is up if most of the buttons seen in normal browsers are gone, and there are only the few buttons seen in the upper left of the image below. Enter the Test Code, and click “Login.” The examinee can then take the test in a secure setting where he or she is not allowed to run any other programs, visit other websites, or access information on the computer.

Turning off (at end of each test session) And (Optionally) Uninstalling WebLock

  1. After the test is submitted, the examinee will be taken to a score report screen (if the test developer has designed such a report).
  2. After viewing results click: “Return to the examinee login page.” You can then leave the testing system by clicking “Exit”.
  3. If the specific computer is only being used for one test and no other test will be given via WebLock, you can remove the program.
    • In Windows XP, this can be found under Start -> Control Panel -> Add or Remove Programs.
    • In Windows Vista and Windows 7, it is located at Start -> Control Panel -> Programs and Features.

If the computer loses power or internet connection, the proctor can restart the exam by starting WebLock again and reentering the Test Code.

WebLock Troubleshooting

There are two versions of WebLock; one for computers running Mac OS and one for computers running Windows OS/OSX. WebLock is not compatible with Linux, as there are security workarounds that Linux is capable of that WebLock cannot manage.

A number of programs interfere with WebLock, this is because WebLock is designed to provide tight test security. If WebLock is not functioning properly, try the following troubleshooting steps:

  • Close all programs.
    • On Windows machines this can be done using Task Manager (ctrl+alt+delete)
    • On Apple machines this can be done using Force Quit (⌘+options+esc)
  • Clear all browser add-ons and plug-ins.
    • In Internet Explorer this can be done by selecting the options icon or Tools in the upper right hand corner and choosing internet options, advanced, and selecting reset to default.
    • In Safari, this can be done by selecting Safari in the menu at the top of the browser, and choosing reset Safari, and following the prompts.

For technical support email support@assess.com, or call 763-476-4764.

Appendix G – User FAQ

Table of Contents

 

  • How do I enter a new item? Import existing items? Select the category or bank in which you want the new item, then right-click on it and select “New Item”. You can also click the “New” button above the folder window. To import existing items, click the “Import” button.
  • I have my items entered. How do I build a test? Click on the “Test Assembler” tab and create a new test. Click “Edit” and then “Edit items,” and you will be presented with a list of items currently on the test (blank if the test is new). You can then return to the Item Explorer tab to find the items you need, and then click the green “Add Item” button to add items to the test. Begin by searching for items based on classical statistics or IRT parameters. Evaluate item response (or information) functions before assembling test forms. While assembling test forms, evaluate important information such as estimated mean, standard deviation, and reliability (if classical) or test information function and conditional standard error of measurement (if IRT). Tests built with such procedures will be more defensible and more accurate than tests built with other bankers without this information.
  • I have built a test. How do I schedule a new examinee to take the test? To enter a new examinee, in the Test Scheduler tab click “New” and then “New examinee.” You will have the choice of directly entering information for a single person or uploading a list. You can then choose to automatically send an email message to the examinee with instructions and the login key that will deliver the test.
  • I have tests built and my examinees have been uploaded. How do the examinees now take the test? You can select any examinee group or individual examinee in the Test Scheduler tab, then right-click and select “Email keys.” This will email the key codes necessary to log in and take the test. Note that these will be sent to the email address that is recorded for an examinee, so if you want all the keys sent to a teacher or proctor, make sure that their email address is recorded, not the student’s address!
  • Examinees have taken the test. How do I access results? In the Test Scheduler tab, select a group of examinees or an individual examinee, then right-click and select “Export results” to see a list of summary results. This spreadsheet is also ideal for uploading to other software, such as a certification management system. If you want the responses to each item for analysis in advanced psychometric software like Iteman 4 or Xcalibre 4, right-click and select “Export responses.”
  • How do I analyze my test for reliability and validity? A Test and Item Analysis Report is available in the Reports Manager, and will provide the text of all your items, with the relevant statistics (P and Rpbis) listed in line with the text for easy interpretation.
  • Examinees are not able to start tests with WebLock.Our secure WebLock browser for test delivery will only work when there is no software running that is a security liability. Please make sure all programs are closed, even programs in the system tray.
  • How do I create a new user account? (Administrators only) If you are an account administrator and need to create a new user (item writer, test manager, etc.), click the “New User” button above the list of current users in a workspace, which is visible when you highlight a workspace in the administrator screen.
  • What do I do if I have technical problems? If you encounter any other issues, please read the relevant section of the manual. For error messages or any other technical problems, please contact: support@assess.com.
  • I would like in-person training or support with FastTest; who should I contact?Email support@assess.com; in-person training or support is billed at $100 per hour in half-hour increments.

Appendix H – Support

Table of Contents

Multi-layer support

  1. A detailed manual is always available via a link in the upper-right of your screen while using FastTest. This provides the best resource for specific questions, such as “How do I format my Word import file?”
  2. Quick start guides are available below, one for all users and one for workspace administrators only; this provides a great place to start!
  3. Tutorial videos are also available below, and provide an excellent treatment of specific topics (importing items, scheduling examinees, etc.), in live action with expert commentary
  4. A frequently asked questions (FAQ) page is available here
  5. Lastly, in-person support is available at support@assess.com.

 

Quick Start Guides

Step by step through important procedures

All Users (how to write items, etc.)

Administrators only (how to create other users, etc.)

 

Tutorial videos

Note: if you wish to view the AVI files, you need a AVI video player. VLC (a free open source player) can be found here.

Workspace administration
Watch Online | Download AVI (Workspace administrators only)

Interface Overview
Watch Online | Download AVI

Creating Items
Watch Online | Download AVI

Asset Manager
Watch Online | Download AVI

Importing/Exporting Items
Watch Online | Download AVI

Item Review
Watch Online | Download AVI

Test Assembly
Watch Online | Download AVI

Test Preview, Protecting, Downloading, and Importing Responses
Watch Online | Download AVI

Test Scheduling
Watch Online | Download AVI

Reporting Features
Watch Online | Download AVI

WebLock
Watch Online | Download AVI

Taking the Test
Watch Online | Download AVI

Subworkspaces
Watch Online | Download AVI

 

Monthly Webinar Recordings

Monthly Webinar Recordings can be found here.

Appendix I – Quick Start Guide for Administrators

Table of Contents

Welcome to FastTest, the world’s leading online testing and item banking system. This Quick Start Guide provides a brief overview of how to use the system effectively. There are two sections: Administrators and General Users. A complete manual with step-by-step details is always available through the link in the upper-right of your screen (see figures below). For any questions not covered in the manual, please contact support@fasttestweb.com. 

Administrator Dashboard

Once the admin user name and password have been entered in the admin login page, the workspace landing page shown in Figure 1.1 will appear. The landing page will display the workspace active and expired dates, how many test credits are available, how may users your account can have, and the users that are currently in the system. The workspace can be modified through the Configure tab. The appearance, user properties, and item properties can also be edited through this tab. It also lists all the users in your workspace, and allows you to manage their accounts.

Figure 1.1: The Workspace Administrator Landing Page

 

admin-header

Part 1: Configuring Your Workspace

To configure your workspace, select the Configure tab at the top left corner of the workspace (Figure 1.1). Select ‘Click here to customize branding’ to open the window show in Figure 1.2.

Figure 1.2: Configuring the Workspace

  configure customize appearance

 

User Properties refers to fields associated with your users.

Item Properties (Figure 1.3) refers to fields associated with your items. If you are using IRT, you specify the                       value of D on this tab. You also provide descriptive labels for your user-defined statistics on this tab.

Figure 1.3: The Item Properties Tab

 edit workspace config

The Asset Properties tab simply provides the option to allow duplicate asset names.  If the box is unchecked and a duplicate name is attempted, the user will get a message alerting them that an asset with that name already exists.

The Delivery Properties tab (Figure 1.4) can be utilized to control the ability to allow test codes to be emailed, and group test codes to be created, and configuring the use of Test Session Results Report.

 

Figure 1.4: The Delivery Properties Tab

 delivery properties tab

 

1.2. Content Hierarchy

The Content Hierarchy tab on the administrator dashboard opens a new screen where administrators can define the content hierarchy, also known as blueprints, domains, or standards.  Items are assigned to places in the hierarchy to categorize and organize them.

In the example below, Level 1 is History. If a user was creating a content hierarchy for an entire school or multiple certification programs, he/she might have a number of subjects listed as Level 1 content areas. Each level of content breaks down the content areas into more specific categories. In this instance, the first level is the subject, the second level is the area of history, and the third level is a class within that area of history.

 

Figure 1.5: Content Hierarchy

 history content hierarchy

Only the administrator can define the hierarchy, while it is made available for use by all non-administrators in the item bank.  When items are created in the workspace, they can be assigned to a content area (Figure 1.6).

 

Figure 1.6: Content Area Assignment

 assign content hierachry

Administrators are able to restrict user access based upon the content hierarchy created. From the workspace administration page, select New User (or select the User you wish to Edit).  Under the Roles tab, restrict their access appropriately. See below for an example.

Grade 10 Teacher: This teacher will only have access to all content for Grade 10.

 user role access workspace

1.3. Workflow Management

The Workflow Management tab allows you to define the statuses you want to use and how the workflow can proceed.  Simply establish a list of statuses that represent your stages of item development, from item authoring and item review to active and retired, and the possible paths of status change.  For example, you can set the workflow so that an item can only change to “Active” status after being “Review 2” status, which can only occur after being “Review 1” status, thereby requiring that all items be reviewed by at least two experts.

 

Figure 1.7: Workflow Management

 Workflow managment

1.4. Custom Fields

The Custom Fields tab (Figure 1.7) on the landing page allows for the addition of new user fields and item fields. Use this if you need a database field that is not already in FastTest.   Item fields include review fields, which take input from multiple users.

 

Figure 1.8: The Custom Fields Box

custom fields tab 

Part 2: Creating and Editing Users

New users are created by selecting the New User button on the landing page (Figure 2.1). If an existing user is selected from the list, the Edit User and Delete User buttons will be active.

 

Figure 2.1 The New User Button

 new user button

The Edit User button allows the administrator to modify user information, including changing or resetting a user’s password.

The window in Figure 2.2 will appear when the New User button is selected

 

Figure 2.2: New User

 new user tab

By making selections on the Roles tab, the workspace administrator has control of both workspace and item bank level roles for each user. Each user can have selected roles and be limited to specific item banks. For example, an English instructor can be authorized to only see the English bank, and not the Math or Science banks. Figure 2.3 shows the window in which roles are assigned (the Workspace Administrator role can be created only by FastTest staff). The number of users that a Workspace Administrator can create is determined by the number of user accounts purchased.

 

Figure 2.3: User Defined Roles

 user roles

Appendix J – Quick Start Guide for All Users

Welcome to FastTest, the world’s leading online testing and item banking system. This Quick Start Guide provides a brief overview of how to use the system effectively. There are two sections: Administrators and General Users. A complete manual with step-by-step details is always available by using the Manual option in the upper-right of your screen (see figures below). For any questions not covered in the manual, please contact support@fasttestweb.com.

 

Part 2: All Users

Once inside the workspace, there are five tabs to navigate through FastTest (Figure 2.1).  They represent the five major stages of the test development cycle. These are:

→ Item Explorer: Authoring and reviewing items, storing metadata

→ Test Assembler: Assembling items into test forms and setting test specifications

→ Asset Manager: Managing audio, video, image, and reading passage files

→ Test Scheduler: Managing examinees and scheduling them for tests

→ Report Manager: Reporting on important aspects of the previous tabs.

 

The Item Explorer tab is where items (questions) are created (or imported) and organized. FastTest has a folder tree hierarchy design (similar to the Windows Explorer hierarchy) where an item bank is created, and then inside that bank are nested categories and subcategories, each containing any number of items.

 

Figure 2.1: Item Explorer Tab

 item explorer tab

To start, click on the New button to create an item bank. After the item bank is created you can create categories within the bank, and then create items. All items are able to be dragged and dropped into other folders. You may also duplicate an item to have it appear in two separate folders within a bank.

Creating an Item

When an item is created manually, a new window with six tabs will be displayed, as shown in Figure 2.2. Items can also be imported en masse by using the Import button at the top of the page (Figure 2.3). For more information on the Statistics, Comments, Review, and Objectives tabs please see the manual.

 

To create an item:

  • Enter your question in the top box with the answers following, each in a separate box
  • Enter the answer weight in the small box to the left of the answer letters.
    • e.g. 0 for incorrect and 1 for correct
  • Click the Show Rationale box to display a second box under each answer – this can be used to explain answers to item reviewers or examinees in a report.
  • To create another item without going back to the category level, click New
    • Additional options to preview the item, comment on the item, save the item, and either go to a previous item or the next item within the same category of the bank.

 

                                                     Figure 2.2: The Content Tab                                                                

  content tab

                     Figure 2.3: Importing Items en Masse                         

 import items en masse

Adding Assets to an Item

Within the item editor dialog, click on Show Toolbar, and then click on  (Figure 2.4) to open the Asset Manager window (Figure 2.5).

  • If the desired asset has previously been uploaded, you can search for it by name, or by searching the folders.
  • A new asset can also be uploaded. To insert the asset, check the box and click Add.
  •  You can now close the Asset Manager window. See the manual for more information on the Asset Manager. 

Figure 2.4: Adding Assets to Items

asset button

Figure 2.5: Asset Manager

 asset manager

The Information tab (Figure 2.6) shows the details of each item, including a list of tests in which the item has been used, the item status (New, Review, Review 2, Active, or Retired), Author, Source, Keywords, and date it was created and last updated. This is also where content area can be assigned if the workspace is utilizing a content hierarchy.

 

Figure 2.6: The Information Tab

 item info tab

Creating a Test

The Test Assembler tab is where a test can be assembled from previously entered items.

To create a test in the Test Assembler tab (Figure 2.7):

 

1. Select New at the top left of the page and select New Test Group (you must have a test group before creating any tests)

2. Inside the new test group either right click or select New at the top of the page for a new

test.

 

Figure 2.7: Creating a New Test Group and Test

 new test group

The test options box (Figure 2.8) will appear. Four tabs will guide you through your test options, these are Information (regarding the test as a whole), Online Delivery, Scoring, and Results Reporting.

  • These tabs can also be accessed and adjusted on an unprotected test by right-clicking on a test and selecting Edit Test Options.
    • An option to View Test Options is available by right-clicking on a protected test

 

Figure 2.8: The Test Options Box

 new test

The Online Delivery tab allows the test to be customized by maintaining or randomizing item order and/or answer order.

  • A time limit (duration of the test) can be specified, and customization of the Complete Button Text message, Test Submit Message and the Test Time Expire message, as well as several other practical aspects of test delivery.
  • To change the messages, simply click inside the box, delete its contents and start typing. Figure 2.9 shows the default settings.

 

Figure 2.9: The Online Delivery Tab

 item online delivery tab

The Scoring tab is shown in Figure 2.10. Use this tab for specifying how the entire test will be scored, including scaled scoring. Note that if IRT scoring is to be used, IRT item parameters will be required for all items in the test.

 

Figure 2.10: The Scoring Tab

 item scoring tab

The Reporting Tab (Figure 2.11) allows for customization of tests results messages sent to examinees or instructors or other test schedulers.

  • Choose from the dropdown Special Values, or write sentences and input variables from the drop-down list for customization.
  • Option for the results to automatically be emailed to the examinee, and/or shown the results on the computer immediately after the test is completed.
  • Option to provide the examinee with a solutions key upon completion of the test for a specified number of days.

 

Figure 2.11: The Reporting Tab

 item reporting tab

Adding Items to Your Test

Once you have selected all your options for a test, select Save, then select the Edit button, then Edit Items (Figure 2.12). A bar will appear at the top of the screen. This indicates that you are in Test Editing Mode. The information in the bar is automatically updated to reflect the attributes of the test you are editing.

 

Figure 2.12: Editing Items

 edit items

Navigate to the Item Explorer tab where you can select the questions to be in the test. To add a question, click the Add to test button (green plus sign); items selected will have a plus sign next to them (Figure 2.13)

 

Figure 2.13: Selecting Items

 adding items to test

When you have finished adding items, go back to the Test Assembler and click Save test. To preview the test, simply click on the test and select Preview.

Test Sections

Create test sections, if desired, in Test Editing Mode by selecting New Test Section. Items can be dragged between and within test sections.

To Edit Test Section Options, click the pencil next to the Test Section Name. A number of test section options are available
via a number of tabs.

Save to apply all Test Section Options.

Test Session Options

To manage a test session’s options, select More > Test Session Builder in the Test Assembler. A new tab will open. Select to your test’s name.

  • A number of test session options are available via a number of tabs.
  • Please see Chapter 5A in the FastTest manual for detailed information on Test Sessions.

test session builder

Protecting a Test

After previewing the test and making any final changes, under the Test Assembler tab select Protect test to be able to schedule the test.

  • Note: once a test is protected, it cannot be changed, nor can any items in the test be changed, except by the Workspace Administrator.

Scheduling Tests

Protected tests can be scheduled for electronic delivery using the Test Scheduler tab (Figure 2.14)

 

Figure 2.14: The Test Scheduler Tab

 test scheduler tab1

To schedule examinees:

1. Click on the New button (top left of page), select New examinee group, and fill in the information (you must have a group before adding any examinees).

2. Either right click on the examinee group or select the New button for a new examinee.

3. Select a protected test and fill in the information in Figure 2.15; this can be done manually or via importing from a spreadsheet.

4. For examinees to register at the test site (e.g., you do not have their information or are not sure who will be at what test) select Register at Test and a key without a name will be available and updated once the examinee registers themselves.

5. By selecting the “email immediately” message at the bottom, the test access key will be sent immediately in an email message to the examinee.

 

Figure 2.15: The New Examinee Tab

 new examinee dialog

After examinees complete their tests, their results will be listed on the Test Scheduler page shown in Figure 2.16.

Figure 2.16: Examinee Summary

examinee detail 

Reports

The Report Manager tab (Figure 2.17) allows you to utilize any of the reports FastTest currently has to offer. Need a report that you do not see here? Contact FastTest (sales@assess.com) to create a custom report.

 

Figure 2.17: The Report Manager Tab

 report manager tab

Please visit the manual (via the link at the bottom and top of each workspace) or the tutorials, and/or contact FastTest (sales@assess.com) if you a have any questions or concerns regarding the software or would like an online demonstration.