What's in a name? - a new hierarchy for question types

2006-05-24T15:17:35Z (GMT) by J.S. Paterson
One of these is the terminology that is used to identify question types. As computer assisted assessment develops and extends, new assessment systems are introduced. It is a competitive sector and for those commercial companies involved, a measure of uniqueness is advantageous. All too often this can result in an undue emphasis on finding ways of naming question types to produce the largest number. Close scrutiny reveals that many of these types are derived from the same basic structure with different formatting. The clear cut naming of the initial question types during the first few years of computer assisted assessment worked well but advances in the technology and innovative approaches to assessment are making this convention difficult to sustain. The work of the IMS QTI group (IMS QTI project 2002) is very valuable and the issue of question types is partly addressed by them. A new structure and naming convention for question types that can be implemented by all interested parties is needed urgently. There are two aspects to this. 1. A naming convention that would interest those involved in IMS QTI standards and build on the work already undertaken. (the technical sector) 2. A naming convention for the authors, users, academics and researchers interested in what question types are available. (the non-technical sector) The advantages of such a hierarchy would include • progress in interoperability • progress in the use of item banking • stronger focus on the aims of assessment • greater awareness of the true question types available This paper proposes such a hierarchy developed from a non-technical viewpoint but with a sound structure as a basis for discussion, development and to motivate interest in research in this area.