An XML-based Question Bank using Microsoft Office
conference contributionposted on 24.05.2006, 14:12 by John P. Daly
This paper describes the development context and the main features of an XML-based Question-Bank (QB) application being created at the University of Manchester as part of a CBA project that uses Microsoft Office as both the authoring tool and the storage system. The use of MS office significantly reduces the workload of question authors because QB items are created, stored and automatically extracted within the familiar format of MS Word documents. This approach facilitates the easy inclusion of diagrams, images and other types of multimedia components within questions as the elements of the question are marked-up with either HTML or XML tags using an authoring toolbar that is added to the standard MS Word toolbar. When a Word document, containing one or more marked-up questions, is loaded into the QB the tagged question meta-data is extracted by the application parser and stored in a Microsoft Access database. By making use of the stored meta-data the assessor has a wide range of methods by which to select questions. This includes, for example, the use of specified or random questions and selections based on keywords or topics. The CBA system uses the Assessment Transformation Tool (ATT), which was developed as part of the project, to deliver MS Word based assessments, marked-up in either HTML or XML, directly to Question Mark Perception (QMP) for delivery via the web. Assessments produced using the XML QB can also be output to paper for a traditional form of assessment or for use with an Optical Mark Reader (OMR). The XML Question Bank already offers the potential to export to the IMS QTI standards through its interface to QMP. If the system is adopted it will be further developed to directly support the QTI standards for both import and export with other question banks.
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