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It is a large collection of test items that have been classified and stored in a
database so that they can be retrieved at a later time or chosen for new
Use of an item bank and of good item banking software is a solution to the
effort and expense of preparing new items for each administration of an
assessment, whether the test is used by a teacher of a small class; a
university lecturer who has several large sections; or the director of
multifaceted programs for certification, licensing, accountability, or norm-
referenced survey testing.
Item banks are stored in a computer file, in an electronic environment and coded according to
By the CEFR level
See Page 38 and 43
CEFR Level Language Skills Descriptors/Att
Test Items Coding
B1 Listening LC.01,02,n LC. 01.01.02 B1.LC.01.01
Item No.: 1
Item Code: B1.LC.01.01
Skill: Listening Comprehension
The CEFR level: B1
Descriptor: I can follow clearly articulated speech directed at someone.
Attainment: Following clearly articulated speech directed at someone.
Instructions: You will hear a passage read to you twice. First just listen then choose the
Miss Linda thought that asking £75 was quite ………..
mode: ………… median: ………. mean: ………… standard deviation: …………
range: ………… item difficulty: …………
Writer:…………. Editor:…………. Approved by:…………
Before using computers
Before the advent of desktop computers, the most common item bank was a
box of index cards, each containing a single item. Teachers could select the
items wanted for a test, tape them to a sheet of paper, and use the copier to
make sufficient copies of the examination. If more than one version were
needed, items could simply be rearranged.
Who can use item bank?
Anyone whose responsibilities involve preparing assessments on a regular
basis will find item banking technology very useful.
In education, this group includes all classroom teachers, university
instructors, directors of system-wide testing programs, directors of state
testing programs, and evaluators of special projects.
What can an item bank do?
Item entry and storage.
Item retrieval for reviewing items, formatting test forms, and editing and updating items.
Maintenance of item history.
Scoring and item analysis.
Preparation of records and reports, including Gradebook.
1. The number and type of items can faithfully reflect the nature of the
knowledge domain to be measured. Unlike paper-and-pencil testing,
modern computer-based testing requires a sufficient number of
interchangeable items on each test objective for multiple-form and
2.The items meet accepted standards of content validity and psychometric
quality. They can measure what they are supposed to measure and they do
so very well.
3. The item bank is easy to use and maintain. Content specialists such as
teachers and lecturers can easily manage the test item database and build
tests to their specifications. A development of a good test is not a
difficult, lengthy and tedious task any more. 28/04/2014 11
Steps in creating an item bank
Method of item entry
Graphics and special characters
Size of item bank
Item types (MC/ TF)
Classification and coding
Review and item updating
When tests are administered by computer, the scoring is usually, but not always,
Printed test forms:
When printed examinations are administered, the scoring and analysis is usually a
Optic forms: The tests are automatically scored.
Teachers do not have to write new items for every examination.
Reliability in scoring; computers are more accurate.
Traditional time limits are not necessary.
Diagnostic feedback can be provided very quickly to each testee on those items answered
Large group of testees can be tested at the same time.
Easy to find subjects.
Computer equipment may not always be available, or in working order.
The graphics capabilities of many computers may be limited.
Computer anxiety is another potential disadvantage.
Differences in the degree to which testees are familiar with using computers or typewriter
keyboards may lead to discrepancies in their performances on computer-assisted or computer-
Difficulties of Item Banking
Keeping large item banks up-to-date.
Preventing redundancy in item banks.
Keeping items from being copied and disseminated to non-members.
Determining correct key words to use for item classification.
Thanks for your attention.