The Big Idea, Cross-Referenced to Basic Rules of Item Writing

What endeavor doesn’t benefit from planning and preparation? What endeavor succeeds without preparation? Ah, fatal words! Too late in moving here, too late in arriving there, too late in coming to this decision, too late in starting with enterprises, too late in preparing. These first guidelines of the CCSSO/TILSA Quality Control Checklist for Item Development […]

How to Get the Best from Item Writers

Many years ago, I was a development manager at a Great Big Huge Test Publishing Company. I’ve already told the story of how I began as a temp employee in hand-scoring, as so many recruits to the test publishing industry do. Armed with my book-learnin’ and a new but hardly marketable M.A. in English, emphasis […]

A Great Deal Done Imperfectly

Better a little which is well done, than a great deal imperfectly.–PlatoIn my last post, I may have given the impression that editors have more power than they do, and that perhaps that they have time to consider the ramifications of failing to provide all the necessities, or that they are willfully negligent. Salaried as […]

Before the Beginning

In the beginning, when all is without form and void, here is what an item writer should have in order to write test items: project overview and background company and/or project style guide, whichever should be followed for the assignment list of standards to be assessed (with or without item-to-skill distribution) item specifications with content […]

Rule Number One

…is that you gotta have fun.Every craft, art, skill, vocation–every discipline–comes with rules. Call them procedures, steps, processes–there’s a set of knowledge that must be acquired and then applied over and over.The path to mastery is1. learn the rules2. practice following the rules3. make mistakes4. get corrected5. do it over6. repeat eleventy gazillion times Until […]