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 […]

Whale in a Bathtub

Does anyone remember Helen Palmer’s A Fish Out of Water, one of the classics from my childhood? The plot is simple, but compelling: A boy brings home a fish, overfeeds it, and the fish gets bigger and bigger and bigger until it is immense. I won’t spoil the ending for you.The need for growth management is […]

What the World Needs Now

It may be unnecessary to say that in talking about what’s wrong, I don’t mean to pick on anybody in particular. Even if it is one person making specific mistakes, I tend to see this as a systemic ill, as previously discussed, rather than an opportunity to dogpile on an unwitting offender. A systemic ill […]

It’s Like That

. . . in the immortal words of Run DMC. Recently, as part of my quality reform campaign, I took several protégées under my wing. It was a responsibility I’d been ducking for years. I’ve always thought that I more than met my obligations to my industry by simply doing the best work that I could […]