This is an older version of the TAO User Guide, click here for the documentation of the most recent release, TAO 3.3.
Build Your Test
The kids are somewhat shaky in their understanding of what you've spent the last couple days teaching, and you aren't sure if they are ready to move on to new material. So what do you do? That's right, give them a pop-quiz! TAO lets instructors do this in very short order.
Step 1: In TAO's Assessment Builder Bar, select Items and examine the test Items that are available for your pop-quiz.
If you do not have enough ready-to-go Items, then you will need to create new ones. Items are the building blocks of Tests assembled in TAO, but as with anything you assemble, there has to be enough of them, and they must cover everything you want to cover. Fortunately, TAO has plenty of easily authored Item templates to work with.
Step 2: Going back to TAO's Assessment Builder Bar, select Tests. In the Test Library, click on a desired class, or on the Test folder itself.
This brings up in the button bank below the Library, among other icons, an icon to create a new Test.
Step 3: Click New Test in the button bank below the Library to create a new Test.
This brings up a Test Properties pane where you can rename the label (file name) of the Test, and select between either the QTI 2.1 Test Driver or the alternative simple model (QTI is recommended). After completing test properties, hit Save. (It should be noted that at any time, the test assembly can be saved in order to preserve already completed work. Doing so every ten minutes is always a good habit.)
Step 4: Click Authoring to insert Items into Test.
This opens a three-part window: the Library contains available Items to place in the test, the canvas area contains the test assembly, and the Properties Panel provides space where controls will appear if a properties icon (a picture of gears) is clicked.
Tip -> Tests can be divided into two subordinated levels: Test parts, and sections. A Test part is the first tier division of a Test, while the section is the second tier division. Test divisions, however, are optional, and they are added in reverse order. For instance, in the event that a test should not have any divisions, all Items will simply be added to Part 1 Section 1. If only one level of division will be needed, adding sections will allow a test to be divided into two. If both levels of subordination are required, adding new Test parts will be needed.
Step 5: Add new sections by clicking on the blue New section button below the existing sections in the test. To add new test parts, click on the blue New test part button below the existing test parts.
In general, a pop-quiz is not going to be a full examination with Test parts and sections, but it is comforting to know that if you needed to build such a Test quickly, it is possible.
Tip -> At the start of any section, a Rubric Block or explanatory text can be entered in prior to insertion of interactions. To do this, click on the icon with the letter "A" in it, and then click on the blue New Rubric Block button that appears.
Step 6: Add new items by selecting them from the Test Library.
First, click on the Item that will be needed, and then click on the light blue text block that reads Add selected item(s) here.
Tip -> Adding these in the order in which they are desired to appear on the delivered Test is useful, but if an Item is added out of order, the order can be corrected by clicking the upward or downward arrow buttons that appear after the properties icon behind the Item.
Unwanted Items can be deleted by clicking on the trash can icon. (Applying test properties is covered in its own section.)
Step 7: Determine which properties will need to be adjusted.
There are four levels in which properties may be assigned: Test level, Test part level, Section level, and Item level. These properties will appear in the Properties panel when the appropriate properties icon (depicted as three interacting gears) is clicked upon. The test level properties icon will be found within the test bar at the top of the canvas. Test part level properties icons will be found in each darker test part bar, while section level properties icons will be found on the same line as the section label. Item level properties icons will be found next to the interaction's label.
Step 8: Click on the Test level properties icon.
This brings up in the Properties panel two sections: one governing identifier and title, and the other governing time limits. The Identifier should, in general, be left alone, though this is editable. However, the Test Title can be renamed to make it easier for the Test-taker to identify it.
Time limits set for the Test can be added at the Item level, or at the Test level. To add a limit to the amount of time that the Test-taker has to submit all answers to the Test, open the Time Limits panel, and enter in the maximum duration (in hours, minutes, and seconds). If a late submission will be accepted, click on the appropriate check mark. If the duration is to be strictly enforced (no late submissions allowed), leave this unmarked.
Step 9: Click on the Test part level properties icon.
This brings up in the Properties panel three sections: a general properties portion, an item session control portion, and a time limits section. In the general portion, the identifier should be renamed as appropriate. The navigation, or how the Test-taker is allowed to answer questions, should be selected as either linear (first question first, second question second, etc.) or non-linear (can be answered in any order). Lastly, the submission mode will need to be selected as either individual (submitted response by response) or simultaneous (submitted at the end of the completing the test part).
In the item control section, four properties will need to be addressed. Max Attempts governs the number of tries the Test-taker may try (if left at the default of zero, an unlimited number of attempts may be tried). Show Feedback keeps modal feedback visible after the completion of the Test part. Allow Comment provides the Test-taker with the ability to provide explanations for performance or other sort of feedback on the Test. Allow Skipping lets the Test-taker pass on answering questions within the test part.
The time limits section is similar in nature to the time limits section for the test level properties, except that the answers apply to the Test part.
Step 10: Click on the section level properties icon.
This brings up in the Properties panel five sections: general properties, selection properties, ordering, Item session control, and time limits. The last two sections are the same as the last two portions of the Test part properties, while the first three portions differ from previous levels. The general properties includes an identifier and title: the Identifier should generally be kept as defaulted, while the Title can be changed to suit the test. In general, the Visible checkmark should be checked (else the test-taker won't be able to see the section), and Keep Together should also be marked if completing the entire section before moving onto the next section is important.
The selection portion initially asks if the delivered Test section should include only some of the Items assigned it (Enable selection), and if so, how many (Select). If With Replacement is selected while selection mode is enabled, then questions may end up repeated. Normally, they are only allowed to be used once in a test sitting.
Ordering contains only one property setting, and that is Shuffle, a function that sets the question order randomly like shuffling a deck of cards.
Step 11: Click on the Item level properties icon.
This brings up in the Properties panel three sections: general properties, Item session control, and time limits. The last two sections are the same as the last two portions of both Test part and section level properties. The general properties include entries for: Identifier, Reference, and Categories. It also includes check boxes to indicate the Item is required and if it is fixed.
Identifier and references generally do not require modification. Categories act as tag references which may be displayed to the Test-taker. If the Item is checked as required, then it will appear on the Test, even if less than the total number of Items appears on a given Test (such as would be the case in a section where selection is enabled). If the Item is fixed, it will appear in a particular order, even if the section ordering calls for shuffling.
Step 12: Give your Test a trial run.
This may be done through a dummy Test-taker account that you would have set up at the start of the academic year. Doing a trial run ensures that everything will run as expected when the students go through their assessment. Once the Test has been checked and everything is working as expected, you'll next want to set up Delivery.