The Benefits of Question Sharing and Collaboration

February 4, 2015 Kristen Hicks

Writing test questions that successfully gauge specific learning objectives can be difficult and tedious.

For any college that values assessment, successful exams are a must. The stakes for assessment are high, especially when exam analytics will be influencing important curricular decisions. For programs that aim to prepare students for licensure exams, the stakes are even higher.

Schools that commit to a culture of assessment can take certain steps to improve the questions students encounter on exams. Providing training or resources that encourage psychometric best practices is one solution; offering a voluntary program for the peer review of exam questions is another.

Sharing Exam Questions with Other Schools:

Creating an exam takes a lot of effort, but if you’re willing to share your work with instructors at other schools, you may be able to gain access to their test questions, which could make your life easier. In addition, the overall quality of your exams might improve, and that would help your students meet their learning goals.

But I Worked Hard On Those Questions!

When you put a lot of effort into exam creation, the idea of giving your work up for someone else to use can be unsettling. However, if you can get past the feeling of giving up something proprietary, you can appreciate gaining access to someone else’s proprietary work to help make your life easier as well.

This kind of question sharing between institutions only makes sense if it’s two sided. No institution’s likely to enter into a deal where they’re sharing their test questions with faculty that don’t do the same. Everyone has to accept the idea of sharing and collaboration, the end goal being that students entering the profession they’re working towards will be even more prepared. At the end of the day, isn’t that the end goal everyone is working toward?

Doesn’t This Make Cheating Easier?

Most graduate programs that lead up to licensure exams attract hard-working and dedicated students who want to be successful. They know that if they cheat, they’re only hurting themselves. In addition, students in those programs understand the importance of licensure exams; thus, cheating isn’t nearly as much of a concern as it is at the undergraduate level.

With that said, computer-based testing minimizes the risk of cheating. Exam questions are far less likely to end up on the Web if students aren’t walking away with paper tests. In addition, computer-based testing software locks down students’ devices during a test, so you don’t have to worry about them capturing screen shots or copy and pasting test questions for others to see.

With today’s technology, secure exams are possible and easier to achieve than they were in the pen-and-paper or Scantron days. Furthermore, better questions can make a big difference in the success of exam assessment.

Since you care about creating successful exams, why not let other experts in your field help? You’ll spend less time writing test questions, and your students will benefit by having a few extra brilliant minds shape their exams.


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