Podcast: Global Skills-Based Certification

Posted by Joan Phaup

I chatted with Adam Zaller from Services University of NCR during the Questionmark 2009 Users Conference. Adam told me about the university’s global skills-based certification program for customer engineers who repair equipment such as ATMs in more than 45 countries. From day one, the most experienced engineers have helped design and build the program. That includes helping to provide test content.

Listen in on our conversation to find out more.

How to Create a Multiple Choice Question in Questionmark Perception

Want to know how to author a multiple choice question in Questionmark Perception? This software simulation from our Learning Cafe will take you through the process of writing your question stimulus and possible answers, then assigning scores and optional feedback for each answer. In just 3 minutes you’ll know the basics.


This is just one of many simulations available in the Learning Cafe, which has two sections — one about best practices and the other about the workings of Questionmark Perception. Feel free to take a advantage of these resources anytime you like.

Podcast: David Lewis on Large Scale Online Assessments at Glamorgan University


Posted By Sarah Elkins

David Lewis of Glamorgan University has extensive experience with Questionmark Perception. I spoke with him recently about the large scale implementation he has been working on at Glamorgan, where they use Questionmark for formative assessment, summative assessment and module evaluation. David also spoke about the training programs that have been developed within the University, the collaboration with other higher education institutions in Wales, and provided some great advice for anyone working with online assessments.

Take Our Quiz on Writing Good Test Questions

howard-headshot-smallPosted by Howard Eisenberg

Questionmark Live has made it easier than ever for subject matter experts to write test questions. But since we’ve always thought that providing good learning resources is just as important as creating great testing and assessment software, we’ve put together this 11-question quiz to help anyone — SMEs included — brush up on their item writing skills and review best practices.

The quiz is based on research literature including Criterion-referenced Test Development by Sharon Shrock and Bill Coscarelli and Validating Multiple-Choice Tests Items by Thomas M. Haladyna. So the guidelines it offers relate to criterion-referenced rather than norm-referenced score interpretations. Different domains might require different approaches. We regard resources like this quiz as a way of contributing to the ongoing process of learning about assessment. In that spirit, we welcome your suggestions and would be happy to modify our current learning resources and/or create new ones to address the needs of other domains.

Now on to the quiz! Be sure to look for your feedback after you have completed it!

Seven years of web services for easier integrations

john_smallPosted by John Kleeman

A key objective for Questionmark Perception has been to make it an open system that handles integrations easily. Assessment isn’t usually standalone; most organizations need to integrate it with other organizational systems. There are many ways to integrate with Perception, including via our support of standards such as AICC, HR-XML and SCORM, but where standards are not available we recommend integration via our QMWISe web services.

Although web services are routine today, Questionmark adopted them very early: June 6th, 2009, marks the 7th anniversary of Questionmark’s web services, which we call QMWISe. (See our 2002 press release here.)

Two great advantages of web services are that you can call them from almost any platform or system and they are independent of the technology used. So you can code web services in almost any programming language or environment and interface with Questionmark Perception.

Another beauty of web services is that code written back in 2002 will still work in 2009,and code written today should still work in 2016! In the last seven years, there have been very substantial changes to the Questionmark Perception database format and to the user interfaces, but the APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) remain the same. And exactly the same code written then to call QMWISe will still work now. We have ambitious plans to continue developing Questionmark software in new ways, but code our customers write today for QMWISe will still work in the future.

Back in 2002, there were 37 web services methods. Over the years, we’ve added lots more methods and there are now 109. Example web services methods are to create a participant, schedule a participant or give a URL to get access to an assessment.

Many of our customers use QMWISe to integrate with Perception, so that as Perception versions change, their code can remain safe. We or our partners have also used QMWISe to build connectors to many other systems, including Blackboard, Moodle and uPortal. We also call QMWISe within our own software. For instance, Questionmark to Go passes all its results back via web services, and in the future we’ll be trying to use QMWISe more within other code–to “eat our own dog food” and ensure that QMWISe is fully able to be mission critical. By using web services within our own code, we will be driving QMWISe forward to cover more capabilities and so open up the platform to support a wide range of solutions integrated with third party applications.

One key lesson that we’ve learned over time with web services is that commitment and continuity are vital. No one wants to interface with a system that will change. And you need to have good documentation with examples, good scalability and good diagnostics–for instance a log of all SOAP traffic. We recommend that other developers consider making web services available from their own systems: it’s an excellent way of integrating.

In the future we’ll be announcing further improvements to QMWISe that should make it more useful for developers and provide easier ways for customers to integrate with Perception. Questionmark strongly recommends that anyone developing integration into our software uses our web services. We welcome questions, comments and suggestions for improvements, so let us know what you think!

Podcast: Using Questionmark Perception for Placement Tests

Posted by Joan Phaup

Rich Edwards, a professor at Kirkwood Community College recently began using Perception for placement tests.  You can get some tips on how to do this by listening to my interview with him: