ExamBank: a Pedagogic and Administrative System to Provide Effective Student Feedback and Stable Assessment Across Disciplines

Deborah O'Mara, Rosanne Quinnell, Imogene Rothnie, Leo Davies, Matthew Pye

Abstract


Engaging students in the effective use of assessment feedback to meet learning objectives is critical. ExamBank is a software tool developed by the Sydney Medical School (SMS) to manage the assessment process for high stakes and formative examinations from item and examination creation to statistical reporting and the delivery of student feedback. ExamBank has been implemented in four medical schools in Australia and overseas and in other faculties at The University of Sydney, including The School of Biological Sciences. ExamBank tracks the assessment lifecycle from creation of draft items through peer review and approval to performance in multiple examinations over time. The web-based interface means ExamBank can be accessed by academics remotely via a secure login system, which allows flexible role-based access for individual assessors. Questions can be meta-tagged with key curriculum information (e.g. learning objective, subject area, unit of study, year). Statistical performance indicators for each question can be stored in the database and used to audit assessments. The implementation of ExamBank in two faculties at The University of Sydney is described to illustrate how a technology-enabled reporting system enables academics to improve the quality of assessments and the resulting improvements in curriculum design, implementation and administration and in feedback to students. This study is the first to describe the use of an item banking system for improvement of tertiary academic assessments in medical and biological science degrees in Australia.

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