Test creation software?
October 5, 2009 1:25 PM   Subscribe

Please help me find software for creating tests from a bank of questions, ideally open-source and even more ideally Linux.

I teach at a community college, and (most of) the texts I use come with proprietary test creation software and prefab testbanks. The test questions range from mediocre to bloody awful, so I generally delete some questions and rewrite some proportion of the remaining.

I've recently bought a new laptop and think it's about time to get around to developing my own bank of test questions (as I've meant to for years), and I don't want to be yoked to a proprietary software format and at the mercy of book publisher whims.

Is there an independent test creation software package that's any good? Better yet, as I'm running Ubuntu on my new machine, is there a Linux package? When I search for linux/ubuntu test software, all that seems to come up is software to test code, not software to write tests.
posted by fogovonslack to Computers & Internet (6 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
It sounds like you're looking for a Learning Management System.

Moodle seems to be the most popular open source LMS, but there are alternatives.
posted by Loser at 2:22 PM on October 5, 2009

Maybe it's my own biases speaking, but if the OP is teaching classes in a classroom, rather than online, I don't think Moodle will do it. It sounds like the request is more for software to generate tests which can be printed out and distributed in a class exam setting. This is something that some people I know have unsucessfully looked into (closest we've come is to propose hacking together some questions and answers into a db and using Ruby to spit out LaTeX sourcefiles, but we haven't actually done it).
posted by Alterscape at 2:54 PM on October 5, 2009

I'm not entirely clear on the intended application - if you're just looking to make it possible for your students to test themselves, the online quiz site Sporcle might do the trick for you - they recently opened up the site for user-created quizzes. I sort of suspect that's not what you're looking for though.

This also sounds relatively easy to do on a webpage using CGI.
posted by Salvor Hardin at 3:34 PM on October 5, 2009

I run academic IT for a community college. Currently, there is no general solution to your problem. If you're awesome with programming and whatnot, go for XML and you'll have a wealth of tools later to cram it into whatever format you need.

Moodle is promising, but bear in mind the format it uses is Moodle proprietary with no export to other formats last I checked. Common Cartridge (CC) is supposed to be the general solution you are missing, but platform support for it can be lacking, and some popular tools don't even try. Eventually Moodle shuold export to CC, but at the moment I think their FAQ says something to the effect of "We're so awesome you'll never leave!"

Finally, software testing is an important field, so your Google searches should make use of synonyms for your meaning of 'test', like 'exam' or 'assessment'. Good luck!
posted by pwnguin at 3:43 PM on October 5, 2009

Here's the CC format for questions & testing, if that makes any sense to you.
posted by pwnguin at 3:45 PM on October 5, 2009

Response by poster: Alterscape hit the nail on the head--I'm looking for software to create paper tests (we already use Blackboard [ugh] for online classes).

I've got 2 proprietary packages that textbook publishers distribute, TestGen and ExamView, but I'm looking for something that isn't tied to a book publisher, so I don't have to change software when changing texts.
posted by fogovonslack at 5:42 AM on October 6, 2009

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