Toward Developing a Syllabus-Oriented Computer-Based Question-Banks Software to Support Partially Computerized Exams


Aims: This study aims at designing and implementing syllabus-oriented question-bank system that is capable of producing paper-based exams with multiple forms along with answer keys. The developed software tool is named Χ(Chi)-Pro Milestone and supports four types of questions, namely: Multiple-choice, True/False, Short-Answer and Free-Response Essay questions. The study is motivated by the fact that student number in schools and universities is continuously growing at high, non-linear, and uncontrolled rates. This growth, however, is not accompanied by an equivalent growth of educational resources (mainly: instructors, classrooms, and labs). A direct result of this situation is having relatively large number of students in each classroom. It is observed that providing and using online-examining systems could be intractable and expensive. As an alternative, paper-based exams can be used. One main issue is that manually produced paper-based exams are of low quality because of some human factors such as instability and relatively narrow range of topics [1]. Further, it is observed that instructors usually need to spend a lot of time and energy in composing paper-based exams with multiple forms. Therefore, the use of computers for automatic production of paper-based exams from question banks is becoming more and more important. Methodology: The design and evaluation of X-Pro Milestone are done by considering a basic set of design principles that are based on a list of identified Functional and Non-Functional Requirements. Deriving those requirements is made possible by developing X-Pro Milestone using the Iterative and Incremental model from software engineering domain. Results: We demonstrate that X-Pro Milestone has a number of excellent characteristics compared to the exam-preparation and question banks tools available in market. Some of these characteristics are: ease of use and operation, user-friendly interface and good usability, high security and protection of the question bank-items, high stability, and reliability. Further, X-Pro Milestone makes initiating, maintaining and archiving Question-Banks and produced exams possible. Putting X-Pro Milestone into real use has showed that X-Pro Milestone is easy to be learned and effectively used. We demonstrate that X-Pro Milestone is a cost-effective alternative to online examining systems with more and richer features and with low infrastructure requirements.

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Bani-Ahmad, S. (2015) Toward Developing a Syllabus-Oriented Computer-Based Question-Banks Software to Support Partially Computerized Exams. Journal of Software Engineering and Applications, 8, 252-268. doi: 10.4236/jsea.2015.85026.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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