Exam development projects, based on the department's collaborative rapid development model, consist of the standard stages.  At the develop stage, the development undergoes an iterative design cycle: products are designed, built, reviewed, revised.  This cycle continues until the product has met the accepted Official Curriculum standards.  To help focus work, development operates with two domains: building exams at the macro level; and constructing items at the micro level.


To facilitate design, instructional designers create exam blueprints, based on programs of study and accepted standards.  These exam blueprints outline the distribution of content and difficulty levels in a master worksheet. Next, exam builders assemble items from the item bank to meet the exam blueprint requirements to make one or more exam forms.  Item placement is recorded in the blueprint for each form.  Lastly, exam reviewers use checklists based on guidelines to review the exam for format and validity. These reviewers report revisions to the instructional designers and exam builders.  Subsequently, exam builders and item writers complete the revisions. The new product is submitted for further review and any additional revisions.  Once the exam meets the Official Curriculum standards, the instructional designer submits the exam to the curriculum coordinator and the dean to be given the Official Curriculum stamp.   With the final product, the exam support assistant exports the exam to the Word template and publishes it as a PDF.


Once the exam blueprints are released, item writers research sample questions, select readings, consult assessment standards, and review the program of studies.  They then begin writing items in various formats, from multiple choice, numeric response, to written response, with required elements, such as equations, basic images, and short reading passages. Item writers enter these items in the item bank and then classify them by outcome and estimated difficulty.  Item writers submit a list of complex images or lengthy readings to the exam lead. In turn, the exam lead assigns the image work to a media developer.  Similarly, the lead assigns extensive readings to the exam support assistant for entry into the item bank.  After check-in, the item reviewers use checklists based on guidelines to review the items for correct construction, estimated difficulty and validity. Items requiring revision are then passed to the instructional designers and item writers who carry out the revisions.  Lastly, the items are submitted for review and any final revisions.  Once complete, the instructional designers release the items in the item bank for use by exam builders.

Project Stages
  • Analyze
  • Prepare
  • Plan
  • Develop
  • Implement
  • Review
  • Revise
  • Evaluate
  • Maintain
Develop Stage
  • Design
  • Build
  • Review
  • Revise