March/April 2001 // Letters to the Editor
Question and Test Interoperability Critical for the Development of Shared Assessment Materials
by Mary Harrsch
Note: This article was originally published in The Technology Source ( as: Mary Harrsch "Question and Test Interoperability Critical for the Development of Shared Assessment Materials" The Technology Source, March/April 2001. Available online at The article is reprinted here with permission of the publisher.

WebAssign, the homework tool described in John Dutton's (2001) "Tools" article in the January-February edition of The Technology Source, is obviously a feature-rich product. However, the WebAssign development team has not yet committed to compliance with the new IMS (instructional management system) question and test interoperability standard adopted by the IMS global learning consortium in August.

The IMS QTI Standard, based on extensible markup language (XML), defines a standard format that allows interoperability for questions and tests between different computer systems and different users. The standard format will allow publishers to provide questions and tests in a format everyone can use. As the global learning consortium points out, "At present, there is no easy way to package computerized questions and tests for sale. Publishers or other content providers typically either provide their material in paper or word-processor format, or else in one proprietary computer format, along with delivery software. This makes it hard to sell widely useful questions and tests, and also difficult to include assessment material with learning content" (Kleeman, 2000, paragraph 8).

To learn more about the new standard see the IMS global learning consortium Web site.


Dutton, J. (2001, January-February). WebAssign: A better homework delivery tool. The Technology Source. Retrieved February 15, 2001 from the World Wide Web:

Kleeman, J. (2000). IMS question & test interoperability: Frequently asked questions. IMS Global Learning Consortium Web site. Retrieved December 19, 2000 from the World Wide Web:

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