A test bank is a specific data base that holds tests from a gambit of teachers, educators and students who upload tests from their classes for others to download and use as a study guide. The test bank can have tests from universities, charter schools and k-12 public and private schools.
Test banks offer:
- Full length or practice length tests
- Answer keys for those tests
- Adobe test taking software for those to take the tests online
- Tests in PDF or Word formats for downloading
Test questions can be in any of the following formats:
- Multiple Choice
- Fill in the Blank
- Essay/Short Answer
- They are provided via the schools preferred software system and students do not have to leave the school’s network to take the test.
- Saves the teacher a significant amount of time since they do not have to utilize their time constructing test questions.
- They can be customized by teachers so that questions can be added or omitted.
- Teachers can save time from correcting tests.
- Tests can be set up so as to give the student immediate feedback and provide reference information for them to find the correct answer.
- Teachers can also see how students are fairing as they take their uploaded tests online. Teachers can use this as a guide to re-teach parts of the test that are overall confusing the students. The teacher can also see what questions are too easy and change them on the new test to challenge the students a bit more.
How are Test Banks useful for Students?
Test banks are useful for students because they allow students to take practice tests to see how well they might do on the actual exam in class. Students can study parts that they were weaker on or did not understand. Immediate feedback can be given, and the teacher can be there to provide information and to help the student with understanding the question.
- Good test banks have multiple tests per class per school. They have ranges of questions that student all over the country could register for and take online to see what they need work on and what they excel at.
- A quality test bank does require updates and constant work and user feedback. Schools should run their own test banks or buy into a preexisting test banks and make it free for the students to use.
- Test banks should have no limits on the amount of tests they can store and they are copyright protected.
- A great test bank may go back for years and provide students with helpful resources such as old test, test reviews, or handouts provided by the teacher to past students.
Test banks can provide students with immediate feedback!
Test banks offer students and teachers a helpful guide to gauging how well they are learning or teaching a subject.
- Students can study parts of the tests they do poorer on and teachers can see what their students are not understanding.
- Test banks can show students possible questions on an examine to help them prep for their exam.
- Students are better able to understand a teacher or professors exam technique or way of writing exams.
- Test banks “increases students’ study time productivity by providing access to past examinations” (Dahlgran, 2004).
- Test banks provide topical organization of past examination items (Dahlgran, 2004).
Some of the drawbacks of testbanks are the following:
- Test banks can be costly if school do not pay for their students to use them.
- Test banks can infringe on some copyright protected tests so they would not be able to carry certain tests because of this reason.
- Standardized tests companies have their own database for their questions. When accessed by others in order to prep for such tests the potentional examinee are constantly being charged in order to access the test bank database.
- Test banks can also promote cheating. Please see the article titled, “Test Banks, Professor Evaluations, and Tag Team Attendance”
- Students may memorize the answers to an exam instead of learning or being able to conceptualize the material that was taught in class.
Teachers should follow the online signup and register for the test bank’s website. Each site has their own way of uploading tests and the formats those test should be in to load them. The key is for teachers to read the specific instructions for each software program and test bank file.
Students should also take note as to specific instructions for the test they are taking, since they are often unique to the company that has provided the software.