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An Overview of the APIS project

Sarah Holyfield
15 Jun, 2005
An overview of the APIS (Assessment Provision through Interoperable Segments) project one of the original Toolkit 2004 projects.

The APIS project supports both formative and summative assessment by providing an easy to use code library that delivers and processes individual questions. APIS currently supports questions stored in a subset of the IMS Question and Test Interoperability (QTI) v2.0 specification, and should eventually support all QTI v2.0 questions.

Together with the code libraries, the project has also explored the integration of QTI resources with IMS Learning Design and Simple Sequencing tools in order to facilitate a wider range of assessment activities.

APIS is suitable for integration into a wide variety of systems, and is particularly suitable for formative assessment because it supports rich feedback to the student.

The original proposal discussed how this approach could enable a variety of approaches to teaching and learning to be realised, and allow institutions and individuals to tailor their online assessment materials to suit their pedagogic methodologies

Below are two scenarios developed by the project detailing situations in which the APIS engine could be used.

Scenario 1: integrating assessment with other teaching

Formal summative assessment at the end of a course or unit of learning is generally delivered in a stand-alone context, but in order to support the learning process itself it is helpful to be able to incorporate questions and short tests within course material. APIS allows QTI assessment resources to be embedded within courses and tutorials created using Learning Design or Simple Sequencing by exploiting services such as those provided by SBLDS and ISIS. A learner’s performance on these embedded assessment resources can then be used to determine the path through learning materials the learner takes, producing an individualised learning experience targeted at the learner’s identified areas of weakness and supported by rich feedback on errors.

Scenario 2: minimising cheating

The APIS engine can be used for both summative and formative assessment. Summative assessments should be delivered in accordance with institutional regulations and the relevant national codes of practice. In summative scenarios, the engine can be used to deliver a fixed number of questions from a larger ‘pool’ of questions. Alternatively, in numerical subjects, all candidates may be presented with the same question but with different variables presented to each candidate; parameters can be put in place to ensure that all candidates are presented with questions of equivalent difficulty. These strategies both negate any benefits to candidates from cheating while ensuring that the same skills and knowledge are assessed for each student.


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