Functional Testing: Item Authoring

The purpose of this particular guide is to offer help and guidance for checking your test throughout the creation and administration procedure. This includes checking content created in Item Authoring, creating a clone of a test to schedule and sit yourself in Test Creation and Test Administration, and running functionality tests on computers in preparation for e-assessment.

It is of vital importance that tests are sufficiently monitored and checked throughout the creation and administration process. Functionality testing is an invaluable part of the delivery of on-screen tests; it helps to avoid the occurrence of problems when creating and delivering tests, leading to a smooth test delivery and a better candidate experience.

This document acts as a guidance procedure only – there may be other processes that need to take place before a test can be judged as ready for a live test scenario. 

Item Authoring


Your test content will receive its first checks in the Item Authoring section of Surpass. It is recommended you check the content for mistakes or formatting issues as this will save you from having to go back to Item Authoring later. Below, we have listed some core tips for checking work at the Item Authoring stage:
  • Use the ‘Preview’ tab throughout the creation process. This lets you interact with the page as the candidate would, so you can ensure everything looks and operates as it should, that the right answer options have been assigned as correct, and that the correct marks have been specified for the question.
  • Check every question to see if the correct mark schemes have been uploaded, where necessary.
  • Check that multiple options can be selected where applicable.
  • Check the marks have been correctly set for questions with the “Only award mark if candidate selects all correct options” tickbox ticked.
  • Check that questions have been correctly set as Human Marked or Computer (Auto) Marked.
  • Check every sentence for spelling and grammar mistakes, or typographical errors.
  • Check that tags have been allocated correctly, with no spelling mistakes that could cause difficulty when searching by tags in Test Creation.  

If you are using a File Attach question type, you may also wish to check the following:

  • In Preview mode, click on the download hotspot to make sure the file opens correctly (and that the correct file opens)
  • In Preview mode, click on the upload hotspot to check that the Hotspot Type and Parameters are correct. You may wish to schedule and sit a clone test to check the upload manager is working correctly.
  • Make sure the question has been correctly set to Human Marked. 

Note: The purpose of these articles is to provide you with general advice in the fields of assessment and testing. These articles are not intended to replace any regulations or instructions provided by your organisation, but may be used in conjunction with these materials to support the assessment process.

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