How Mapping Assessment Items Can Make Your Life Easier


Implementing a new educational technology takes time and energy—two things in short supply for just about everyone these days. If you’re going to put the time in to learn how to do things a new way, there needs to be a payoff.

Like most things worth doing, beginning the task of mapping assessment items does involve some upfront work. Fortunately, the benefits it provides to students, faculty and admins, and your own program will justify any extra hours, and with an efficient and easy assessment tool you’ll also find it makes everyone’s life easier.

Item Mapping Benefits for Students

Students’ ambitions and willingness to work play a huge role in their success, but the tools an institution is able to equip them with along the way can make a difference as well.

A good assessment tool doubles as a performance reporting tool, providing students the data they need to shape a more successful course in higher education. Personalized, easy-to-understand reports provide students the feedback they need to do the following:

  • Pinpoint skills or subject areas they need to focus their remediation efforts on
  • Make an informed decision on the best career paths to pursue based on their strengths and weaknesses
  • Study more effectively for finals and board exams

Item Mapping Benefits for Faculty

Creating and administering exams becomes simpler once you have access to a program that keeps every part of the process in one place with an intuitive interface. To achieve the best results, you’ll need to spend some time “tagging” your items to categories—outcomes, objectives, and competencies you’d like to measure. Depending on how large your item bank is this might seem like a daunting project, but the value you’ll get out of that data will be well worth it. That’s because the data provided by mapping your assessment items can provide real-time insight into how students are performing—making it easy to identify those in need of student remediation and to determine if changes need to be made to curriculums.

Item Mapping Benefits for Administration

Administrators are tasked with finding room in their schools’ budgets for a way to take on outcomes assessment. An efficient way of measuring student, course, and programmatic outcomes is by mapping exam items through an assessment software. By mapping exam items and harvesting the student performance data provided, the return on investment associated with such an investment can be found in improved student performance, a streamlined and secure testing process, course and program achievement, as well as assistance with aggregating the information needed for any accreditation visits.

The data that exam item mapping provides can help institutions better meet the standards required for accreditation; it can drive useful, effective changes in curriculums based on the needs of students; and it can give administrators a powerful tool to make their programs stronger for current students and more attractive to potential ones. While the implementation of any assessment tool requires up front preparation, the rewards of that work are insurmountable.