Preparing Item Banks in Cameroon



During 2007, Micro Centre Pythagore was associated with a consultation mission to Cameroon in the Project to Support Education System (PASE) for preparing learning evaluation instruments. Initially, there was preparation of the intervention strategy and identifying the equipment necessary for the execution of the activities planned relative to the methodology. Prior to the mission, there were two meetings held in the offices of the head of the consultation. During these meetings, there was discussion on the conduct of missions planned for the project. The program of activities has been fixed and the list of documents to be produced. The consultant proposed a number of documents that can facilitate the conduct of the activities.


The program fixed for this project included interventions with different groups of participants. The planned training seminars have enabled them to acquire the skills required to design and use guides and student learning assessment tools. Here is the program of activities for these seminars:

  • Introduction to training


  • Presentation of the basic concepts on assessment of student learning


  • Presentation of tables of specification


  • Planning a test


  • Items Specifications


  • Development and validation of tables of specification


  • Presentation and consultation tables of specification


  • Item Development


  • Pooling provincial productions


  • Pooling of provincial and national productions


The activities carried out during this mission are associated to the following areas: i) the presentation of evaluation methodology; ii) the proposed technical works; iii) drafting, by participants, of items and evaluation tools; iv) supervision by the consultant of the production. Moreover, various activities were conducted in relation to practices used in Cameroon. Initially, official curricula have been reviewed and analyzed to locate the evaluation of learning in relation to objectives. Compared to assessment practices adopted in Cameroon, we analyzed national examinations used in recent academic years. This reference to the Cameroonian reality in terms of learning evaluation helped contextualize the proposed amendments and additions.

The majority of the time scheduled for the seminars has been assigned to the production of assessment instruments. After analyzing some tests used in Cameroon, the participants were aware of the characteristics of instrumentation adhere to high quality standards. This review of assessment instruments was first focused on the tests themselves; then, there has been verification of the items.

Participants were invited to write items with respect to areas part of a discipline. Initially, production focused on the third grade. In addition, participants were asked to consider each taxonomic level to allow the use of items banks to prepare tests to different forms of assessment. The drafting of the items was done within work teams.

The consultant was available to participants to answer specific questions. Moreover, once a series of items was ready (for example, those related to a subdomain), the consultant did the review. Subsequently, there was meeting with teams to detect possible anomalies in the formulation of items or the content itself. Then there were adjustments made by members of work teams. Subsequently, the items and tests were given to the consultant who was sorting by subject and grade level. There was, thereafter, data entry on computers.[1]

During the last week of the seminars, there were preparing tests from the available items banks then. The following approach was chosen:

1.    First, participants of each work team had to select the type of test to prepare and complete a work sheet. Thus some tests allow a summative evaluation, while others are located in relation to the formative or diagnostic assessment.


2.    The participants were then invited to make an inventory of the contents of their items banks with respect to the link of items to subdomains and taxonomic levels.


3.    Taking into account the intentions pursued by the tests to develop, participants had to prepare a table of specification.


4.    Then there was the choice of items to be used to meet the objectives of the tests and the tables of specification.


5.    Participants then write the student’s booklet and the marking guide. They also had to provide the administrative guide of the test.


After the completion of each test, the consultant examined the various documents written and did comments on the work. Participants brought, if necessary, changes to documents constituting each set of tests.

This mission carried out in Cameroon in 2007 required extensive travel in the country. The activities took place as planned in each of the seminars included in the consultant program. Three seminars were held in different parts of the country. Almost 2500 items were drafted in over ten disciplines. The productions were performed in French and English; animation activities has been bilingual. It should be noted that the curricula are different according to the language of instruction. It has been necessary to respect that the works were performed.


[1]    View the large number of items, it was not possible to capture all the productions during the seminars.


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