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IMS Global Learning Consortium Announces the Next Generation for the Leading Digital Assessment Standard

The Latest Version of the QTI Standard Enables Accessible and Adaptive Online Testing Environments to Support States, Institutions, and Assessment Content and Service Suppliers

LAKE MARY, Florida, 17 December 2019 — IMS Global Learning Consortium (IMS Global/IMS), the world-leading non-profit collaborative advancing educational technology impact, announced that the breakthrough Question and Test Interoperability® (QTI®) 3.0 standard has progressed to Candidate Final status and is available for IMS member adoption and certification.

QTI is the only interoperability standard for authoring, delivery, scoring, reporting, and exchange of online tests. Advancements in the new version include improved interoperability and increased consistency of rendering, full support for HTML5 and other web-friendly markups, support for technology-enhanced items via Portable Custom Interactions (PCI), and a shared vocabulary for standard presentation, including CSS. The specification enhances accessibility, incorporating the best of Accessible Portable Item Protocol® (APIP®), and supporting WC3 specifications and best practices. QTI 3.0 also includes native support for the growing trend of Computer Adaptive Testing (CAT).

“QTI has led advancements in digital assessments on a global basis for 20 years now and QTI 3.0 is yet another breakthrough enabling the most advanced assessment techniques to be fully accessible, provide actionable and timely data, and meet the full range of formative and summative needs,” said Dr. Rob Abel, chief executive officer, IMS Global Learning Consortium.

QTI 3.0 has progressed through successful alpha and beta specification development. A developer community website has been set up for IMS members while the QTI 3.0 work is offered as a candidate final release, providing a rich set of examples that showcase the new features and capabilities of QTI 3.0 and the improved data accessibility model. Technical resources include the specification documents and the conformance certification tests. A conversion tool to move QTI 2.x content to QTI 3.0 and a reference implementation delivery platform are forthcoming.

The QTI 3.0 workgroup is led by ETS, Pearson, OAT, NWEA, ACT, and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, with the support of other suppliers and institutions and internal testing being completed by several early adopters. In accordance with IMS policies and procedures, upon successful completion of conformance certification testing by multiple products, the QTI 3.0 specification will become available as a Public Final standard.

QTI has made an impact on digital assessment since its inception. Pearson has used QTI 2.x/APIP in the development of 31 million items in curriculum products, district interim assessments, and items for homeschooling. The average items delivered and scored per minute during school hours were 60,000, with averages significantly increasing during peak assessment windows. In an upcoming product release, Smarter Balanced is building the capacity to make available its test items in the QTI 3.0 format, including scoring and accessibility information.

Another important impact of QTI is assessment item sharing. The Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) exchanged items with the Minnesota Department of Education and the New York City Department of Education, demonstrating successful state-level to state-level and district-level to state-level item exchange. MSDE is also developing a state-owned QTI-based item bank that will enable easier sharing of assessment content within Maryland and with other states.

"Requiring vendors to become IMS certified for QTI has helped Maryland move to 100% online testing, as accessibility supports for text-to-speech, American Sign Language, and closed captioning for online videos—to name just a few—ensure that all students can participate in online assessments. It also enables Maryland to remain in compliance with sections 504 and 508 of the Federal Rehabilitation Act. The QTI standard has enabled Maryland to hold vendors accountable for the functionality of their proprietary item banks and online delivery systems, ensuring that content can be ported between vendor systems and seamlessly delivered to students across multiple device types, operating systems, and network configurations, avoiding large-scale online testing failures. For the past four years, Maryland has tested 100% online, delivering over one million assessments annually, to approximately 2,000 schools. Moving to 100% online assessment means being able to move beyond multiple-choice and more effectively assess content knowledge and critical thinking skills, leveraging technology to develop tests that are more authentic to teaching and learning."
—James Dale Cornelius, Chief Information Officer, Maryland State Department of Education
“The QTI interoperability standard allows states to produce higher-quality assessments at a lower cost. The ability to efficiently migrate a state’s assessment assets, including stimuli, questions, scoring information, and accessibility features, across or between vendor delivery platforms and know that the functionality and scoring information will not change creates a more reliable measure of student knowledge and skills. Interoperability through QTI 3.0 will continue to provide more students access to online assessments by providing improved accommodations and accessibility controls to meet the needs of all students.”
—Dawn Cameron, Specialty and Technical Innovations, Statewide Assessment, Minnesota Department of Education
“ACT is very excited about the pending release of QTI 3.0, the next generation of QTI. QTI 3.0 will significantly improve assessment interoperability, ensuring our content renders as it was intended and will enhance our ability to make our content truly accessible to everyone helping ACT continue to close the equity gap. ACT’s vision of building innovation in assessment through the power of open source and open standards can only be realized through the impressive work that IMS Global and its member organizations do. We truly appreciate all the effort that went into realizing the vision of QTI 3.0 and look forward to its broad adoption by the market very soon.”
—Jason Carlson, Vice President Strategy/Enterprise Architecture, ACT
"We are looking forward to the release of QTI 3.0. It was a great experience to be part of the working group and be one of the co-chairs of QTI 3.0. The members are experts with many years of experience working with QTI. The new version represents a significant upgrade to the specification that will provide major benefits. It streamlines and integrates APIP back into the core specification, reducing confusion in the market place and enabling vendors to provide better accessibility support and incorporate best practices into their platforms benefiting learners. It also enables improved interoperability and increased consistency of rendering assessment content across platforms. The new documentation is greatly improved with code examples that also demonstrate how to build-in accessibility. For vendors that are new to the specification, an updated beginner’s guide will help them get up to speed quickly."
—Gary Driscoll, Senior Strategic Advisor, ETS
"In order to improve its interoperability with other assessment companies, NWEA transitioned its item storage and transportation format from a proprietary format to the IMS QTI format a little over five years ago. NWEA is looking forward to supporting the QTI 3.0 format after its release."
—Justin Marks, Senior Director, System & Solutions Development, NWEA
"The new version of QTI is going to help us meet the needs of test makers and test-takers in TAO with even better interoperability and accessibility. Our customers are already eager to take advantage of the new features and we're encouraged that the new certification process will make exchanging assessment content easier for everyone."
—Mark Molenaar, CTO, Open Assessment Technologies
“QTI 3.0 offers our partners and customers vast interoperability and accessibility improvements. Greater precision in item rendering across delivery platforms improves how assessment content is presented. Plus, QTI 3.0's improved adherence with accessibility standards and technology allows assessment content authors and delivery platforms to provide a more equitable assessment experience for all learners.”
—Paul Grudnitski, Vice President, Architecture, Pearson School Assessments

For more information on QTI and related IMS digital assessment standards go to www.imsglobal.org/activity/qtiapip.

About IMS Global Learning Consortium
IMS Global is a non-profit organization that advances technology to scale and improve educational participation and attainment affordably. IMS Global members are leading suppliers, higher education institutions, K-12 districts and schools, and government organizations that are enabling better teaching and learning by collaborating on interoperability and adoption initiatives. IMS Global sponsors the Learning Impact Leadership Institute, an annual program focused on recognizing the impact of innovative technology on educational access, affordability, and quality while developing the leadership and ideas to help shape the future of educational technology.