OWL Blog

OWL version 4.1

With OWL version 4.1 our developers have gone beyond introducing new features and improving functionality; they have launched a whole new way to build your tests. The new OWL Beta Test Builder has not only simplified online test building by putting everything on one page; it has also made online item editing more efficient. Even more important, it creates a new structure on which to continuously expand online testing capabilities.

EASIER way to Build Online Tests
By pre-selecting many of the most common test building preferences, the OWL Beta Test Builder puts all the test building controls on one screen. Simplified property controls, allow users to further tweak settings, if necessary.  Additionally, the Beta Test Builder provides a way to do bulk property updating. This means users can choose one property (i.e., think time, require answer, etc.) and view or change the setting for every item on their test. We encourage our users to test drive this editor as it It offers a more efficient way to create items and offers features that cannot be achieved in the current editor. With the valuable input of our OWL users, we look forward to it eventually replacing the original test building interface.

In response to our users' demands, the OWL Beta Test Builder also allows you to do quickly upload and incorporate audio items in bulk.  These means that users can record and edit their audio prompts using their favorite recording software. This feature provides a way for users to easily incorporate their best quality pre-recorded sound files on their online test items.

MORE ways to Test Understanding
We are excited to be offering an whole new way to test understanding and language skills with this latest OWL release.  Now OWL users can quickly build jumble test items using either a horizontal or vertical format. These items require the examinee to put elements into the proper order. For example, you can test knowledge of the proper steps in a process or the proper order of sentences to effectively convey a thought. Understanding of proper sentence structure can be assessed using the horizontal display option.

Another new feature presented with OWL version 4.1 is the audio prompt replay penalty. The replay penalty can be used to determine listening capabilities. The replay penalty allows the test builder to deduct a percentage of the item's points each time the examinee plays the test item's audio prompt before responding to the question.

MORE Options for Presenting your Online Assessment
Shown here is the simplified test taker interface for oral response items. It presents the examinee with very large controls for playing and recording audio. This makes the interface even more apparent for younger examinees or examinees who are not testing in their native language. Another feature designed to assist your test taker, is the audible response prompt. This prompt is a beep that plays after the think time has expired and prior to the recorder beginning on an oral response item.
OWL version 4.1 also offers test creators a way to show images as large as the width of the test taker's screen.. Often our users create a series of questions around a highly detailed image. Now they can set the image's width to display as large as the width of the tester's screen. It should be noted that the increased size may cause the image to be so large that the test taker must use their scroll bars to see the entire item and its corresponding questions. However, some of our test creators have indicated that this a worthwhile tradeoff.

ADDITIONAL System Improvements
The OWL Test Management System undergoes continuous development to maintain secure and reliable browser-based online testing that is compatible with the dynamic update environment of popular browsers. In addition, our developers have used this latest release to make certain functions more accessible. For example, adding audio prompts to your online tests is now even easier. As has always been the case, OWL allows online test builders the ability to prompt students in both their native language and a targeted language. Improvements in functionality make this process more reliable.

For OWL system administrators will be pleased to find new tools as well. These are users responsible for managing the OWL Test Management System for their enterprise. System administrators can now more efficiently manage testing with a registration code building interface. Administrators will also have more access to help their users with making adjustments to their OWL-built tests.

We are very pleased with the many new features offered in this latest release. Current OWL users can find complete documentation of these new features under the current release notes in the OWL help documentation. We encourage our users to test drive the beta editor as it will eventually replace the existing version. It  offers a more efficient way to create items and offers features that cannot be achieved in the original editor. We would love to hear what you think, OWL users can tell us about their experience with the Beta Test Builder at info@owlts.com.