Item Building

Oral Response Items

  • An Oral Response Item is a task that requires the test taker to answer by speaking into a microphone.
  • The items are scored by a human rater usually using a rubric.
  • These Items usually have a set Think Time and Response Time

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Building Items
Help Page

Oral Response

Sync Playback
and Record

Language Audio


Other Optional Features

  • Sync Playback and Record - Examinee can narrate a video or interact with an audio file.
    More info: Sync Playback and Record Help Page
  • Target Language Audio - Allows you to use one test to evaluate Multiple Languages
    More Info: Target Language Help Page

  • Allow Examinee to Listen to their Recorded Response - Examinee can check their recorded answers before moving onto the next test item. If they are not satisfied with their response, they are able to record a new response. In OWL Tester, a green play arrow is added to the audio recorder.

    Enter the following keyword in the Oral Response Item's property editor: \sys:recording_listen\


  • Simplified Test Interface - The examinee's user interface has with very large controls for playing and recording audio.

    Enter the following keywo rd in the Oral Response Item's property editor: \sys:simple_ui\

  • NOTES: If you want the Test controls to be larger, enter the keyword into the -level Properties control.
    When using this feature place NO content in the Section header (i.e, text, images, audio or video files).
    This feature is for tests comprised of Oral Response and Directions Items only.

  • Auto Pilot - Auto pilot lets you take all the controls away from your test taker by requiring them to progress through your test at the pace you dictate. This means that a test taker will not be able to advance to the next item until the timer expires.
      1. Open the Item's property editor (see below)
      2. Set response time on the Item
      3. Set Enable Navigation = No


Oral Response Properties

Each Item's properties editor is launched by clicking on the control at the specific Item level (3).





(default options underlined)



My Oral Response

The OWL TMS automatically enters "My Oral Response" for a new item's name. It is recommended that you change this so you can find your content in the OWL List Pages.



User Defined

The Name of the item is used to find your activity in the OWL TMS list pages. You can also change this using the Name Field to the left of the control. (In the above example the name field displays "My Item".)



Oral Response

The OWL TMS automatically enters "Oral Response".



User Defined

The Title is displayed to your test takers in the upper margin of the testing window. You can use this field to describe the section or give additional directions. Please note the amount of text displayed in the title is limited by each browser. Be sure to preview your test to ensure the title is displayed.




Allow the Test Taker to use the OWL Tester's navigation controls (arrows).




If Navigation is restricted then the Test's timers control the examinee's movement through the test. This feature is referred to as Auto Pilot and is further described here AUTO PILOT HELP PAGE




The examinee cannot move forward until they have recorded their response or the timer runs out.




Allow the examinee to move off the item regardless of completion.




Practice items can be assigned points, however those points will not be added into the examinee's overall Test performance. This feature might be used to evaluate the efficacy of a new oral response item.




Item is included in the Test's scoring.


Auto Play


An audio or video recording will automatically start when the examinee lands on the Item in tester.




The test taker is required to press the "Play" button on the screen to begin the hearing or viewing the media.


Nav During
Auto Play


The examinee can use the tester's navigation while the media is playing. If Require Answer is set to use they must first provide an answer before moving on.




The examinee must listen/watch to the entire media prompt before moving on to the next test item. This feature must be set to "No" when using Sync Playback and Record (see below). When using this feature, Auto Play Media must be set to "Yes."




The test taker can replay the audio prompt as many times as they like, provided limits have not been on the Test.



Limited = 0

The examinee will not be allowed to replay the Item's Audio prompt.



Limited = 1

The examinee will be allowed to replay the Item's Audio prompt once.




This should remain "0" for constructed response items that require evaluation by a human rater such as Oral Response, Essay and Translation Items.



user defined

Not applicable.




The amount of time the test taker will have to think before he or she responds. OWL will not begin recording until the examinee presses the record button.



Timed =
60 seconds

OWL will begin recording when the test taker presses the record button OR automatically once the Think Time of 60 seconds has expired.



Timed =
User Defined

The test builder can select the amount of time that will count down before the recorder will begin.




Set the amount of time the test taker has to respond to the item. If set to unlimited, the Test will remain on the item until the examinee clicks on the next item control. PLEASE NOTE: The maximum response time for Oral Response items is 10 minutes.



Timed =
60 seconds

Once the recorder begins, the examinee will have 60 seconds to record their oral response before the tester automatically advanced to the next time. The examinee can press the next control if they have completed their response and wish to move on.



Timed =
User Defined

Set the amount of time (no more than 10 minutes) that the examinee will have to record their response to the item. When this expires the test will move on to the next item.

PLEASE NOTE: Setting the Response Time on an item will apply to the particular item only. If you have set the Response Time at the Section or Test level, that setting will override any value that you set here.




Select for an indicator to play after the think time has expired letting the examinee know it is time to respond.




No beep will be heard.




Keywords can be used like tags for sorting and grouping your content in the OWL List Pages. They can also be used to engage certain other OWL features that have not yet been incorporated into the user interface.



User Defined

Enter any words that are relevant to your workflow. Keywords can also be used to engage certain other OWL features that have not yet been incorporated into the user interface.

Examples: Simplified User Interface, Examinee Playback

See also: Keywords Help Page




Response to item will be included in the test scoring.




Response will be recorded, but no points will be assigned.  Responses to items marked as survey can be reported on separately in OWL.




This is the proficiency level of the test item. This information is not visible to the test taker. By setting a Level for your question you can more easily access this item to build sections or tests in the future.



Select from
Drop Down List

In most cases, this menu is configured by your administrator with the levels that you typically use. Some examples of values that may appear in this field are:
ACTFL Level - Novice Low, Novice Mid, Novice High…
ILR (Interagency Language Roundtable) - 0, 0+, 1, 1+...
COE (Council of Europe) - A1, A2, B1, B2 ...
Your own - If you wish to establish your own scale, ask you administrator to customize this list for your needs




Add a rubric to an item if you would like a human rater to provide this type of input when assessing the response in OWL.



Select from
Drop Down List

Rubrics you have built in OWL will appear in the drop down list. Select the one that you would like to be applied. Rubrics at the Item level will only be applicable if they have not been applied at the Section or Test Level.