Terms Relating to Creating Assessments


As stated in the last lesson, a passage is a type of asset. The TAO Glossary defines a Passage as "A block of content, typically a text passage, intended for use in reading assessments. It can contain integrated images".

So, a passage in TAO is typically a text passage, which is where the name comes from. Because it can also be a text containing integrated images, however, the term is not immediately clear; passage in its everyday use of the word refers only to text. The fact that passages may contain illustrations is another programming convenience – in TAO, texts with or without integrated images are treated in exactly the same way, making it unnecessary to create separate programming procedures. As an end user, it is perhaps easiest to think of passages as text-based entities – i.e. entities with text as their central component - rather than pure text.

A passage was previously known as a shared stimulus, and may still be called this if you are using an older version of TAO. This in itself is a rather opaque term. As the term is outdated, it will be covered here Instead of in its own section. The TAO Glossary defines a Shared Stimulus as follows: "A stimulus is a piece of information which sets the context for a question or a series of questions. A Shared Stimulus is one that is shared between multiple Items". The thinking behind the term shared stimulus is that a stimulus is something which provokes a reaction – in this case, a thought process in the test-taker leading to a response – and a shared stimulus is one that is used in different assessment scenarios.

To use an example relating to George's assessment, George might decide to include in each item a text about the country, with an image of the relevant continent inserted into it, making a complex passage.


A sample (complex) Passage