Item classification is traditionally represented by a hierarchical structure similar to an org chart in which nodes are above, at the same level as, or below another, Each node in the hierarchy is numbered. A node path, which is formed by concatenating the number of each node that must be visited in order to reach the destination node, identifies a node’s location in the tree. For example, in the illustration below the node path 001.002.001 forms the address of History->EurHistory->Medieval. An item is classified when a node path is assigned to the item.


In spite of their ubiquity and usefulness, item banking systems can present challenges for the management and use of classifications. The following are typical problems:

The system can assign only one or two classifications to each item (e.g. knowledge domain and skill).

The system rigidly defines the format of classifications (e.g. an upper case letter followed by a dot followed by a number, etc.)

The number of levels in the hierarchy is limited (e.g. four or five).

The system does not support temporary classifications for research purposes.

Future classifications must be constructed outside the system.

The system cannot classify an item for multiple exam titles simultaneously.

The information that follows describes Pro!’s classification management and shows how it responds to these challenges in a superior way.


Pro! supports an unlimited number of classifications (called classification sets), each up to five levels deep. A classification set has a name, description of its purpose, and client-defined structure, and is linked to one or all exam titles.


Pro! provides a graphical tree representation of a classification set for easy maintenance. Each level is indented for positive identification. Levels can expand and contract like folders in Windows File Explorer. After locating the appropriate place for change, the user can add or update nodes.

A user can also add new nodes by importing a spreadsheet constructed outside the view of the system.


An authorized user can delete a classification set up until any item it classifies has been distributed in a test form. An exception is a classification set assigned for research purposes. Research classifications can be deleted at any time.

Applying to Items

A user can classify an item using as many classification sets as needed. For example, an item can have a former, current, and under-construction content classification simultaneously. Pro! also supports item classification for a future exam title – the classification needed when an item is moved to a different exam title.


When classifications appear in a user-information (UI) screen, Pro! displays either the classification code or its description, depending upon the screen’s purpose. Regardless, though, when the mouse hovers over a classification in a UI, Pro! displays both the code and description.

Flexible, client-defined formatting controls the display appearance of a classification code. Coming soon, each element in the node path can be displayed as an upper case letter, lower case letter, Roman numeral, or Arabic numeric surrounded by static text. For example, a customer can define the node path 001.002.001 to display as A.ii1. (A).2.1, a-b-a, and so on.


Classification and inventory management are different in Pro!, but still somewhat related. The inventory manager can keep the count of items desired at each node. During the creation of an item writing project, Pro! counts the items on hand for each node. Compares the count to that entered by the inventory manager, and suggests the number of additional items to write.

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