Items are rich in data: keywords, creation date, status, classifications, approvals, last use, etc. Rich data demands an item search of equal richness, and Pro! has the most powerful in the industry.
Item search has seven categories of search parameters. A search can utilize one or all of them. The table below lists the seven categories and briefly describes the role each fulfills in item searches.
Has Parameters to Search for…
Items whose submission, creation, last update, last exposure, last status change, last technical review accuracy, last IRT stat import, or last IA import occurred within a given date range.
Items with matching text in keywords, stem, answer choices, and rationales.
Items using a given item classification or classifications, while matching to different levels of each classification.
Items using an approved reference, and optionally include components of the citation in the search.
Items without an approved reference.
Items using words in their reference notes, or items with no reference note at all.
Items having a matching status or statuses.
Items having approvals set or not set.
Items having a matching Pretest Item Review status or statuses.
Items whose P-value or IRT parameters fall within a range.
Items having a given item writer estimate of difficulty, reviewer estimate of difficulty, or actual difficulty.
Items written by a given item writer, item writing vendor, or both.
Items used in a given form or administration
Direct the search to look across authorized sections. A section is analogous to a specialty area or Item Bank.
Performing a Search
A user performs a search after entering search parameters. Pro! matches the search parameters to all items across the specified sections. A search without any match criteria matches all items in the current section.
Search results are output as a Tabular Display. The tabular display has one row for each item that matches all the search criteria.
A tabular display increases the value of search results through its ability to sort, group, and filter; manage the column metadata; export the results in a variety of formats; and create formatted reports for printing. See the Tabular Displays and Ad Hoc Reporting Feature Briefing for greater insight into how a Tabular Display helps you respond to ad hoc requests for information about your items.
In the work-a-day world of a credentialing organization, some searches are used frequently. Creating a search anew each time, particularly a complex search, wastes time and is prone to error.
To save time and reduce errors, Pro! supports saved searches. A saved search has a user-supplied name for recall and uses at a later time. Saved searches can be private to the user who created them, or can be public to be used by other authorized users. There is no limit to the number of saved searches a user may have. Saving a search saves only the search parameters, not the search results.
Saving a search also saves the layout of the search results tabular display. (The user can change the layout to suit his or her needs after performing the search.) When a saved search is reused later, Pro! uses the last saved column arrangement, sort order, filter, and grouping to present the search results.
Pro! also supports the ability to load a saved search, change it, and execute the search without saving the modifications. The feature lets a user complete a detail — such as a date range — prior to performing the search and also aids what-if experimentation. The modified search can also be saved with a different name.
Query by Form
The search feature is designed for ease of use. All that’s required for use is to fill in the blanks and choose among various options. There is no need to learn a computer language.
The query-by-form imposes an implicit AND/OR relationship among the search criteria. The rule for AND/OR is easy to remember: it is AND between fields in the form and OR among choices of like data.
For example, a search for items created within a given date range having a given status is an AND relationship between the date range and the (single) status. In contrast, a search for items created within a given date range having any of several statuses (like data) is an AND relationship between the date range and status but an OR relationship among the statuses. In English, this would be expressed as the item was created within this date range and currently has a status of x OR y OR z.
The implied AND/OR relationships of query-by-form are not always that which the user might desire. For example, the implied relationship between a creation date range and a last modified date range is AND. Thus, a search performed using these two date ranges would match items created between two dates AND a last modified between two other dates. Suppose, though, the need was to find items either created between the two dates or modified between the other two dates. To meet this need, Pro! provides the SQL Operators feature. In the preceding example, a user would change the relationship between the two date ranges from AND to OR. SQL Operators also support the NOT operator and provide grouping via parenthesis. Importantly, too, SQL Operators display all the search parameters with the exact AND/OR relationships.
Using Search Results
A user can perform various operations on the items matched in a search. The table below briefly summarizes the operations.
Use all items or a select group of items found in a search to create a new poolbook or to add to an existing poolbook. See the Poolbooks Feature Briefing for a discussion of poolbooks.
Choosing this operation causes an item-edit window to open. The window contains a navigation bar on the left and an item on the right. The user can navigate among the items using Prev and Next in the navigation bar, or by clicking on the item’s identifier.