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In Janison item authoring, the stem typically encompasses the actual question or statement that clarifies the test-taker’s task. In certain industries, the ‘Prompt’ field serves this purpose, while the stem provides tailored instructions to students on how to answer an item or complete a task.

In the example below, the stem is at the top and the prompt just under the stem. If an author entered both blocks of this text into the stem, the item would display to the test-taker exactly the same.

So, what are the advantages of using the prompt instead of the stem? There are several benefits for item authors and reviewers:

  • In edit mode, item authors can easily distinguish the components of the item at a glance. This is particularly useful when authors or reviewers are dealing with a large volume of items.
  • The prompt field is reportable, allowing for authors to include prompts as selected entities if needed in a customisable report.

Here is the above item in edit mode. The item author has used the Question Stem field to give student-specific directions in the highlighted box and has then used the Prompt for the task.

Prompts and composite items

In composite items, authors can use prompts as the item stems for interactions as highlighted in the screen capture below. You can read more about this in our document on composite items.

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