Introduction

Abbreviations used on this page:

Alg SoM University of Algarve (Portugal) School of Medicine
COG PPI Canadian Obstetrics and Gynecology Residency Partnership
Lim GEMP University of Limerick (Ireland) Graduate Entry Medical Program
McM PAEP McMaster University (Canada) – Physician Assistant Education Program
McM UMP    McMaster University (Canada) – School of Medicine \ Undergraduate Medical Program

1.  Forthcoming Tests — Reserved Dates and Times

Before emailing the IPPT Administrator to ask for specific dates and times for your upcoming sessions, please check the test and maintenance schedules page to see whether the periods (dates and times) you want are available.

Use one of these internet Time Zone sites to convert your local times to UTC (Coordinated Universal Time). UTC is equivalent to Greenwich Mean Time (GMT):

If all or part of the period you want has already been reserved, note the total number of examinees already anticipated for the times concurrent with your proposed session. You can request a session during that period if the sum of

is at no time greater than 300, our application's limit for the Maximum Concurrent Examinees.

The IPPT application can administer two or more tests at the same time with no significant increase in response times as long as the total number of concurrent examinees across all active sessions, does not exceed the application's Maximum Concurrent Examinees at any time. As the number of examinees rises above that limit, the application will respond more and more slowly to examinees' page requests and will eventually crash due to memory problems. Therefore, we do not permit concurrent or overlapping sessions that will involve more than the limit set for Maximum Concurrent Examimees.

To ensure that our server can provide your students with the quickest possible response to their page requests, schedule your sessions for periods not yet reserved, in whole or part, by any other partner.

Your best estimate of the number of examinees for a session is always acceptable, as we realize that the number of students who actually attend the session may be a few more or less than your estimate. Just don't submit an unreasonable over-estimate, as doing so would be unfair to another TM who may have no option but to request a session during all or part of the same period.

Submit your request by email. (An email message is required to ensure the Administrator has a permanent, unambiguous record of your requests.) Define each session with a comma-delimited list that provides the following details in the order indicated, using one line per session:

Session DetailFormat and/or Comment
Date
   (your time zone)
yyyy-mm-dd
Day of the week
   (your time zone)
Mon, Tue, Wed, Thu, Fri, Sat, Sun
Start time
   (your time zone)
hh:mm, 24-hour clock
End time
   (your time zone)
hh:mm, 24-hour clock
Start time
   (converted to UTC)  
hh:mm, 24-hour clock.  Convert to UTC/GMT. Do not convert to any UK city's time (eg, London); the UK is not on UTC during its summer.
End time
   (converted to UTC)
hh:mm 24-hour clock
Purposefor a test session no value is needed; for any other purpose enter "other" and include an explanatory note elsewhere in your message
Examinee countfor a test session enter the maximum number of students whom you expect will sit the session; otherwise enter "na" (for "not applicable")
 
Example:   2010-04-01,Thu,09:00,12:00,14:00,17:00,,88

This example could be from a McMaster TM. You can interpret it as follows:  A session on Thursday, 1st April 2010, from 9 am to 12 noon local (Hamilton) time, which is 2 pm to 5 pm UTC, for a test session, expecting 88 students. The two commas (...17:00,,88) indicate an empty detail for which that field's default value applies.

Requests will be honoured in the order they arrive in the Administrator's InBox.

2.  Scheduled Maintenance — Down Times

Service interruptions are occasionally necessary to facilitate the application of patches and upgrades to your and/or other partners' IPPT test administration sites. The test and maintenance schedules page lists any scheduled down times (periods when your and/or other IPPT test-administration sites will not be available).

No test or test session may be administered during a scheduled maintenance period. If you are interested in a period already reserved for maintenance, ask the IPPT Administrator whether the maintenance can be rescheduled. Most maintenance tasks initiated by the Administrator can be rescheduled. However, tasks imposed on PERD by our service provider usually can not be rescheduled. Fortunately, such impositions are extremely rare.

3.  Current Zone Report Templates

General Description

Each school's IPPT site makes available to examinees and the school's TM a pdf-type document known as the Zone Report. This document summarizes a student's performance on each test sat by that student up to the present. The measure of performance is the percentage of correct items on the whole test after adjusting for guessing. This is commonly know as the whole-test Percentage Adjusted Correct or simply the PAC. The Zone Report uses the z-score of the PAC to express the student's performance relative to that of the student's peer group for the given test. (A measure that is relative to the group mean and standard deviation of that mean is referred to as a standardized score or "z-score".)

The Zone Report is updated automatically with the results for the latest test when the School's local time equals the test's Test Results Release Time (date+time). The latter is set by the Test Manager on the test's Test Details page.

Each school prepares one or more templates (customized content) from which its Zone Reports are generated. The templates incorporate the school's preferred method for determining and naming a set of performance bands (zones) that, collectively, cover the the full range of a peer group's PAC scores.

The content also reflects the school's policy regarding whether zone reports are made available to instructors and school officials and how the school will respond to students who fail to progress, or who fail to progress adequately relative to their peers. The templates also reflect local usage respecting certain words and phrases, such as the word for a peer group (eg, "Class" or "Cohort") and whether a peer group is referred to by its year of entry or year of graduation.

Most schools use the IPPT's default 3-level model for labelling performance zones. This model sets the cut-points for the 3 categories at -1.5 and -2.0 standard deviations below 0 (the peer group mean). Most schools also use the IPPT's default names and colors for each zone — Green, Yellow and Red, with Green indicating acceptable performance, Yellow suggesting concern, and Red denoting very poor performance and a major concern where a student has accumulated more than one Red zone. However, each school is free to add or delete categories, set other cut-points and use different names and colours for their zones.

Most schools use two Zone Report templates; one for the first test sat by a peer group (cohort/class); the other for all subsequent tests sat by that group. Where two are used, they usually differ substantially in their wording. In general, the template for the first test re-introduces students to the idea of progress testing and explains the purpose and content of the Zone Report. The template for all subsequent tests focuses on the consequences of poor performance on the latest test and/or across multiple past tests.

All zone report templates are identical across IPPT partners in their structure and layout. Those elements are prescribed by the IPPT Administrator to minimize the programming challenges associated with enabling each school to provide customized content for their zone Reports.

For any given school, the templates are identical in respect to the rules about how the various performance zones are defined and in respect to the cut points, names and colours applied to those zones.

For each school, each template has n variants, where n is the number of performance zones used by that school. The templates vary only in one small section in which the school provides the student with either a laudatory comment for those who have performed well or words of advice for those who have performed poorly, particularly across multiple tests. Thus, for example, the text displayed to a student whose PAC lies in highest ranked zone (eg, Green), differs considerably from that displayed to a student whose performance lies in the lowest ranked zone (eg, Red).

Examples of Current Templates

The zone Reports presented below display actual test results. Only the students' names have been changed, with apologies to J. K. Rowling. (A pdf reader is required to view these reports. You can obtain a free pdf viewer/plug-in for your browser at "www.nitroreader.com" or "www.Adobe.com".)

Current Zone Report Templates by School, Test Sequence for Peer Group
and Student's Peformance Zone

School
# of
Zones
Cut
Points
Zone
Names
Links to Templates
First Test Subsequent Tests
Limerick GMP 3 -1.5
-2.0
Green
Yellow
Red
McMaster PAEP 4 +1.0
-1.5
-2.0
Silver
Green
Yellow
Red
McMaster UMP 3 -1.5
-2.0
Green
Yellow
Red

4.  Charts Illustrating Trends Across Tests

These resources will be added later.

5.  `How to` Manuals

Adding new students (a new Class/Cohort) to the IPPT Database

Managing a Test

Managing a Cohort/Class's Week of Instruction Calendar (Provided by the IPPT Administrator)

6.  Other Resources

These resources are available on the Help for Student's Page.