Item versioning and item revisions

Cirrus Assessment Support Team -

Item editing: Item Revisions versus Item Versions

Working on items in Cirrus is easy and intuitive. When working on items we distinguish version and revisions:

"Versions are major changes to live items, whereas revisions are smaller changes to item versions."

The distinction is especially important in when you work on items that are already in use in assessments. This article explains how it works, who can do this and what it used for / when it is used.

Summary: item revisions and item versions

  1. Changes to items that are not Live and used will create revisions
  2. Changes to used Live items (special permission) will create a new version

This editing of Live items will be a new permission under Admin > Roles > Collection: 'Allow user to change used Live items'. This gives you full control over who is allowed to do this.

  • Users are allowed to make any changes to items as long as they haven’t been used before.
  • If an item is used and has status Live, then you can still make any changes to the item with the new permission enabled.
  • If user has done changes that trigger creating a new version when saving it the user will get a notification “This question has already been used in an assessment. By saving it you will create a new version. Are you sure you want to continue?”
  • The exception to this is if you make changes to items that don't influence psychometrics (just like we have today - these are changes like spelling mistakes for example). This will create a new revision of the Live item, but not a new version.
  • It will not be possible to delete a new version, even if it is not used in assessment. You can set it to not approved or withdrawn
  • Sowiso and financial question types are excluded from item versioning.
  • Please note: Learning objectives and taxonomies can NOT be edited once the live item has been added to an assessment as this will break blueprints for example. In this case you can create a copy and withdraw the old version.

Example triggers and scenario’s for revisions and versions: 

  • Changes that trigger creating a new version:

    • Change in score
    • Change of number of alternatives (add/delete alternative)
    • Changes of the correct answer alternative
    • Changes in seed item (yes/no)
    • Changes to scoring (dichotomous / polytomous scoring)
    • Changes to Maximum number of candidate selection
  • Example scenario's:
    • Item is draft and the author adds a new alternative: No new version
    • Item is Ready for review and the author changes the question text: No new version
    • Item is Live and has not been used: No new version
    • Item is Live and has been answered by candidates: New version created
    • Item is Draft and the status is changed to Ready for review: No new version

The Item ID and versions / revisions of items

  • The itemID does NOT change with new revisions.
  • The itemID will change when making a new version.
  • The first version starts with 1, and each new version will increase the number with 1 (1, 2, 3, etc.)

Example of ItemID and versions/revisions

  • ItemID: 2414.1 (first version, ID automatically created)
  • User changes the ID to: 24132412
  • User changes the status of the item, the ID changes to: 24132412.2
  • User changes the ID to: 234235
  • User makes adjustments to a live item and a new version is created: 234235.3

So even if you use your own version numbers in the ItemID, Cirrus will add .n to each new version created.
It will be possible to edit the item ID, even for Live and used questions. However: if you change the itemID for a live, used question, a new version will be created.

If a question has been made (ItemID: 2414.1). You create the assessment and add the question. Then you change the question and it becomes 2414.2, then that version will be used in future schedules). You can change questions up until 15 minutes before the schedule window starts.

Edited Live items: warning for your assessment authors

If a Live item has been added to an assessment and you create a new version of this item, upon editing the assessment the assessment author will get a message saying: “One of more items used in this assessment have been changed. Do you want to update the assessment to reflect these changes?”


Up till what time can I change questions used in my assessment delivered to candidates? 

Up to 20 minutes before the start of a schedule you can make changes to questions and save them and save and publish a new version of the assessment if needed. This is then picked up for that schedule and delivered to the candidates. Once the first candidate has started the assessment version used by all candidates is locked. This means they will all get the same exam paper.
See: Versioning of your assessment.

When do I need to save and publish a new version if I change a question in a scheduled assessment?

There are two types of changes:

  • If it is a small textual change no action at the assessment level is needed.
  • If it is a larger change, like adding an answer option - this will create a new version of the question. In that case the assessment author will also need to create a new version of the assessment and publish this within 20 minutes of the start of the schedule.
    See Item-versioning-and-item-revisions

FYI: the anonymous shared version of an assessment is completely separate from scheduled version in the sense that is generates an assessment to take on the fly based on the current version visible to (and often worked on by) authors. This can be a live or a draft version of the assessment or even an old restored version and as such has nothing to do with any scheduled version. Schedule use set version of the assessment, i.e. the published version at the time of the schedule start -20 minutes.

Item versions and statistics in Cirrus

Under Library > Collections > Statistics you will be able to see the stats for the current version of the item and upon clicking the row with the item you will see the statistics for each version of the item:



  • Statistics are calculated per version
  • Only versions with Live/Withdrawn status should be used in calculations
  • Revision: show the revision number of the current Live version
  • If no candidate answer the current version then previous version that was answered will be shown.
  • It will be possible to view statistics for each version of item: when you click row of the question in the overview page you will see statistics for all Live versions of the item:

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