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Constructing Tests

A Test is a procedure intended to establish the quality, performance, or reliability of something; it is a short examination of skill or knowledge.

Tests are made for the following reasons:

  • Establish a baseline of information about each child to judge future progress.
  • Monitor the growth of individual children.
  • Have a systematic plan for intervention and guidance.
  • Plan curriculum.
  • Provide parents with updated information on their child.
  • Provide information for making administrative decisions.

Teacher-made Test Examinations are constructed by teachers to be given to their students for the purpose of making and promotions. It is a principal tool in measuring school achievement.

Teacher designed tests are created to supplement evaluation measures, enabling the teacher to make more accurate decisions that affect student learning. It can support decisions about students’ needs and determine their strengths and weaknesses in content areas. These allow the evaluation of the instructional program being used.

Types of Examinations

  • Oral examinations – test in which the answer is given in spoken words.
  • Written examinatioins – test in which the answers are given in writing.
  • Performance examination – test in which the answer is given by means of overt actions.

Several types of test questions have proved their value in teacher-made tests of computational ability, vocabulary, information, understanding, and other specific outcomes. These types are the short-answer, multiple choice, matching and true-false questions.

The short-answer question. This type of question comes in a variety of forms and is known by a variety of names. There is the incomplete sentence form: “A square has four straight sides, while a triangle has ____________ sides.” Then there is a question form: “What letter comes after ‘b’?”

These various forms measure essentially the same thing. Experience indicates that the short-answer forms are more easily read and less confusing than any other type of question. However, other kinds of questions may be used to provide interest and variety and to serve special purposes.

The short-answer type of question is limited, however, to questions that call for facts—what, who, when, where, and how many.

The multiple-choice question. The multiple-choice question type is the best general purpose question for testing outcomes. It is the most widely used type of question in standardized tests, largely because of its flexibility and the fact that it can be scored objectively—that is, anyone who scores it using the answer sheet will arrive at the same results. In teacher-made tests, the multiple-choice question is useful for measuring ability in vocabulary, reading comprehension, interpretation of pictures, letter forms, and symbols, drawing references from set of data, and understanding of concepts and relationships.

Matching-type questions. An interesting variation for the multiple-choice question, one which the teacher can use for a number of special purposes, is the matching-type questions.

This type of question is widely used in pairing off such things as definitions and words defined, or uppercase and lowercase letters. Three of the more important points to watch out for in constructing questions of this type are (1) the list on the right, from which selections are made, should contain more items than the list on the left; (2) to make it simpler for the pupil who knows the right answer to find it, possible answers should be arranged alphabetically, chronologically, or in some other systematic way, and each item should be shot; (3) the questions should be homogenous; that is, on item on the right should be logically excludable as an answer to any item on the left by a pupil who is uninformed.

True-false questions. True-false questions lend variety and interest to informal testing activities. It is easy to construct, interesting to the pupils, easily scored, and it arouses discussion. It is useful when performance of the pupil on any one item is not an important consideration.

Other Types of Test Questions

  • Following directions
  • Fill-in-the-blank
  • Sequencing
  • Vocabulary
  • Analogies
  • Problem solving
  • Grammar
  • Essay
  • Listening
  • Dictation
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