Planning a class room test

Importance of acquiring test development skills

To help a teacher clarify the behavior that he/she feels important for students to learn. Skills and knowledge acquired; firstly, can be applied to other aspects such as curriculum planning and development Secondly, may evaluate the quality of commercial testing materials. Well constructed classroom tests can lead to more objective and fairer procedures for judging and evaluating students.

The test development process

Classroom testing should be part to the teaching/learning process; -to provide information to you and students. i) what a student is prepared to learn next ii) how a student’s study of a given topic might best be carried out. -whether a student has mastered a specific instructional objective. -whether a review of past learning or an integration of such learning is needed.

Relating instructional to testing procedures

Teachers bring to actual test construction process some degree of understanding of: i) their own value and belief; ii) the cognitive, affective and psychomotor characteristics of students iii) the behaviors they would like their students to achieve; iv) the goals and structure of the curriculum they follow.

Basic decisions

The four basic decisions that need to be made about each individual; 1. placement decisions: deciding where in the instructional sequence the learner should begin to avoid repeating unnecessary what the learner already knows. 2. Diagnostic decisions: deciding the learning activities the learner should engage in to increase the chances of learning the objectives, the teacher has set for the individual

Basic decisions

3. Monitoring decisions: -deciding whether the students appears to be attending to instruction . -If the assigned learning activity is working or whether a new learning activity to be assigned. 4. Attainment decisions: -deciding at the end of a particular segment of instruction, whether the students have acquired the instructional goals.

Basic Decision

5. A student’s educational development and maturity will determine on both the instructional approach and the testing procedure used. (Older, more able students might be able to participate in their own tests). 6.The way a curriculum is organized will place a restrained on the nature of the testing program. 7.The available instructional resources frequently determine the nature of the tests developed.

Developing a blueprint for a Test

Making a blue print or table of test specifications. -This advanced planning allows a teacher to view the test as a whole. -Describing the content and the behavior expected of the students. -Numbers of questions on the test; correspond to the amount of time devoted to the objectives in class. -The test need not to be too easy nor too hard for the students.

Developing a blueprint for a Test
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Based on the diagram: The row headings along the left margin are the major topics the test will cover. The column headings across the top are the major classifications of the Bloom et al, taxonomy. Notice that there is an increasing complexity from left to right in the types of behavior.

Developing a blueprint for a Test
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Behaviors which demonstrate knowledge or comprehension, are lower level cognitive performance; While those behavior reflecting the ability to synthesize or evaluate are higher level cognitive performance. Most of the objectives are at the lower and middle levels of the taxonomy. The decision of how many questions to include on a test is based on the importance of the objectives, the type of questions, the subject matter and the amount of time available for testing.

Developing a blueprint for a Test
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Suppose that a teacher planned to use 40 test items for this unit. The blueprint shows that of these forty, the teacher has decided that 20% or 8 items should be used to test instructional objectives Of the 8 items, the teacher decided that 2 items should deal with the knowledge level objective and the remaining 6 items with the application level objective.

Developing a blueprint for a Test
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The two dimensional forces (objective and application). But this unit test emphasizes the application objective. Notice that …..% of the test questions deal with the higher taxonomic levels of application Therefore, this advanced planning for developing a classroom test allows a teacher to view the test as a whole. In this way the teacher can balance the content coverage, so that the test need not be too easy nor too hard for the students

Evaluation Program

Major questions or decision: -Planning instruction- What is to be studied? Where should instruction start? Guiding instruction: -How should instruction be carried out? -When is the class ready to move on? Evaluating results of instruction -Have pupils mastered retained important learning outcomes.

Evaluation Program

Basis for Planning: -Planning instruction-Course outline, specification of units and objectives -Guiding instruction- Identification of possible instructional alternatives -specification of mastery criteria for objectives -Evaluating results of instructionSpecification of essential content and skills

Evaluation Program

Specific types of information needed-Do students have mastery of the course content? -Have students mastered what they have been studying (objective, topic and Unit) -Have students retained the essential content and skills? Possible sources of information-Course pretest, student records, aptitude tests -Quiz covering a given objective or topic, interview -End of course exam, projects and observation

Overall considerations when Planning Classroom Tests
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Define the purpose for testing at this time. Specify the performance and processes to be observed and tested Select the types of test items or the methods to be used to observe and to test the performance. Develop the initial drafts of the test exercises.

What should be specified ahead of Time?

Formats of test items to be used i) Choice formats –Objective items true-false, multiple-choice, matching exercises ii)Short answer/completion format iii)Essay format iv)Performance observation formats- checklists, rating scales, sign and category systems v)Interview, in-depth observation vi)Long-term activity formats-projects, extended written assignments, laboratory exercises

Cont…..

Number of items of each format: -The amount of time available for testing. Tests with more items are mor reliable that shorter tests. Types of performances to be observed: -Develop a test blueprint to specify the various levels of performance to be observed. Number of performances within each type: -The number of objectives within each taxonomic category is delineated.

Cont……

Content to be covered by the test: -The test blueprint can be the vehicle for delineating the content or topics the test will cover. Number of items to test each content topic/taxonomy category combination: -The number of items testing each objectives. Complexity level and item difficulty: -The percentage of pupils answering the item correctly is called the item difficulty level. -Depends on the ability of the pupils and the quality of instruction.

Cont…..

The difficulty levels of choice format items: -True-False - 75% and 85% passing -three-option multiple-choice – 67% and 77% passing -Four-option multiple-choice - 63% and 74% passing If each objective has been taught and studied conscientiously, then the test should be of appropriate difficulty.

Criteria for Judging Testing Procedures

Validity: -Test determines the extent to which each pupil has attained the important objectives. Reliability: -The consistency with which a given testing procedure reports a pupil’s performance i)longer tests are more reliable than short tests. ii)essay questions are less reliable than objective procedure -possible sources of unreliability: i)fluctuations of judgments of the quality of a pupil’s work

Cont….

Objectivity: -A test procedure is said to be objective if two or more observers of pupils’ performance can agree on the report of the performance. Comprehensiveness: -The extent to which a test can be a representative sample of behaviours from the objectives of instruction contribute much to the success of a test. -taxonomy with a content outline and a test blueprint help to ensure that the behaviours are tested.

Cont…

Ease of construction and scoring: -How easy it will be to devise the test tasks and to score them. Economy of pupil time: -Some procedures such as interviews and individual observations of pupil performances require longer time to complete. Economy of teacher time: -essay tests, term papers, projects and written work require much teacher time to grade and evaluate.

End of lesson

“Learners should look testing as feedback about their accomplishments and as opportunities for guidance toward their chosen goals.” (Nitko, 1983)