How to Develop a Good Test?

According to the book “Testing from theory to practice” by Farhadi et al.

Gathered by Mojtaba Abiri

Nahid Language Institute anua

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How to develop a good test? One of the conce ns of teache s is how to develop a good test. In fact p ocess of test a ing is not just w i ng a set of ues ons. i ng a set of ues ons is one of stages that ou need to do in o de to have a goal specified exa . Steps of developing a test . Determining the f nc on and the form . Planning . Preparing the items . Reviewing the items . Pretes ng the items . Valida ng the items

. Determining the f nc on and the form hen we sa dete ining the function of a test we ean the pu pose fo which a test is developed. In othe wo ds, in this step ou dete ine the goal of ou test. But, how an pu poses a we have? The e a e two ajo functions fo tests. . Prognostic a. Place ent b. Selection c. Aptitude . Eval ation of attainment a. Achieve ent b. P oficienc c. Knowledge hat do Prognostic and Eval ation of attainment ean? In p ognostic function uestions a e not di ectl elated to a pa ticula cou se of inst uction. Place ent tests a e the ost fa ous tests in this g oup. In tests with the function of evaluation of attain ent, uestions a e based on a clea l specified cou se of inst uction. In othe wo ds the a e o e elated to educational settings. The ost fa ous test in this g oup is TOFEL, in which it atte s how good did ou lea n English. Now we a e going to have a b ief explanation fo each of above functions. Placement: These tests a e used to dete ine the ost app op iate channel of education fo the exa inee. e.g. Place ent tests which ou have to pass when ou want to pa ticipate in an Inte change cou se. Selection: The pu pose of these tests is to p ovide info ation upon which the exa inee’s acceptance o non-acceptance into a pa ticula p og a can be dete ined. In this pu pose we have so e accepted exa inees and so e failed exa inees also. e.g. test of d ive ’s license Aptit de: These tests a e used to p edict applicants success in achieving ce tain objectives in the futu e. e.g. so e ps chological tests that show which language would be easie fo one to lea n.

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Achievement: These tests a e designed to easu e the deg ee of students lea ning f o a pa ticula set of inst uctional ate ials. e.g. final exa s at schools Proficiency: P oficienc tests a e used to TOFEL easu e the ove all abilit of lea ne s. e.g.

Knowledge: In these cases, the second language is used as the language of the tests to easu e the exa inees nowledge in a eas othe than the language itself. e.g. attest of che ist in English. Afte eviewing the function it’s ti e to as what is the fo of a test? Diffe ent fo s of a test consist of Tr e-false items, Matching items, M ltiple-choice items, Filing the blanks and essay type q estions. Mo e info ation about each fo will be explained in the following pa ts.

. Planning In this pa t ou need to conside two points: - decide on the a ea of nowledge to be easu ed and - specif the elative i po tance of the ele ents to be included in the test. You a sa “OK! e would conside these two points. Then what ‘s the action?” You a e ight. The p actical pa t sta ts he e. The fi st thing ou need to do is to outline the cou se content. If ou have taught “ ” unit ou need to outline the content e.g. g a a li e this: Si ple P esent Subject p onouns Possessive adjectives The next thing ou need to do divide the into specific co ponents.

h- uestions with be Questions: w , w , w o and ow Yes/no uestions and sho t answe s with be Subject p onouns ( ,you, , s ,i , w , you, y) Possessive adjectives (my, you , is, , i s, ou , you , Then p epa e ou table of content. Area h- uestions with be Questions: what, whe e, who and how Yes/no uestions and sho t answe s with be Subject p onouns (I , ou, he, she ,it, we, ou, the ) Possessive adjectives ( , ou , his, he , its, ou , ou , thei )


N mber

Form T/F Filling the blan s Filling the blan s Multiple-choice Matching

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uestions do ou need and also thei fo fo

Now ou now what to do and how an the next level i.e. p epa ing the ite s.

. Preparing the items In this pa t ou a e going to ead so e points to be conside ed in a ing diffe ent tests.

Tr e-false items: T ue-false ite s a e technicall called alte native esponse because the have onl two answe s. This ind of ite is no highl eco ended to use in a la ge scale because of two easons: (I) The a e ve dependant on chance, na el the exa inee has p obabilit of success. (II) The a e li ited to easu ing si ple lea ning activities pe cent of

In t ue-false ite s pa attention to these points: . Avoid using b oad gene al sentences. Gene al sentences a e usuall co ect. . Avoid using students which easu es t ivial point. The a e also usuall co ect. . Avoid using negative sentences. If ou want to do so capitalize the negative wo d. . Avoid using long and co plex sentences. . Ma e the of si ila length, di cult and dist ibu on. Matching items: Matching ite s a e usuall used fo easu ing facts based on si ple associations. In language testing, one of the uses of atching ite s is to chec the students’ abilit in ecognizing and co p ehending s non s and anton s. In atching ite s:

. se ho ogenous ate ials in a single atching ite . If ou uestion is about vocabula of foods, do not ente an othe wo d li e . . Include an une ual nu be of ite s in each colu n. If ou have objects in the ight colu n, include objects in the left colu n. . la if the wa the should be connected. . Keep the list b ief and put the sho te colu n on the ight. A sa ple atching test is li e this

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Write the choice with the opposite meaning in the blank. a. beautiful b. big c. cheep d. clean e. c owded ……. di t ……. expensive ……. peaceful ……. ugl

M ltiple-Choice items: Spea ing technicall these ind of ite s have two pa ts; the s m and l alte natives consist of two pa ts; dis s and the o sw . ohn …… to school eve da . stem a) go b) going distracter c) to go d) goes correct answer In developing a . The ste . The ste

iv s. The


ultiple-choice pa attention to these points.

should be uite clea and state the point to be stated una biguousl . should include as ush of ite s as possible. Pa a en on to this exa ple.

ohn …….. a new ca these da s. a) has bought b) has been bought c) has been bu ing d) has to bu In this exa ple we should put the wo d “ s” in the ste .

. Nega ve state ents should be avoided because the a e li el to be igno ed. If ou want to use the a e the negative wo d bold and unde lined. e.g. hich sentence does NOT belong to the pa ag aph? ….. ust be g a a call co ect b the selves and consistent with

. All the alte na ves the ste . . Eve ite

should have one co ect o clea l best answe .

. All dist acte s should be plausible.

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. All dist acte s should be of si ila length and level of difficult . . sing “ ll bov ” and “ o of bov ” is not eco ended.

. o ect esponses should be dist ibuted app oxi atel e uall but ando l , because the e shouldn’t be a patte n in a ange ent of the co ect answe s. . The ste should not p ovide an g a a cal clue.

e.g. I want to bu an ………. fo winte . a) sweate b) coat c) u b ella

d) hat

. The ste should not be sta ted with a blan . e.g. …………… is the cent al political cit of each count . a) p ovince b)village c)capital d)subu b

. Previewing the items As eve bod is exposed to so e ista es, eviewing the tests b one o o e teache s can educe the ate of ista es. In this pa t, the set of p epa ed test is given to anothe teache to chec fo possible ista es and if needed the uestions can be co ected. . Pretes ng the items In this pa t uestions should be tested on a s all g oup of students and anal zed fo the goals the have achieved.

. Valida ng the items Afte anal zing the esults of the test, so e defective ite s should be adjusted fo the pu pose of the test. Layo t of a test paper Befo e developing ou test, pa attention to the cha acte s tics of ou exa inees. If ou exa inees a e oung child en, ou need to have o e picto ial ite s. Avoid designing ess pape s. If the a e adults o oung adults t to use a neat and catch design and f iendl fonts such as alib i, A ial o Ti es New Ro an. Exa inees should feel co fo table with the la out of pape .

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