We are at the point of our investigation where we need to start looking in more detail at test construction. Here is a brief summary that puts together the pieces of what we have learned so far.
Write an accurate measure of student achievement that
- motivates students and reinforces learning,
- enables us to assess student mastery of course objectives,
- and allows us to recognize what material was or was not communicated clearly.
Some things we can do to accomplish this
In general, when designing a test we need to
- consider the length of the test,
- write clear, concise instructions,
- use a variety of test item formats,
- test early and/or frequently,
- proofread and check for accuracy,
- consider the needs of our disabled or non-native speaker students,
- and use humor.
More specifically, our test goals are to
- Assess achievement of instructional objectives,
- measure important aspects of the subject,
- accurately reflect the emphasis placed on important aspects of instruction,
- measure an appropriate level of student knowledge,
- and have the questions vary in levels of difficulty.
We should consider the technical quality of our tests
Quality means “conformance to requirements” and “fitness for use.” The criteria are
- offering cognitive complexity,
- reviewing content quality,
- writing meaningful questions,
- using appropriate language,
- being able to generalize about student learning from their test performance,
- and writing a fair test with answers that represent what students know.
A useful tool is Bloom’s Taxonomy
It lists learning levels in increasing order of complexity:
To apply Bloom’s directly, we looked at
- Lists of verbs associated with each level (some were discipline-specific),
- question frames — nearly complete questions we can modify for our topics,
- and knowledge domains — the kinds of knowledge that can be tested:
- and metacognitive.
Next up: Learning what question types to use to achieve our goals.