Effective Teaching: General Principles in Test Construction
There are fundamental principles that should be observed and guide the teachers when designing an assessment system as they prepare their own tests.
Measure All Instructional Objectives
Teacher should construct tests to measure clearly the prescribed learning objectives that have communicated and imparted to the learners. The test is designed as an operational control to guide the learning sequences and experience and should be in harmony with the teacher's instructional objectives.
Cover All Learning Tasks
A good learning task focus and measures a representative sample of the teacher's learning objectives.
Use Appropriate Test Items
A good test usually includes items that are most appropriate for a particular objective to check on learner achievement. Some test questions are better for measuring recall of specific information, while other types are good for tapping higher-level thinking processes and skills.
Make Test Valid and Reliable
A test is said to be reliable when it produces dependable, accurate and consistent scores with which a measuring device measures what it measures. A test is said to be valid when it measures what it purports to measure. Tests that are clearly written and minimize guessing are usually reliable than ambiguous statements. Tests that contain a fairly large number of items are generally more reliable than those with just a few items.
Tests that are well-planned that covers a wide range of objectives and topics and are well-executed will most likely ensure validity. No matter what type of test the teacher may use, it must be valid and reliable.
Use Tests to Improve Learning
This principle reminds teachers that even though tests may be used primarily to diagnose or evaluate learners' achievement, in effect, they can also be a learning experience. Going over tests outcomes provide teachers with opportunity to reattach important information the learners may have missed. Observation and discussion over "right" responses can stimulate further to study about a particular topic. Effective teachers integrate their testing and evaluation processes in which they put a high value into their total instructional programs for the purpose of guiding and enhancing the student's learning.
Norm-Referenced and Criterion-Referenced Tests
The norm-referenced test measures an individual's level of achievement at a given period of time compare to students elsewhere. Scores from a criterion-referenced test do not indicate a relative level of achievement or produce standards because no comparisons are made.
According to researchers, the norm-reference test is valuable in measuring higher and abstracts level of cognitive domain, whereas the criterion-referenced test is valuable for measuring lower and concrete levels of learning. The norm-referenced test is valuable for heterogeneous groups in which the range of abilities is wide and a test is intended to measure a wide range of performance. The criterion-referenced test is more useful in homogeneous groups in which the range of abilities is narrow and a test is intended to measure a limited range of objectives and outcomes.