Tests are formal assessment instruments that are used to judge student cognitive ability in an academic discipline as well as to gather information about students’ psychomotor performance. Tests usually consist of series of questions, statements, or tasks that are administered to a student or group of students. In order to develop a good assessment it requires proper planning, preparation and finally administration of the test. The development of a test that accurately measures student achievement requires careful planning. Planning for tests should start with an examination of student outcomes identified in the instructional objectives. An objective is a communication device that specifies the knowledge, skills, and attitude expected of students at the end of a lesson. Objectives also include 3 components- Conditions: identify what is available to students (resource material, circumstances etc.)
.Performance: specify the desired measurable and observable student outcome (what the student will be able to do).Criteria: specify standards or proficiency for satisfactory performance. Develop test items-Test items are classified as objective or subjective. Objective test items (true or false, multiple –choice, matching, and completion) are easy to write and score and can sample large amount of content; however, they are limited to facts, encourage guessing and fail to measure higher levels of cognitive learning. Subjective test items allow students to express their thoughts and require demonstration of mastery of instructional objectives. Validity is the extent to which a test measures what it was intended to measure. Reliability provides an estimate of consistency of test results. All tests must be valid and reliable to accurately measure student achievement.
Everything from student illness to testing environment can affect test validity and reliability. Planning test items-Test items should be assembled by type and increasing difficulty. Test items should also be checked for inconsistencies and follow a parallel format. Experienced test developers read the test for understanding and clarity prior to administration. Clear and concise test directions must be developed so students understand how, where, and when to provide responses. Administer Test-prior to administration, teachers should also consider the physical setting of the testing environment.
Finally, teachers should also consider the psychological factors like anxiety and test pressure that affect students by explaining the reason for the test and adequately preparing students for the test. Few points a teacher needs to keep in mind before administering test are-provide students with practice test items, indicate to students that you expect them to succeed on the test and that you are available to help them. Lastly discuss the parameters of the test. The entire procedure if followed by teachers and explained to students ahead in time, it is very much likely that the students will experience success. Thus, assessment should be an effort to move education forward and an exceptional tool that would give student an advantage in the classroom.
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