Tests and Examinations
Traditional testing situations often call for simple sentence completion activities. Move your testing to a higher level by asking students to synthesize information and draw conclusions.
Ideas to increase the thinking required in testing situations:
- Incorporate case studies or scenarios into testing situations
- Provide data to analyze
It's helpful to provide students with assistance when preparing for testing situations.
Review. Provide a review guide with key ideas and resources. Explore examples of study and review materials
- Beginning Japanese - review materials
- Biology - study materials assignments and solutions
- Psychology - study materials
- Spanish 3 - study materials
Practice. Provide practice questions, sample tests, and answer keys. Explore examples of practice tests:
- Biology - practice exams and solutions
When designing a test, match the type of test item with the learning outcome and course content. Options include:
True/False. Students identify an item as true or false.
- Pros - Works well for knowledge level content and checking for misconceptions; easy to write; good for either/or content
- Cons - Poor for checking high level thinking; Difficult to discriminate; need many questions for high reliability
- Tips - Avoid double negatives and words like only, always, never, generally; avoid direct quotes from course materials
Matching. Students match items.
- Pros - Works well for knowledge level content; good for large amount of material; problems & solutions, parts & wholes, terms & definitions, causes & effects, tools & uses; events & dates
- Cons - Poor for checking high level thinking; focuses on recognition
- Tips - Provide good directions; keep items short; use like topics and structure; organize in logical order
Multiple Choice. Students identify the correct answer.
- Pros - Works well for all knowledge content; versatile; effective & efficient; fewer guesses than T/F; broad range of content; good for facts, concepts and procedures
- Cons - Difficult to construct good questions and effective distracters
- Tips - Provide a simple, clear stem that could be answered without the options; randomly present options; make items independent of each other; provide plausible distracters; avoid double negatives, all or none of the above, always/never
Short Answer. Students construct a short response.
- Pros - Works well for all knowledge content; minimal guessing; good for definitions; easy to create, high level thinking; emphasis is on recall rather than recognition
- Cons - Time consuming to score; only suitable for questions with short responses
- Tips - Provide specific criteria; phrase question for a single answer
Essay. Students construct a a long response.
- Pros - Works well for all knowledge content; easy to build; flexible
- Cons - Time consuming to score; can be subjective; limited coverage
- Tips - Provide specific criteria and task; use checklist for scoring
Testing can be a problem in online courses. Think about how the tests will be administered. Options include:
- Closed Book, Monitored. Students may be monitored during a special, face-to-face session. This approach works well for online courses, however it can cause scheduling problems. Some online instructors simply ask students to find an adult who will supervise their examination. This adult would signed a form indicating that the student was monitored.
- Open Book/Note. This approach works well for online courses. Students are allowed to go back over course materials as they wish. Many instructors do not allow students to ask assistance from fellow students or others. However if students are at remote sites, monitoring their access to peers can be a problem.
- Open Testing. This approach allows students to access course materials and even classmates during a testing situation. The advantage of this approach is that it eliminates "cheating." All sources are available. This approach is useful when the purpose of the test is simply to be sure students can answer the questions.