The Cycle of Creating a Good Language Test

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  1. The decision of providing and making the test:

It is usually made by the head teacher, administration, or the supervisor to select a teacher to construct the test. Or the teacher himself decides to make and provide the test as a formative kind of assessment of students’ learning.

  1. Considering the specifications:

It is related to have and get a look at the specifications of the test that should be followed to produce the test in its final version.

  1. Collecting information for the test:

In this stage the test provider collects information about the students (the test takers), their levels, abilities, points of weakness and points of strength as well and about the content on which the test is based, its objectives and outcomes, the items that have been taught and the teacher focused on and the items that have not been taught or have less focus in teaching.

  1. Assembling the materials for the test:

Here the test provider should write sample questions for the test following the specifications. As many questions as possible should be written down on a separate paper in this stage.

  1. Making the test:

According to the information collected in stage 3, the test provider should select from the questions written in stage 4 those questions which are suitable and use them to construct the test according to stage 2. Marks should be provided besides each question in the test as well.

  1. Marking and grading the test:

After conducting the test, it should be marked and graded. Marking means providing accurate marks for each students while grading means putting the marks into a meaningful category so that the test results can be understood.

  1. Reporting and communicating the test results:

In the final stage, test takers and others who concern should be provided with the test results and any other information needed for an appropriate interpretation.

Ten Simple Assessment Ideas for Everyday Use

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We always rely on written tests to assess our students. written tests cover little amount of  the learning material, so we should search for more ideas to show us that we are moving on, and whether our students have understood our explanation or they need more practice. I think the following ideas are useful to assess to what extent the students have learnt and what their weaknesses are:

  1. Ask open-ended questions starting with why and how.
  2. Ask for a summary of the lesson at the end.
  3. Use short tests/quizzes regularly and test one thing every time.
  4. Encourage role-play activities especially for conversations.
  5. Ask for comments from students on teaching procedures.
  6. Use mind map tools to encourage students to talk.
  7. Ask students to prepare something and talk about it.
  8. Encourage exchanging books among students to mark.
  9. Use rubrics and ask students to assess themselves.
  10. Exploit games and puzzles to assess language usage.

What else can you add? Write what you already do to assess your students daily.

Consider Six Main Points in your Assessment

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Before writing any examination questions or designing assessment exercises, you should keep in mind the following six points:

  1. Provide your students with the opportunity to show to what extent they have achieved the outcomes of learning of the whole syllabus or the lesson at hand. Accordingly, your assessment should differentiate between those who have already learned and those who need revision or more practice.
  1. Focus only on the most important aspects of the course and the objectives that you set for each lesson or unit, rather than other details.
  1. Provide feedback on performance as soon as possible so that students may improve themselves. Remember that the main aim of assessment is that students are able to learn through the process of assessment and view assessment as part of their learning process.
  1. Provide a means of encouragement by giving students the chance to see and sense their success and progress. It builds and increases their self-confidence as achievers.
  1. Design clear assessment criteria and marking guidance that allow differentiation and make students feel that you are fair.
  1. Meet all of your students’ styles of learning by using different and various assessment means and tools but assess one thing at a time.

Six Tips to Make Testing More Productive

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Although testing has many positive effects on education and learning, it has some negative aspects that we should take into account and try to minimize them. By doing the following, teachers can make testing more productive and not a negative experience for learners:

  1. Explain to students the purpose of the test and stress the positive effects it has.
  2. Give students a lot of notices and revise the previous lessons before the test.
  3. Tell students that you will take into account their work in the classroom beside the test result.
  4. During the test time, go through the questions giving clear instructions and clarifying any specific areas of difficulty.
  5. Be fair and objective when marking the test and hand out the results as quickly as possible.
  6. Emphasize that an individual should compare their results with their own previous scores not with others in the class.

Assessment Literacy. Topic 3. Dynamic Assessment

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What is Dynamic Assessment? Do you know the basis of it?

There are four main methods of dynamic assessment. They are :
1.Testing the Limits.
2.Clinical Interview.
3.Graduating Prompting.
4.Test – Teach – Retest.

How to apply them when you design your test?

You can know the answers of these questions when you attend “Topic 3 Dynamic Assessment” which is the third topic of my FREE online course “Assessment Literacy” on Edmodo.com

To Follow the Course, you should:
1. Create a free account on Edmodo.com
2. Login to your account.
3. Join my group “Assessment Literacy”
* Join Group URL is https://edmo.do/j/ud25fi

A Quiz on “Types of Assessment”

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How much knowledge do you have about assessment? Do you know how many types of assessment there are? Can you differentiate between formative & summative assessment? Do you know the importance of diagnostic assessment? What is integrative assessment?

To assess to what extent your knowledge about assessment is good, you can do that quiz on https://edmo.do/j/ud25fi on “Types of Assessment” which is a topic of six-topic course on “Assessment Literacy”.

To Follow the Course, you should:
1. Create a free account on edmodo.com
2. Login to your account.
3. Join my group “Assessment Literacy”
* Join Group URL is https://edmo.do/j/ud25fi

Four Necessary Characteristics of a Good Test

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Creating a good language test demand great care and responsibility on the part of the teachers. Most teachers don’t plan for writing their tests. As a result they often puzzle the students with these tests and reflect only their  own expectations. The most important characteristics of a good test are reliability, validity and practicality.

* A reliable test produces the same result under the same circumstances.
* A valid test tests what it is supposed to test.
* A practical test is as economical as possible in time and in cost.

Additionally, there are four more necessary characteristics of a good language test:

1. Based on what students should know and can do according to the learning outcomes of the syllabus.

2. Enable the teacher to find out which parts of the language program cause difficulty for the class.

3. Without any traps for students but provide opportunities for them to show their ability to perform certain language tasks.

4. Designed to be a valuable teaching & learning tool, that’s to benefit the teachers to adjust their teaching to match students’ achievement level and to benefit students to learn from their mistakes.

Teachers charged to prepare a test should put in their minds that each test is not an end in itself, but a means to reach effective language mastery.

Guidelines to Write Effective Test Questions

rrrPrepare Students for the Test by:

* Telling them the main purpose of the test.
* Specifying the content they should study for the test.
* Providing them with clear instructions during the test.

Decide the levels of thinking you will focus on when writing the questions:

According to Bloom’s Taxonomy, there are six levels of thinking, beginning with simple recall of information to analysis and evaluation of the material.
Bloom’s Taxonomy:
Knowledge – Comprehension – Application – Analysis – Synthesis – Evaluation

Write the Questions:

* Avoid ambiguous & confusing sentences or structures.
* Use appropriate vocabulary.
* Keep questions short and to the point.
* Write questions that have only one correct answer.
* Give information about the answer you desire or the items required for a correct answer.
* Don’t provide clues to the correct answer.

Guidelines to Write Effective Multiple-Choice Questions:

* Avoid lifting phrases directly from text or lecture. This becomes a simple recall activity for the student. Use new language as frequently as possible.
* Write the correct answer before writing the distractors. This makes sure you formulate one clearly correct answer.
* Choices should be similar in length and parallel in grammatical structure.
* Limit the number of choices. Research shows that three-choice items are about as effective as four-choice items.
* Distractors must be incorrect, but reasonable.
* Use words that are familiar to students when writing distractors.
* Don’t use exaggerations or extreme words when writing the questions or the distractors such as: all, none, never, always, etc.

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