chapter  28
5 Pages

Test Time

Friday Focus! March 4 As many of you know, last summer I entered into the EdS program in teacher leadership at North Georgia College and State University. This semester, I have the pleasure of taking a class in data analysis with Dr. Judy Monsaas. Dr. Monsaas holds a PhD in measurement analysis and statistical evaluation. Her primary position is with the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia, where she works on developing strategies for teaching and assessment in a standards-based environment. During a recent class, Dr. Monsaas shared tips for writing good paper-and-pencil test questions. I found this session to be one of the most useful classes I have attended thus far, and am glad to be able to share some of this information with you. I pulled out the stuff that I found most enlightening, and I hope you find it as useful as I did! I should note that Dr. Monsaas indicated that the questions provided by textbook publishers in the form of test banks are not always as well-written as they should be. The following list is adapted from Linn and Grunland (2000) and contains tips for creating effective paper-and-pencil assessment questions of all types: true/false, matching, multiple choice, short answer/completion, and essay. Tips for Writing Good Paper-and-Pencil Test Questions

There are several common barriers to students getting the correct answer (in other words, when the student knows the information, but gets it wrong anyway). These include the following: Excessive wordiness Difficult vocabulary Complex sentence structure

Unclear illustrative True/False Questions

This type of question is used to measure students’ ability to determine the correctness of a statement. It should be noted that many measurement specialists recommend against the use of true/false test items. An appropriate use of this format is to measure students’ ability to distinguish fact from opinion. Suggestions for writing true/false questions:

Avoid broad statements. Avoid use of negative statements. Avoid long, complex sentences. Avoid including two ideas in one statement. Matching

Matching items are appropriate for measuring factual information based on simple associations. Suggestions for writing matching items:

Use only homogeneous material in a single matching exercise. Include an unequal number of premises and responses; instruct

the students that responses may be used more than once, not at all, etc.