Construct a test administer it and ensure its reliability
Construct a test, administer it and ensure its reliability.
Constructing a Test
This article throws light upon the four main steps of standardized test construction. These steps and procedures help us to produce a valid, reliable, and objective standardized test. The four main steps are 1. Planning the Test 2. Preparing the Test 3. Try Out the Test 4. Evaluating the Test.
Step # 1. Planning the Test:
Planning the test is the first important step in test construction. The main goal of the evaluation process is to collect valid, reliable, and useful data about the student.
Therefore before going to prepare for any test we must keep in mind that:
(1) What is to be measured?
(2) What content areas should be included and
(3) What types of test items are to be included.
Therefore, the first step includes three major considerations.
- Determining the objectives of testing.
- Preparing test specifications.
- Selecting appropriate item types.
- Determining the Objectives of Testing:
A test can be used for different purposes in a teaching-learning process. It can be used to measure the entry performance, the progress during the teaching-learning process, and to decide the mastery level achieved by the students. Tests serve as a good instrument to measure the entry performance of the students. It answers the questions, whether the students have the requisite skill to enter into the course or not, what previous knowledge does the pupil possess. Therefore it must be decided whether the test will be used to measure the entry performance or the previous knowledge acquired by the student on the subject.
Tests can also be used for formative evaluation. It helps to carry on the teaching-learning process, to find out the immediate learning difficulties, and to suggest its remedies. When the difficulties are still unsolved we may use diagnostic tests. Diagnostic tests should be prepared with high technique. So specific items to diagnose specific areas of difficulty should be included in the test.
Tests are used to assign grades or to determine the mastery level of the students. These summative tests should cover the whole instructional objectives and content areas of the course. Therefore attention must be given to this aspect while preparing for a test.
- Preparing Test Specifications:
The second important step in the test construction is to prepare the test specifications. In order to be sure that the test will measure a representative sample of the instructional objectives and content areas, we must prepare test specifications. So that an elaborate design is necessary for test construction. One of the most commonly used devices for this purpose is ‘Table of Specification’ or ‘Blue Print.’
Preparation of Table of Specification/Blue Print:
Preparation of table of specifications is the most important task in the planning stage. It acts, as a guide for the test construction. The table of specification or ‘Blue Print’ is a three dimensional chart showing list of instructional objectives, content areas, and types of items in its dimensions.
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It includes four major steps:
(i) Determining the weightage to different instructional objectives.
(ii) Determining the weightage to different content areas.
(iii) Determining the item types to be included.
(iv) Preparation of the table of specifications.
(i) Determining the weightage to different instructional objectives:
There are vast arrays of instructional objectives. We cannot include all in a single test. In a written test we cannot measure the psychomotor domain and affective domain. We can only measure the cognitive domain. It is also true that all the subjects do not contain different learning objectives like knowledge, understanding, application, and skill in equal proportion. Therefore, it must be planned how much weight ago to be given to different instructional objectives. While deciding this we must keep in mind the importance of the particular objective for that subject or chapter.
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For example, if we have to prepare a test in General Science for Class—X we may give the weightage to different instructional objectives as follows:
Table 3.1. Showing weightage is given to different instructional objectives in a test of 100 marks:
(ii) Determining the weightage to different content areas:
The second step in preparing the table of specifications is to outline the content area. It indicates the area in which the students are expected to show their performance. It helps to obtain a representative sample of the whole content area.
It also prevents repetition or omission of any unit. Now the question arises how much weightage should be given to which unit. Some experts say that it should be decided by the concerned teacher keeping the importance of the chapter in mind.
Others say that it should be decided according to the area covered by the topic in the textbook. Generally, it is decided on the basis of pages of the topic, total page in the book, and a number of items to be prepared. For example, if a test of 100 marks is to be prepared then, the weightage to different topics will be given as follows.
Weightage of a topic:
If a book contains 250 pages and 100 test/items (marks) are to be constructed then the weightage will be given as, follows:
Table 3.2. Table showing weightage is given to different content areas: