Thursday, December 19, 2013

Principle of Testing

Assessment and testing play a very important aspect in improving education for all students. Below are some of the principle in testing. 

1. The main purpose of testing is to improve student's learning.

The test will reflect how much that the students learned in school. It is also act as an indicator whether they had achieved the important learning goals for the specific year.

2. The test is fair for all students.

The test must be authentic and reliable. The level of the test must accommodate each student’s level of proficiency. In Malaysian context; each student from Band 1 to Band 6 can answer the questions. The test has to be unbiased to selective students, as it has to be suitable to all students.

3. Communication about test is clear.

The result of the test will involve the students, parents and the school administrators. The parents and administrators have to know the result whether the student get excellent mark or failed their exam. The further discussion about the marks can be done between the teachers and the parents to improve the student’s result next time when they sit for other examination.

4. Test item has to be regularly improved and updated.

As the issues are always changing, it is essential for test developers to improve their test questions as it is relevant to the current issues. Current issues are closer to students’ heart as it is easier to find the information about it in the media. 


Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Relevance is important!

 In order to assess the students, the assessment procedures should be selected thoroughly.

"It must be relevance to the performance to be measured and learning goals"

  •  The main criteria for the selection of an assessment is the effectiveness of the method used for measuring the learning progress. 
  • Other than that, they are chosen for their objectivity, accuracy or convenience.
  • Every procedure chosen have to be correlated to the learning goals and appropriate to the test given.
  • This is because the main purpose of an assessment is to assess the students on their learning progress.
  • For examples, if the learning goal is to be able to transfer the information from a text, we should not be testing the students with only the multiple choice question. We can't assess students from this instrument as it surely irrelevant choice of assessment. Students' performance can't be measured correctly and accordingly.

  • If a test is supposed to be testing the construct of listening, it should indeed be testing listening, rather than reading, writing and/or memory.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Yay for specifications!

In designing test or assessment for the students, you have to:

"Clearly specifying what is to be assessed"

In designing assessment and test, you should provide careful description on what to assess as it affects the 
effectiveness of the assessment. Specifying the learning goals clearly before selecting the assessment 
procedures to use is needed in assessing student's learning. In short, the assessment has to align with the learning objective. 

For effective assessment, you have to add greater specification.For example the learning goal is to understand the issues in the poem “Heir Conditioning”. The assessment can be in a form of multiple choice questions, essay form question, or short answers.   

After specifying your learning goals, you have to ask yourself some questions before constructing the assessment.The example of the questions are:

  • Which type of test suitable to assess the students?
  • What is the main issue in the poem?
  • Will the students find any evidence in the poem that can support their idea?
  • Is it necessary to compare between the characters in the poem “ Heir Conditioning" for them to understand the issues?"

After answering all the questions you can start developing your assessment or test for your students. 

Remember the limitations!

After you have designed a test or assessment for the students, you have to remember that:

"Every test has its' limitations."

Assessment procedures range from highly developed measuring instruments (e.g., standardized aptitude and achievement tests) to rather crude assessment devices (e.g., observational and self-report techniques). You must be aware that even the best educational and psychological measuring instruments will have various types of measurement error.

 There are three types of limitations: 

1. Sampling Error

It is not possible to assess our students' knowledge thoroughly because it is difficult for teachers to test everything in a single examination. Instead, only a sample of the relevant problems or questions will be presented in the test. This will result in sampling error because teachers are unable to assess the students' real ability through the "incomplete" test.

Since any test is only a sample of all possible items, the item sample itself can be a source of error. Longer tests which consist of many types of test items are typically more reliable because we get a better sample of the course content and students’ performance.

  • Suppose a teacher who wants to measure students' achievement of an unit in biology, gave only one essay question in the test. Students who knew this one question would have perfect achievement, but students who didn’t would fail. Obviously, a one-question test would not provide a reliable estimate of the students’ knowledge. But as more and more questions were added, one would obtain a sample that better fits the unit of instruction and yields scores that more accurately reflect real differences in achievement. So by increasing the length of the test (the size of the sample) we increase the consistency of our measurement.

Consequently, sampling error is one of the most common problems in educational and psychological measurement. Even a good sample of achievement test may not adequately include a particular area of instructional content. Apart from that, an observational instrument designed to assess a student’s social adjustment may not sample enough behaviour for a dependable index of this trait.

Fortunately, sampling error is one kind of error that can be controlled through careful application of established measurement procedures. Examples of measurement procedures are maximum performance and typical performance, fixed-choice test and complex-performance assessments, and etc. 

2. Chance Factors

A second source of error is caused by chance factors such as guessing on objective tests, subjective scoring on essay tests, errors in judgement on observation devices, and inconsistent responding on self-report instruments (e.g. attitude scales). 

A longer test also tends to reduce the influence of chance factors such as guessing. If a teacher gave a ten-item multiple choice test, a student might know six of the items and guess at the other four. If the student happened to guess correctly, he/she would show perfect achievement. If the student happened to guess incorrectly, he/she would show only 60 percent achievement. If that test, however, had 100 items, the student’s correct guesses would be balance by incorrect guesses, and the score would be a more reliable indication of real knowledge. By increasing the number of questions, the chance for students to guess the correct answers will be reduced.

  • Warning: Lengthening a test improves reliability only when the additional items are good quality and as reliable as the original ones. Adding poor quality items will actually induce error and lower reliability. Furthermore, there is a point of diminishing returns — if we add too many items, we risk student fatigue which will result in lower reliability.

[Source:  ]

Nevertheless, through the careful use of assessment procedures, we are able to keep these errors of measurement to a minimum. 

3. Incorrect Interpretation

"Different examiners will mark the papers differently."

All examiners mark papers differently so it is possible that some may be too lenient while some are too strict. Some examiners even interpreted the results too precisely as they strictly followed the marking scheme. Moreover, there are examiners who goes beyond the assessment criteria in which they assessed the students more than what the test is supposed to measure. 

Therefore, it is very important for teachers to know what is the objective of the assessment and grade the students according to a standard (a rubric) that assesses precisely that criteria. If the purpose of the examination is to test the students' ability to use sequence connectors in an essay, teachers should focus more on that criterion rather than on grammatical mistakes or spelling mistakes.

  • In order to solve this problem, applicants will be sent for several trainings and only the qualified candidates will be chosen as the examiners.

We must bear in mind that misinterpretation of test results is all too common and is one of the major considerations concerning the validity of an assessment. Avoiding misinterpretation requires careful attention to what the test actually measures, how accurately it does so, and its intended uses. 

These limitations of assessment procedures do not negate the value of tests and other types of assessments. A keen awareness of the limitations of assessment instruments makes it possible to use them more effectively. 

*Keep in mind that the cruder the instrument, the greater its limitation.* 

Quote of The Day