developing great social studies test items
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Developing Great Social Studies Test Items. Nancy Hester, RESC XIII [email protected] You should attempt to write these types of items to include on every test:. Lower Level Easy (LLE) Lower Level Difficult (LLD) Higher Level Easy (HLE) Higher Level Difficult (HLD).

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you should attempt to write these types of items to include on every test
You should attempt to write these types of items to include on every test:
  • Lower Level Easy (LLE)
  • Lower Level Difficult (LLD)
  • Higher Level Easy (HLE)
  • Higher Level Difficult (HLD)
united states history lle
United States History - LLE
  • The policy of acquiring colonies and building empires is known as:
    • A. Isolationism
    • B. Industrialism
    • C. Anti-colonialism
    • D. Imperialism
united states history lld
United States History - LLD
  • Which of the following would describe the foreign policy of the U.S. immediately after the Spanish-American War?
    • A. Imperialism
    • B. Isolationism
    • C. Militarism
    • D. Socialism
united states history hle
United States History - HLE
  • Which of the following actions by the U.S. Government would have been endorsed by imperialists?
    • A. Building the Panama Canal
    • B. Granting independence to the Philippine Islands
    • C. Passing low protective tariffs
    • D. Reducing military forces
united states history hld
United States History - HLD
  • Imperialism : ________ :: Isolationism : ________
    • A. Spanish-American War Period – 1920’s
    • B. Gilded Age – WWI Period
    • C. Spanish-American War – WWI Period
    • D. Gilded Age – 1920’s
plan your test
Plan Your Test
  • 70 % Easy to Medium
  • 30% Difficult
  • 50% Lower-Level Content
  • 50% Higher-Level Content
examples of higher level stems
Examples of Higher Level Stems
  • Which is an example of…..
  • Who would most likely have written (asked, said…) followed by a quote
  • Analogies
  • Fill in the missing part of this graphic organizer
  • Sequencing by Roman numeral
  • Who would have been helped by (law, invention, organization, reform)
test item development
Test Item Development
  • Direct word associations in the stem and distracter
  • Indirect word associations in the stem and distracter
  • True, but doesn’t fit the time period or specified geographic area
  • True, but not true in this case – doesn’t answer this particular question
  • Am I teaching and assessing in my classroom at the same level that is expected in the TEKS?
  • Never make a distracter a throw-away
  • If you use ALL, none, or except, do not capitalize, italicize or use bold face.
  • Make all distracters parallel (verb phrases, nouns, proper nouns, etc.)
  • Do not let one distracter stick out farther than others
  • Do not repeat the same verbiage at the beginning of distracters. (They all had….They all had….)
  • Be sure if you are asking for a generalization all of the distracters are, in fact, generalizations and not simple inferences or main ideas. This is true of all of the skills to be tested.
  • Be sure there is not more than one plausible answer.
  • Avoid “Best Answer”
skills prompts
Skills Prompts
  • Cause/Effect
    • Why did/would….?
    • If you removed…..?
  • Infer/Conclude
    • The manufacturers must have…..
  • Summarize
    • Which best describes…..?
skills prompts1
Skills Prompts
  • What do you see? What does it mean?



skills prompts2
Skills Prompts
  • Low-Level Map Skills
    • Direction
    • Key
    • Location
    • Identification of Physical Feature
  • High-Level Map Skills
    • Cause/Effect - Impact of above on lifestyle, work, climate, war, commerce, culture
skills prompts3
Skills Prompts
  • High-Level Map Skills, cont’d.
    • Develop general conclusions supported by details from the map (You can tell by looking at this map that it must be [place] because……
    • Main Ideas/Summaries – break maps into parts; Describe and infer about each part…
skills prompts4
Skills Prompts
  • Graphs, Charts and Data
    • Simple to complex
    • Comparisons (more, less, most, least)
    • Conclusions/Generalizations (based on the data, you can tell that)
    • Predict from trends (line graphs)
    • Main Idea/Inference – What do you think this graph is about?
skill prompts
Skill Prompts
  • Graphs, Charts, and Data, continued….
    • Make justified decisions based on data (I would prefer to open a business in [place] because….)
    • Connect cause/effect to trends or phenomena shown
    • Transfer information from one form to another (chart to graph)
study item types
Study Item Types
  • Study samples of items to get ideas. Include
    • Prompts
    • Graphic Organizers
    • Readings
    • Direct Content Questions
  • Do not try to use one type of item over and over. Vary the stems.
  • Jan Moberly, Director of Curriculum and Instruction, Region 10 ESC
  • Kosovo War Crimes –
  • National Archives and Records Administration –
  • Library of Congress American Memories –
  • Texas A & M University Department of Education Empowerment Zone –