5 general things that impede writing good test items
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5 General Things that Impede Writing Good Test Items. Unclear directions Ambiguous statements Unintended clues Complicated syntax Difficult vocabulary. Unclear Directions. Assume that test takers are novices. Explain if a student can use the same answer more than once.

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5 general things that impede writing good test items
5 General Things that Impede Writing Good Test Items
  • Unclear directions
  • Ambiguous statements
  • Unintended clues
  • Complicated syntax
  • Difficult vocabulary
unclear directions
Unclear Directions
  • Assume that test takers are novices.
  • Explain if a student can use the same answer more than once.
  • Writing test directions for early elementary students can be difficult.
  • Directions should not be an after thought
ambiguous statements
Ambiguous Statements
  • Students may come up with an incorrect answer because of the ambiguity, even if they know the correct answer.
  • An ambiguous True-False item:
    • There is substantial research evidence that many teachers become hostile toward students because of their low self-concepts.
  • Teacher may fail to recognize the problem because to them, it may be obvious.
unintended clues
Unintended Clues
  • Teacher inadvertently tosses in clues that permit students to come up with the correct answer.
  • Example:
    • The annual award received by a musical recording artist for outstandingly successful recordings is called a:

A. Oscar

B. Emmy

C. Obie

D. Grammy

complicated syntax
Complicated Syntax
  • Items are written that incorporate convoluted syntax.
  • Example of a True-False item:
    • Having slain Hector, the feared Trojan warrior, Achilles, who was considered by all to be the most valiant of the Greeks, was destined to perish because of a flaw which, incurred while being immersed in the River Styx as an infant, he possessed.
  • A teacher who writes a question like this needs a workshop in “lean sentence structure.”
difficult vocabulary
Difficult Vocabulary
  • Students should not have to use a copy of the Oxford English Dictionary to take the test!
  • Make the test so that all the takers can understand the vocabulary, not only the ones that come from highly verbal families.
binary choice items
Binary-Choice Items
  • Provides only two choices and asks students to select one.
  • True-False items are the most common.
  • By chance alone, a student who knows nothing at all can get 50% right.
  • Some teachers have tried to modify it by asking test takers to correct a false statement.
multiple binary choice items
Multiple Binary-Choice Items
  • A cluster of items is presented, requiring a binary response to each in the cluster.
  • Example:
    • Imagine that a dozen of your advanced students completed a 10 item Right-Wrong quiz and earned the following number-correct scores:

5,6,7,7,7,7,8,8,8,8,9,10

    • Now, indicate whether each of the following two statements is true of false:
      • The range of the students’ scores is 5.0.
      • The mode for the set of scores is 8.0.
binary choice item writing guidelines
Binary-Choice Item Writing Guidelines
  • Conceptualize Binary-Choice items in pairs, not singly.
  • Phrase the item so that a superficial analysis by the student suggests a wrong answer.
  • Rarely use negative statements, and never use double negatives.
  • Don’t include two concepts in the same statement.
  • Have an approximately equal number of items representing the two categories being tested.
  • Keep similar the length of items representing both categories being tested.
matching items
Matching Items
  • Consists of two lists of words or phrases that require the student to match an item from the first list to an item in the second list.
  • Imperfect match- more choices in column B than in column A so that there are more choices of answers than questions.
    • Increases the effectiveness
matching item writing guidelines
Matching Item Writing Guidelines
  • Use relatively brief lists, and place shorter words or phrases at the right.
  • Employ homogeneous lists in a matching item.
  • Include more responses than premises.
  • List the responses in a logical order.
  • Describe the basis for matching and the number of times a response may be used.
  • If possible, place all premises and responses for a matching item on the same page.
multiple choice items
Multiple Choice Items
  • Most popular type of question.
  • Stem- question or incomplete statement
  • Alternatives- possible answers
  • Distractors- wrong answers
multiple choice item writing guidelines
Multiple Choice Item Writing Guidelines
  • The stem should contain a self-contained question or problem.
  • The stem should contain as much of the item’s content as possible
  • If possible, avoid negatively stated stems.
  • Be sure that only one alternative represents the correct or best answer.
  • Each alternative should be grammatically consistent with the item’s stem.
multiple choice item writing guidelines continued
Multiple Choice Item Writing Guidelines Continued
  • Avoid creating alternatives whose relative length provides an unintended clue.
  • Make all alternatives plausible.
  • Randomly use each alternative position for correct answers in approximately equal numbers.
  • Unless important, avoid alternatives such as “none of the above” or “all of the above.”
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