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Week 6 Lecture 5 Some Practical Steps to Test Construction Brown, p. 48-65

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Week 6 Lecture 5 Some Practical Steps to Test Construction Brown, p. 48-65. Lecture’s objectives E xplore the four remaining questions mentioned on page 42. Focus on equipping students with the tools they need to create classroom oriented tests.

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Week 6Lecture 5

Some Practical Steps to Test Construction

Brown, p. 48-65


Lecture’s objectives

  • Explore the four remaining questions mentioned on page 42.
  • Focus on equipping students with the tools they need to create classroom oriented tests.
  • Consider some practical steps in constructing classroom tests such as:
  • Assessing clear, unambiguous objectives.
  • Drawing up test specifications.
  • Devising test tasks.
  • Designing multiple-choice test items.
  • Scoring, grading, and giving feedback.

1. Assessing clear, unambiguous objectives:

  • - It is not enough to know the purpose of the test you’re creating, you need to know what it is you want to test.
  • Begin by taking a careful look at everything that you think your students should “know” or be able to “do” , based on the material that students are responsible for.
  • “Examine the objectives for the unit you are testing”
  • *Read paragraph two on page 49 and try to describe the objectives that you need to form.

As you read in the paragraph, objectives should be :

  • appropriately framed and assessable.
  • Stated in terms of overt performance.
  • Can you clarify this by discussing the examples mentioned
  • on (p, 49-50).

2.Drawing up test specifications:

Test specifications for the classroom use can be a simple and practical outline of your test.

Unlike standardized tests in which specifications are much more formal and detailed , your specifications will simply comprise:

Outline of the test

Skills to be included.

(Your unit test must take no more than 30 minutes which will be divided equally in time among all skills. If you have a small class you can have the speaking test in the preceding period).

c) Item types and tasks. ( there are a number of modes of eliciting responses and of responding on tests of any kind).

Let us discuss figure 3.1 (p,51) and the table (p, 52)



One more test spec that needs to be included is a plan for scoring and assigning relative weight to each section and each item within. This issue will be addressed later..


3. Devising Test Tasks:

You try to draft test items to provide a sense of authenticity and interest.

Could you discuss the factors that you should consider when you devise your test items? (p, 53).

Read in pairs the questions mentioned on page, 54 about revising your draft and choose one to discuss it’s importance.


Ideally, you would:

  • Try out all your tests on students not in your class before actually administrating the tests (the tryout face).
  • Alternatively, you could enlist the aid of a colleague to look over your test.
  • In the final revision of your test, imagine that you are a student taking the test. Go through each set of directions. Time yourself. Make the necessary adjustments. Make sure your test is neat and uncluttered on the page. Make sure that the script and your voice are clear. Check the audio equipment before starting the test.

4. Designing Multiple- Choice Test Items:

Practicality and reliability are the two principles that support multiple choice format. Their predetermined correct responses and time saving scoring procedures might help teachers save time in grading the test, but what about the time they spend in designing such items.

- Do you agree that multiple-choice items are considered to be the simplest to construct and have no weaknesses?(p, 55)

- Discuss the terminology of writing multiple- choice items.(p,56)


Guidelines for designing multiple-choice items:

Design each item to measure a specific objective. Discuss the provided example on pages 56 and 57.

2. State both stem and options as simply and directly as possible.

( Do not make the multiple-choice items too wordy, get directly to the point, remove needless redundancy from your options). P,57

3. Make certain that the intended answer is clearly the only correct one. P,58


4. Use item indices to accept, discard or revise items.

The appropriate selection and arrangement of suitable multiple-choice items on a test can be best accomplished by measuring items against three indices:

Item facility (or item difficulty)

It is the extent to which an item is easy or difficult for the proposed group of test-takers. IF simply reflects the percentage of students answering the item correctly.(p.59)

2. Item discrimination (item differentiation)

It is the extent to which an item differentiates between high and low ability test-takers. By using the ID formula you can judge if the items discriminate between the two groups or not.(p,59)


3. Distractor efficiency

It is related to item discrimination. The efficiency of distractors is the extent to which:

“Iure” a sufficient number of test-takers, especially low ability ones.

Those responses are somewhat evenly distributed across all distractors.



Scoring, Grading, and Giving Feedback:


Your scoring plan reflects the relative weight that you place on each section and items in each section. (p, 61-62)


Assigning grades to student performance on the test would be by giving “A” for 90-100 percent, “B” for 80-89 percent, and so on.

How can you assign letter grades to the test,? (p,62)


Giving Feedback:

Consider the forms in which you will offer feedback to your students, feedback that you want to become beneficial washback.

Consider the options on page 63 that you might choose to return the test to the students with.



In this chapter, guidelines and tools were provided to enable you to address the five questions posed at the outset:

How to determine the purpose or criterion of the test?

How to state objectives?

How to design specifications?

How to select and arrange test tasks including evaluating those tasks?

How to ensure appropriate washback to the student?