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Examination design. Learning intentions. That a good examination is meaningful, fair and used to inform teaching That a good examination is derived from the curriculum content That a good examination provides a range of question types appropriate to different levels of thinking

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Learning intentions
Learning intentions

  • That a good examination is meaningful, fair and used to inform teaching

  • That a good examination is derived from the curriculum content

  • That a good examination provides a range of question types appropriate to different levels of thinking

  • That a good examination is accompanied by a marking schedule

Characteristics of a good examination
Characteristics of a good examination

  • Is a fair and valid assessment of students’ abilities in relation to the expected learning outcomes

  • Gives students opportunity to show what they can do, rather than reveal what they cannot

  • Adheres to any requirements specified in the course prescription

  • Is clear, unambiguous and error-free

  • Is balanced in terms of time allocation and mark allocation

  • Is accompanied by a marking schedule

A good marking schedule
A good marking schedule:

  • Reflects the expected learning outcomes of the course prescription

  • Gives the main points required in answers and acceptable alternatives

  • Shows any calculations required

  • Shows clearly how marks are allocated and what students need to do to earn these marks

  • Assists the marker in making judgements on whether or not students’ answers will be awarded the specified marks.

Planning the examination paper
Planning the examination paper

  • A useful first step is to determine the structure of the paper. This may be done by drawing up a chart listing prescription topics and allocating marks for each question

  • The QSSC cluster specifications are a good starting point for this at Grade 12

Types of questions
Types of questions up a content matrix

Advantages and limitations of mcq
Advantages and limitations of MCQ up a content matrix

  • They are flexible and can be used to assess a variety of topics. Can yield useful diagnostic information (e.g. ICAS tests - International Competitions and Assessments for Schools)

  • But: there is a guessing factor, it is difficult to write a sufficient number of plausible distractors (time consuming) and they are inappropriate for assessing the ability to organise and present information or ideas.

Example of mcq
Example of MCQ up a content matrix

Choose the suitable word(s):(__ marks): Write your answers in the box below:

1-1-Oxygen occurs in the free state as a gas, to the extent of ......... per cent by volume in the atmosphere.

a-21 b-23 c-78

Choose the correct answer in the following : ____ Marks

2 - The energy used in the Calvin cycle for the production of carbohydrate

molecules comes from

  • a. ATP and NADH b. ATP only. C. Co2 d. The Krebs cycle.

Examination design

Identify the choice that best completes the statement or answers the question.


In a vacuum, electromagnetic radiation of short wavelengths

Advantages and limitations of short answer questions
Advantages and limitations of short answer questions answers the question.

  • They are good for testing a student’s knowledge of factual material, guessing is reduced.

  • Reasonably easy to write and mark.

  • But: the teacher should anticipate or be prepared to accept unexpected answers which are correct.

  • They must be well designed if they are to assess high-level skills such as analysis and problem solving.

Examination design

Question 3 short answer questions . answers the question. ____ marks

A - In the shape beside which presents a character of cross leaf structure

In which part photosynthesis does occur

……… … and it is called


B - Explain why photosynthesis is more concentrated in this part of the leaf?


Examination design

Put (true) or (false ) in the flowing sentences ( answers the question. marks)

1-The dark lines in a double-slit interference pattern are due to constructive interference ( )

Answer the following questions

1-If a light ray strikes a flat mirror at an angle of

above the mirror’s surface, what is the angle of reflection in relation to the normal?

( 3marks)

D-Fill in the following table:(Two marks)

Problem solving questions
Problem-solving questions answers the question.

  • Usually a context is given and a series of questions is asked on the information given, often in order of increasing complexity.

  • Advantages: can be used to assess a variety of skills, particularly higher level abilities.

  • Are an efficient use of exam time

  • Limitations: They require careful wording and resources may need to be provided, which require preparation.

  • They may be difficult to mark

Examination design

QUESTION ONE: TANDEM SKYDIVING answers the question.

Ali wins a competition for a Tandem Skydive.

The plane flies to a height of 5 000 m above sea level.

Ali is strapped to his jumpmaster.

Ali and the jumpmaster have a combined mass of 150 kg.

(a) Using the equation Fgravity = mg find the combined weight of Ali and the jumpmaster.

Weight = __________ N

(b) Calculate the amount of gravitational potential energy Ali and the jumpmaster have just before they jump out of the plane at 5 000 m.

Gravitational Potential Energy = _______________ J

Open response questions essays or paragraphs
Open response questions (essays or paragraphs) answers the question.

  • Advantages: considerable coverage of course objectives can be achieved

  • Can be structured to assist students with the organisation of their answers

  • Diagrams are often an appropriate alternative to prose

  • Limitations: students may be limited by poor literacy

  • They may be difficult to mark consistently

Examination design

B-Explain the presence of two series of salts of answers the question. sulphur?(Two marks)

Question two

Answer the following question(5marks)

1-Using the concepts of reflection and refraction, explain how arainbow is formed from tiny water droplets in the sky. Include adiagram to explain your answer.

(d) Many disease-causing bacteria have become resistant to antibiotics.

Discuss (i) how the use of antibiotics has made this problem worse, and

(ii) what can be done to reduce the problem.

Writing examination questions
Writing examination questions: answers the question.

  • Examination questions should have the following characteristics:

  • They must be factually correct

  • They should be written in clear language. Keep sentences short. They should not be ambiguous.

  • Marks allocated to each question or part of question should be shown clearly.

  • The number of marks allocated to questions or parts should reflect the amount of time required to answer.

Examination design

Putting the question
Putting the question first, before the question is posed.

  • Questions should contain a key verb which will direct the student’s answer.

  • Students must understand what level of answer is required depending on the verb used, and need to be trained in interpreting exam questions accordingly.

  • Examples: analyse, compare and contrast, define, state, describe, explain, discuss, list, mane, sketch, draw etc.

Marking schedules
Marking schedules first, before the question is posed.

  • The marking schedule for an examination should be written at the time the examination paper is prepared. It should show:

  • The allocation of marks for each part of a question

  • The main points required in a student’s answer and acceptable alternatives

  • Show how marks relate to the main points in the answers and to the steps required in calculations

  • It should be unambiguous enough to be used by another marker.

Benchmarks and exemplars
Benchmarks and exemplars first, before the question is posed.

  • When using a marking schedule, markers will compare answers with descriptors or sets of criteria. These may not, however, adequately identify the standard of work required for a particular result.

  • The best way to define a standard is to identify exemplars, benchmark answers that exemplify the standard of work required for each grade.

  • When more than one marker is used, some form of moderation is needed. Exemplars are a useful tool in this respect.

Proof reading
Proof reading first, before the question is posed.

  • Before submitting the paper for printing, check it yourself or have a colleague do this. Teachers who are not specialists in your subject will often notice if a question fails to make sense.

  • Read each question through carefully for meaning – look for ambiguities, lack of clarity, incomplete information.

  • Read the instructions

  • Check each word for spelling

  • Use a proof reading checklist

Homework first, before the question is posed.

  • Proof read the assessment examples included in this slide show and make any necessary corrections.

  • For each question, decide whether it meets the criteria for a good assessment. If not, rewrite the question so that it does.

  • Devise an appropriate marking scheme for the questions which pertain to your curriculum area.

  • Combine those questions into one assesment. Prepare an assessment matrix.