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Alternatives in Assessment. Assessment Options. Popham, W. J. (1995). Classroom assessment : what teachers need to know . Boston: Allyn and Bacon. Item Types. Selected-response Constructed-response Personal response. Selected-response formats. Conventional multiple-choice Matching

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assessment options
Assessment Options

Popham, W. J. (1995). Classroom assessment : what teachers need to know. Boston: Allyn and Bacon.

item types
Item Types
  • Selected-response
  • Constructed-response
  • Personal response
selected response formats
Selected-response formats
  • Conventional multiple-choice
  • Matching
  • Alternate choice
  • True-False
  • Complex multiple-choice
  • Multiple True – False
  • Context-dependent item sets (reading comprehension)
conventional mc item


Answer (*key)


Conventional MC item

“I’d like to buy some more coffee, please.”

“I’m sorry, but there doesn’t seem to be ____.”

  • any left
  • left any
  • leaving any
  • some left

(C.E.L.T. Test of English Structure)

  • Keep items similar
  • Unequal number of choices
  • +Efficient
  • -Can lead to trivial lists

Nation, I. S. P. (1990). Teaching and learning vocabulary. Boston: Heinle & Heinle.

alternate choice

The team needs new (shirts / shorts).

(Oxford Placement Test – Listening)

Alternate choice
  • Comparison between choices – not true/false
  • Many tests have only two plausible distractors anyway
  • + Efficient
  • Score range 50% - 100%
true false
True - False

A person who lethargic is full of energy. TRUE / FALSE

  • Popular in many textbook exercises
  • + Efficient
  • + realistic judgment
  • - guessing affected by test-takers’ personality
  • Score range 50% - 100%
complex multiple choice
Complex multiple choice

The fluid imbalance known as edema is commonly associated with:

1. Allergic reactions.

2. Congestive heart failure.

3. Extensive burns.

4. Protein deficiency.

The correct answer is:

a. 1, 2, and 3.

b. 1 and 3.

c. 2 and 4.

d. 4 only.

*e. 1, 2, 3, and 4.

  • More difficult to process than regular MCQ
  • Does not discriminate well

BYU Guidebook for Developing Multiple-Choice Tests

multiple true false
Multiple True-False

The fluid imbalance known as edema is commonly associated with:

1. Allergic reactions. (T/F)

2. Congestive heart failure. (T/F)

3. Extensive burns. (T/F)

4. Protein deficiency. (T/F)

  • Also often used in textbooks
  • Fewer problems than complex multiple-choice
context dependent item sets
Context dependent item sets
  • Sometimes known as ‘testlets’, ‘item bundles’, ‘scenarios’
  • Reading comprehension passage with multiple questions
  • Listening comprehension passage with multiple questions
  • Items are usually not independent
  • Should ideally be treated as a group
interlinear items
Interlinear items

Rathmell, G. (1985). Test of English proficiency level. California: Hayward: The Alemany Press.

items using visual support
Items using visual support

Reading proficiency test by Siwon Park, piloted in HELP program

advantages of selected response
Advantages of selected response
  • easy to administer
  • easy to score
  • scoring is “objective”
disadvantages of selected response
Disadvantages of selected-response
  • relatively difficult to create
  • requires no language production
  • tend to measure knowledge rather than skill
constructed response formats
Constructed-response formats
  • Fill-in
  • cloze
  • C-test
  • short answer
  • essay
  • interview
  • performance (weak / strong)
fill in item
Fill-in item

Tom loves coffee. He drinks it ______ day.

  • Requires production but is constrained
  • Can target specific knowledge
  • Potential for ambiguity

The science of automatic control depends on certain common principles by which an organism, machine, or system regulates itself. Many historical developments up to the present day have helped to identify these principles. For hundreds of years there ___(1)____ many examples of automatic control systems, but no connections were recognized among ___(2)____. A very early example was a device on windmills designed ___(3)___ keep their sails facing into the wind …. (Heisei University)

  • Rational versus mechanical deletion

+(Relatively) easy to create and score

-What does cloze measure?

c test

An American friend of ours hired a car in London although he was inexperienced in driving on the left-hand side of the road. Soon h_(1)_ found him__(2)_ going i__(3)_ the wr__(4)_ direction ro__(5)_ a roundabout. H__(6)_ braked sha__(7)_, slid side__(8)_, and en__(9)_ up wi__(10)_ both fr__(11)_ wheels o__(12)_ the pave__(13)_. …

+Objective scoring possible

+Easy to create

-Format may confuse test takers

short answer essay
Short answer / Essay

ESSAY: Recently, incidents depicting violence have been increasingly common in primetime TV programs. Some people argue that watching violent acts encourages people to become more violent. Other people claim that watching violence fulfills a natural desire for aggression and actually reduces violent behavior. Which position do you agree with? Write an essay defending your position. Be sure to support your ideas.

+Easy to create

+Extended sample of language

-Scoring can be subjective

-Interaction between language and other abilities

  • Very popular format for assessing oral language

+direct assessment of speaking ability

-scoring can be subjective

-influence of interviewer

strengths of performance assessments
Strengths of performance assessments
  • Positive washback for programs
  • Focus on real world ability rather than trivial knowledge
  • Closer match to course objectives
  • Can document creativity, critical thinking skills
  • Provide useful diagnostic information about students’ abilities
weaknesses of performance assessments
Weaknesses of performance assessments
  • Logistically difficult to create and administer on a large scale
  • Use of rater judgments may lead to low reliability
  • Construct underrepresentation
  • Construct irrelevant variance
  • Generalizability
advantages of constructed response
Advantages of constructed-response
  • no effect for guessing
  • productive language use
  • interaction of receptive and productive skills
disadvantages of constructed response
Disadvantages of constructed-response
  • difficult and time consuming to score
  • scoring is subjective
  • “bluffing” is possible
personal response
Personal response
  • conferences
  • portfolios
  • student profiles
  • self-assessment
advantages of personal response
Advantages of personal response
  • student-centered
  • appropriate for assessing learning processes
  • useful for learners with unique profiles
disadvantages of personal response
Disadvantages of personal response
  • difficult to create and structure
  • scoring is subjective
test delivery formats
Test delivery formats
  • paper and pencil
  • telephone
  • computer
    • computer-delivered
    • web delivered
    • computer adaptive
adaptive testing
Adaptive testing

Sands, W. A., & Waters, B. K. (1997). Introduction to ASVAB and CAT. In W. A. Sands & B. K. Waters & J. R. McBride (Eds.), Computerized adaptive testing (pp. 3-10). Washington: American Psychological Association.