Six Main Differences between Tests & Assessments

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20 Questions to Ask yourself Before Printing your Test

Ask and answer the following questions before printing any test. Improve the test, then go ahead to print it.

1. Is the purpose of the test clear?

Is it a unit, month or end of term test? Is it to test what?

2. Does the test match the test specifications?

Are number and types of questions, distribution of marks, length of the reading text and time allowed as in the specifications?

3. Does the test content match the syllabus content?

Are the vocabulary, structures, functions, reading and writing questions in the test included in the syllabus?

4. Do the test questions match the objectives of the syllabus?

Do the test items measure to what extent the objectives are achieved?

5. Do the test items cover the cognitive levels?

Do the test items encourage students to show understanding, apply what they’ve learned, analyze, combine and evaluate?

6. Is the total time allowed clearly mentioned?

7. Are the marks for each question clearly written beside the question?

8. Are instructions clear on what exactly students have to do?

9. Are instructions grammatically correct, spelled correctly and written  in simple, clear language?

10. Are the format and layout clear and easy to follow?

Regarding to format:

  • Are the pages and all the questions numbered?
  • Is the font familiar and easy to read?
  • Are the texts and spaces well distributed?
  • Are the pictures and tables clear?

Regarding to layout:

  • Are the instructions clearly distinguished from the questions?
  • Are all relevant questions on one page?
  • Is there enough space for students to write their answers?

11. Are the questions organized in appropriate order from easy to difficult?

12. Are questions independent of each other? (students should not answer one question depending on another)

13. Are the questions in the right level according to the students’ level?  

14. Is the answer key available in a separate paper, correct and complete?

15. Is there only one correct answer for each MCQ?

16. Are all acceptable answers included in the answer key?

17. Is there a clear rating scale for marking writing question?

18. Are the marks easy to compute?

19. Are all questions free of bias in any way?

20. Is the test as a whole free of any offensive language?    

Invitation to a Free Online Session

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I am inviting you to join my 3rd  Online SESSION.

Creating a Good Language Test.

On 22 / 12 / 2016, at 4.00 PM, Egypt Standard Time ( GMT + 2 ) .

It’s a 40-minute FREE Session Online !!!

I’m going to tackle the following points during it:

* Reasons for Testing During English Language Course.

* What Should be Tested in the Language Test?

* Characteristics of a Good Language Test.

* The Cycle of Creating a Good Language Test.

* General Tips for Creating Good Test Items.

* Tips for Constructing MCQs.

* Tips for Constructing True/False items.

* Tips for Constructing Matching items.

* Tips for Constructing Completion items.

* Tips for Constructing Short-Answer Questions.

 Join from PC, Mac, Linux, iOS or Android on: https://zoom.us/j/614196310

A checklist for a good language test

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If you have already prepared a language test, don’t print it unless you check the following points. Then, you may go ahead to print it or improve it before printing. You should ensure that your test:

  • Follows the specifications assigned for preparing the language tests.
  • Measures the achievement of the desired objectives.
  • Tests what it ought to test and measures what it is supposed to measure.
  • Covers all items that have been taught or studied and includes items from different areas of the syllabus.
  • Tests vocabulary as well as grammar.
  • Includes everyday and communicative language.
  • Is neither too difficult nor too easy but progressive in difficulty.
  • Is appropriate in length for the allocated time.
  • Tells students what to do exactly and in a clear way.
  • Is easy to be conducted and scored without wasting too much time or effort.
  • Produces the same results if it is given twice to same students under the same conditions.

The Cycle of Creating a Good Language Test

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  1. The decision of providing and making the test:

It is usually made by the head teacher, administration, or the supervisor to select a teacher to construct the test. Or the teacher himself decides to make and provide the test as a formative kind of assessment of students’ learning.

  1. Considering the specifications:

It is related to have and get a look at the specifications of the test that should be followed to produce the test in its final version.

  1. Collecting information for the test:

In this stage the test provider collects information about the students (the test takers), their levels, abilities, points of weakness and points of strength as well and about the content on which the test is based, its objectives and outcomes, the items that have been taught and the teacher focused on and the items that have not been taught or have less focus in teaching.

  1. Assembling the materials for the test:

Here the test provider should write sample questions for the test following the specifications. As many questions as possible should be written down on a separate paper in this stage.

  1. Making the test:

According to the information collected in stage 3, the test provider should select from the questions written in stage 4 those questions which are suitable and use them to construct the test according to stage 2. Marks should be provided besides each question in the test as well.

  1. Marking and grading the test:

After conducting the test, it should be marked and graded. Marking means providing accurate marks for each students while grading means putting the marks into a meaningful category so that the test results can be understood.

  1. Reporting and communicating the test results:

In the final stage, test takers and others who concern should be provided with the test results and any other information needed for an appropriate interpretation.

Ten Simple Assessment Ideas for Everyday Use

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We always rely on written tests to assess our students. written tests cover little amount of  the learning material, so we should search for more ideas to show us that we are moving on, and whether our students have understood our explanation or they need more practice. I think the following ideas are useful to assess to what extent the students have learnt and what their weaknesses are:

  1. Ask open-ended questions starting with why and how.
  2. Ask for a summary of the lesson at the end.
  3. Use short tests/quizzes regularly and test one thing every time.
  4. Encourage role-play activities especially for conversations.
  5. Ask for comments from students on teaching procedures.
  6. Use mind map tools to encourage students to talk.
  7. Ask students to prepare something and talk about it.
  8. Encourage exchanging books among students to mark.
  9. Use rubrics and ask students to assess themselves.
  10. Exploit games and puzzles to assess language usage.

What else can you add? Write what you already do to assess your students daily.

Consider Six Main Points in your Assessment

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Before writing any examination questions or designing assessment exercises, you should keep in mind the following six points:

  1. Provide your students with the opportunity to show to what extent they have achieved the outcomes of learning of the whole syllabus or the lesson at hand. Accordingly, your assessment should differentiate between those who have already learned and those who need revision or more practice.
  1. Focus only on the most important aspects of the course and the objectives that you set for each lesson or unit, rather than other details.
  1. Provide feedback on performance as soon as possible so that students may improve themselves. Remember that the main aim of assessment is that students are able to learn through the process of assessment and view assessment as part of their learning process.
  1. Provide a means of encouragement by giving students the chance to see and sense their success and progress. It builds and increases their self-confidence as achievers.
  1. Design clear assessment criteria and marking guidance that allow differentiation and make students feel that you are fair.
  1. Meet all of your students’ styles of learning by using different and various assessment means and tools but assess one thing at a time.