A test may be defined as an activity whose main purpose is to convey how well the testee knows or can do something.
It is often that tests are mostly used for assessment knowledge of the testee. This may be in order to decide whether he or she is suitable for a certain job or admission to an institution, has passed a course or can enter a certain class.
But in fact testing and assessment overlap only partially and there are certainly other reasons for testing.
II. Reasons for testing :
Tests may be used as a means to:
1. Give the teacher information about where the students are at the moment, how successful the teaching has been to help decide what to teach next.
2. Give the students information about what they know, how well they are progressing so that they also have an awareness of what they need to learn or review.
3. Assess for some purpose external to current teaching.
4. Motivate students to learn or review specific material.
5. Get a noisy class to keep quiet and concentrate.
6. Provide a clear indication that the class has reached a “station” in learning, such as the end of a unit, thus contributing to a sense of structure in the course as a whole.
7. Get students to make an effort (in doing the test itself), which is likely to lead to better results and a feeling of satisfaction.
8. Give students tasks which, in themselves, may actually provide useful review or practice, as well as testing.
9. Provide students with a sense of achievement and progress in their learning
III. Taking a test :
Teacher should experience a test from the point of view of a testee, and then return to the role of teacher.
1. Preparation: The theoretical concepts: validity, reliability, backwash.
1.What is a “valid” test? 2.What is a “reliable test?
3.What is backwash?
2. Checking and marking
Most learners like to know how well they did on a test, and the assessment is perhaps most conveniently expressed as a number. Even people who do not like being tested may feel disappointed if they are not told their score. They often do not, however, wish other people to know.
You may have felt: irritated, unpleasantly stressed, acceptably or even pleasantly tense or indifferent
VI. Types of test elicitation techniques
A certain testing purpose will probably depend mainly on the following considerations:
1. What will it tell about the testee’s knowledge? In other words, for what type of knowledge might it be a valid test?
2.How easy is it to compose?
3. How easy is it to administer?
4. How easy is it to mark?
There are 12 types of elicitation techniques:
1. Questions and answers Simple questions, very often following reading, or as part of an interview: may require short or long answers.
2. True/ false
A statement is given as a question, in which is to be marked true or false. This may also be given as a question, in which case the answer is yes or no.
Addis Ababa is the capital of Egypt.
Is Addis Ababa the capital of Egypt?
The question consists of a stem and a number of options (usually four), from which the testee has to select the right one
Example: A person who writes books is called:
a. a booker b. an editor
c. an author d. a publisher
4. Gap-filling and completion:
The testee has to complete a sentence by filling a gap or adding something. A gap may or may not be signaled by a blank or dash, the word to be inserted may or may not be given or hinted at.
The testee is faced with two groups of words, phrases or sentences; each item in the first group has to be linked to a different item in the second.
A lot big
The tester dictates a passage or set of words; the testee writes them down.
Words are omitted from a passage at regular intervals (for example, every seventh word). Usually the first two or three lines are given with no gaps.
The family are all fine, though Leo had a bad bout of flu last week. He spent most of it lying on the sofa watching………… when he wasn’t sleeping!
His exams………. In two weeks, so he is ………about missing school, but has managed to ……….quite a lot in spite…………. feeling ill.
A sentence is given; the testee has to change it according to some given instruction.
Put into the past tense.
I go to school by bus.
A sentence is given; the testee rewrites it, incorporating a given change of expression, but preserving the basic meaning.
He came to the meeting in spite of his illness.
The testee is asked to translate expressions, sentences or entire passages to or from the target language
11. Essay: The testee is given a topic, such as “Childhood memories”, and asked to write an essay of a specific length.
12.Monologue: The testee is given a topic or question and asked to speak about it for a minute or two.
V. Designing a test:
It is a good idea to list in writing all the material that the instructor wants the test to cover. The instructor then refers back to the list during and after the test-writing to see if it has included everything that was intended to be tested.
Guidelines for test preparation
Validity: Check that your items really do test what they are meant to!
Clarify: Make sure the instructions for each item are clear. They should usually include a sample item and solution.
“ Do-ability”: The test should be quite do-able; not too difficult, with no trick questions. Ask a colleague to read through it and answer the questions before finalizing.
Marking: Decide exactly how you will assess each selection of the test, and how much weighting (percentage of the total grade) you will give it. Make the marking system as simple as you can, and inform the teÏstees what it is; Write in the number of points allotted after the instructions for each question.
Interest: Try to choose interesting content and tasks, in order to make the test more motivating for the learners.
Heterogeneity: The test should be such that lower-level students can feel that they are able to do a substantial part of the test, while the higher-level ones have a chance to show what they know. So include both easy and difficult items, and make one or more of the difficult ones optional.
VI. Test administration
The actual design of a test, whether oral or written, formal or informal is, of course, important, but it is not the end of the story. How the test is actually administered and returned can make a huge difference to motivation and performance; in particular, sensitive presentation of a test can significantly reduce learner anxiety
1. Questions on test administration :
Before the test:
How far in advance do you announce the test?
How much do you tell the class about what is going to be in it, and about the marking criteria?
How much information do you need to give them about the time, place, any limitations or rules?
Do you give them any “tips” about how best to cope with the test format?
Do you expect them to prepare at home, or do you give them some class time for preparation?
Assuming that you do, what do you say before giving out the test papers?
Do you ad anything when the papers have been distributed but students have not yet started work?
During the test
Are you absolutely passive or are you interacting with the students in any way?
Giving the test:
After the test
How long does it take you to mark and return the papers?
Do you then go through them in class?
Do you demand any follow-up work on the part of the students?
Should the teacher ask students to give the correction and comment to themseves with the papers have been coded and hidden the owners’ names?