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Basic Testing Terminology


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Topic 3 Language Assessment (TSL3123)

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Basic Testing Terminology

  1. 1. Lecturer: Yee Bee Choo IPGKTHO
  2. 2. Types of Test Norm- Referenced and Criterion- Referenced Objective and Subjective Formative and Summative YBC
  3. 3. According to Brown (2010), in NRTs an individual test-taker’s score is interpreted in relation to a mean (average score), median (middle score), standard deviation (extent of variance in scores), and/or percentile rank. The purpose of such tests is to place test-takers along a mathematical continuum in rank order. In a test, scores are commonly reported back to the test-taker in the form of a numerical score for example, 250 out of 300 and a percentile rank for instance 78 percent, which denotes that the test- taker’s score was higher than 78 percent of the total number of test-takers but lower than 22 percent in the administration. YBC
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  5. 5. NRT is administered to compare an individual performance with his peers’ and/or compare a group with other groups. In the School-Based Evaluation, NRT is used for the summative evaluation, such as in the end of the year examination for the streaming and selection of students. YBC
  6. 6. Gottlieb (2006) refers Criterion-referenced tests as the collection of information about student progress or achievement in relation to a specified criterion. In a standards-based assessment model, the standards serve as the criteria or yardstick for measurement. YBC
  7. 7. Following Glaser (1973), the word ‘criterion’ means the use of score values that can be accepted as the index of attainment to a test-taker. Thus, CRTs are designed to provide feedback to test-takers, mostly in the form of grades, on specific course or lesson objectives. YBC
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  9. 9. Curriculum Development Centre (2001) defines CRT as an approach that provides information on student’s mastery based on the criteria determined by the teacher. These criteria are based on learning outcomes or objectives as specified in the syllabus. YBC
  10. 10. The main advantage of CRTs is that they provide the testers to make inferences about how much language proficiency, in the case of language proficiency tests, or knowledge and skills, in the aspect of academic achievement tests, that test takers/students originally have and their successive gains over time. As opposed to NRTs, CRTs focus on student’s mastery of a subject matter (represented in the standards) along a continuum instead of ranking student on a bell curve. YBC
  11. 11. Norm-Referenced Test Criterion-Referenced Test Definition A test that measures student’s achievement as compared to other students in the group An approach that provides information on student’s mastery based on a criterion specified by the teacher Purpose •Determine performance difference among individual and groups •Foster learning •Determine learning mastery based on specified criterion and standard •Classify/ Group students Test Item From easy to difficult level and able to discriminate examinee’s ability Guided by minimum achievement in the related objectives YBC
  12. 12. Norm-Referenced Test Criterion-Referenced Test Group size Large group Relatively small group Range of tested ability Wide range of abilities Relatively homogenous Text length Large number of questions Few questions Time allocation Long (2-4 hours) administration Relatively short time Cost Test booklet, delivery fee, invigilation and examiner’s fee Teacher-made, duplication YBC
  13. 13. Norm-Referenced Test Criterion-Referenced Test Expectation Do not know content Know content to expect Levels of Generality Overall/ Global Classroom, specific Types of Test Aptitude, Proficiency, Placement Diagnostic, progress, achievement Appropriate ness Summative evaluation Formative evaluation Example Public exams: UPSR, SPM and STPM Mastery test: monthly test, coursework, project, exercises Score report strategies Only scores go to students Scores and answers go to students YBC
  14. 14. Formative test is a kind of feedback teachers give students while the course is progressing. Formative assessment can be seen as assessment for learning. It is part of the instructional process. We can think of formative assessment as “practice.” With continual feedback the teachers may assist students to improve their performance. The teachers point out on what the students have done wrong and help them to get it right. YBC
  15. 15. Based on the results of formative test, the teachers can suggest changes to the focus of curriculum or emphasis on some specific lesson elements. Students may also need to change and improve. Due to the demanding nature of this formative test, numerous teachers prefer not to adopt this test although giving back any assessed homework or achievement test present both teachers and students healthy and ultimate learning opportunities. YBC
  16. 16. Summative test refers to the kind of measurement that summarise what the student has learnt or give a one-off measurement. Summative assessment is assessment of student learning. Students are more likely to experience assessment carried out individually where they are expected to reproduce discrete language items from memory. The results then are used to yield a school report and to determine what students know and do not know. YBC
  17. 17. It does not necessarily provide a clear picture of an individual’s overall progress or even his/her full potential, especially if he/she is hindered by the fear factor of physically sitting for a test, but may provide straightforward and invaluable results for teachers to analyse. It is given at a point in time to measure student achievement in relation to a clearly defined set of standards, but it does not necessarily show the way to future progress. It is given after learning is supposed to occur. End of the year tests in a course and other general proficiency exams are some of the examples of summative tests. YBC
  18. 18. Summative Test Formative Test It measures students’ competency It improves individual It provides feedback to students It assess students’ overall performance It assess students’ mastery and understanding of skills End of instruction Before or during instruction End of year On-going throughout the year Aligned to content area state standards Linked to learning experience Final exams Entrance exams Anecdotal records Quizzes and essays Diagnostic tests YBC
  19. 19. According to BBC Teaching English, an objective test is a test that consists of right or wrong answers and thus it can be marked objectively. Objective tests are popular because they are easy to prepare and take, quick to mark, and provide a quantifiable and concrete result. They tend to focus more on specific facts than on general ideas and concepts. YBC
  20. 20. The types of objective tests include the following: i. Multiple-choice items/questions ii. True-false items/questions: iii. Matching items/questions; and iv. Fill-in the blanks items/questions. YBC
  21. 21. Multiple-choice items are all receptive, or selective, response items in that the test-takers chooses from a set of responses rather than creating a response. Multiple-choice question is select type where students are expected to select or choose answer from a list of options Fill-in the blank question is supply type where the students are expected to supply the answer by giving the correct word or phrases because no optional responses are provided. YBC
  22. 22. Stimulus Item Options Key Distractors MCQ item Terminology in Multiple-Choice Question (MCQ): YBC
  23. 23. Terminology in MCQ: 1. Stimulus Stimulus can be used with a multiple choice item, something like a bar graph, a table, a map, a short text, etc. YBC
  24. 24. Terminology in MCQ : 2. Stem Every multiple-choice item consists of a stem (the ‘body’ of the item that presents a stimulus). Stem is the question or assignment in an item. It is in a complete or open, positive or negative sentence form. Stem must be short or simple, compact and clear. However, it must not easily give away the right answer. YBC
  25. 25. Terminology in MCQ : 3. Options or alternatives They are known as a list of possible responses to a test item. There are usually between three and five options/alternatives to choose from. YBC
  26. 26. Terminology in MCQ : 4. Key This is the correct response. The response can either be correct or the best one. Usually for a good item, the correct answer is not obvious as compared to the distractors. YBC
  27. 27. Terminology in MCQ : 5. Distractors This is known as a ‘disturber’ that is included to distract students from selecting the correct answer. An excellent distractor is almost the same as the correct answer but it is not. YBC
  28. 28. 1. Which city would you go to if you want to experience snowfall? STIMULUS STEM KEY DISTRACTORS COMPONENTS OF MCQ ITEM World Weather : Min[C] Max [C] Amsterdam 12 17 partly cloudy Beijing 14 32 clear Geneva 11 16 rain Toronto -01 08 partly cloudy Johannesburg 09 17 clear Los Angeles 10 21 cloudy Mexico City 13 20 partly cloudy A. Geneva B. Johannesburg C. Toronto D. Beijing OPTIONS Objective Test YBC
  29. 29. CRITERIA OF A GOOD ITEM BUILDER Understands:  Syllabus Specifications  Current circulars  Exam format  Textbook  Table of Specifications (JSU)
  30. 30. Guidelines when constructing MCQ: 1. Design an item to measure an important learning outcome. 2. Present a single, clearly formulated problem in the stem. 3. Stem – simple, clear language 4. Put as much of the wording as possible in the stem. YBC
  31. 31. Guidelines when constructing MCQ: 5. State the item in the positive form wherever possible. 6. Emphasise negative wording whenever it is used in the stem. Use: caps, underlining, placing near the end of the stem etc. 7. Intended answer – correct, the best 8. Make all the alternatives grammatically consistent. YBC
  32. 32. Guidelines when constructing MCQ : 9. Avoid verbal clues which might enable students to select the correct answer or to eliminate an incorrect alternative. a. Similarity of wording in both the stem and the key/correct answer. b. Stating the correct answer in textbook language or sterotype phraseology. c. stating the correct answer in greater detail. d. Including absolute terms in the distractors – use of ‘never’, ‘all’, none’, ‘always’ etc. YBC
  33. 33. Guidelines when constructing MCQ : 10. Make the distractors plausible and attractive to the informed. a. Use common misconceptions and/or errors as distractors. b. State the alternatives in the language of the students. c. Use good sounding words e.g. ‘accurate’, ‘important’ etc. in the distractors as well as the correct answer. d. Make the distractors similar. e. Do not use extraness/irrelevant unrelated clues in the distractors. f. Make the alternatives homogenous. YBC
  34. 34. Guidelines when constructing MCQ : 11. Vary the length of the correct answer to eliminate length as a clue. 12. Use the alternatives, ‘all of the above’ and ‘none of the above’ with extreme caution. 13. Vary the position of the correct answer in a random manner. 14. Control the difficulty of the items either by varying the problem in the stem or by changing the alternatives. 15. Make certain each item is independent. 16. Use an efficient item format for ease of scoring. YBC
  35. 35. Advantages in using multiple-choice items: versatility in measuring all levels of cognitive ability. highly reliable test scores. scoring efficiency and accuracy. objective measurement of student achievement or ability. a wide sampling of content or objectives. a reduced guessing factor when compared to true-false items. different response alternatives which can provide diagnostic feedback. YBC
  36. 36. Weaknesses of multiple-choice items (Brown, 2004): This technique tests only recognition knowledge Guessing may have a considerable effect on test scores This technique severely restricts what can be tested It is very difficult to write successful items Washback may be harmful Cheating may be facilitated Difficult and time-consuming YBC
  37. 37. Contrary to an objective test, a subjective test is evaluated by giving an opinion, usually based on agreed criteria. Subjective tests include essay, short-answer, vocabulary, and take-home tests. Some students become very anxious of these tests because they feel their writing skills are not up to par. YBC
  38. 38. In reality, a subjective test provides more opportunity to test-takers to show/demonstrate their understanding and/or in-depth knowledge and skills in the subject matter. In this case, test takers might provide some acceptable, alternative responses that the tester, teacher or test developer did not predict. Generally, subjective tests will test the higher skills of analysis, synthesis, and evaluation. In short, subjective test will enable students to be more creative and critical. YBC
  39. 39. Objective Test Subjective Test Require students to select a correct answers from several options or supply a word or short phrase to answer a question Require students to write and present an original answer Only one correct answer More than one correct answer Facts and data Opinions and interpretations MCQ, True/False, Fill-in the blanks, Matching Short-answer essay, essay, problem solving, extended- response questions Fair and free of bias Open to interpretation Short time is needed Longer time is needed Difficult to construct the question Easy to construct the questions YBC