History and Government: What are some of the limitations of  using essay questions in assessment?



6 c iii). Examine some of the limitations of  using essay questions in assessment?

  • Scoring is highly subjective because the examiner can at times be impressed with the literary skills and handwriting of the learners. This can seriously impair the validity of marks awarded in essay tests.
  • Grading calls for expert judgment because they produce responses which can only be effectively graded by a competent examiner.
  • Learner’s performance in a given item can influence the scorer in other. Items The scorer gives more or less marks depending on the first performance of the candidate
  • Reliability of most essay tests is low especially where option questions are allowed. Students answer questions of different content, thus making the results unreliable because the scores cannot be compared.
  • They are time consuming for students because a lot of time is spent thinking and writing: The teacher also takes time when grading because one is expected to understand and interpret the student’s mind as s/he. marks.
  • They encourage bluffing since the students express themselves freely
  • They have low reader reliability because some students do better on some-questions and poorly on others depending on how questions are constructed

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