History and Government: What is the definition of a test and what should  teachers consider while setting a test?


6 b i). State the definition of a test and state what teachers should consider while setting a test.

A test can be defined as:

  • The presentation of a standard set of questions through which one obtains a measure characteristic of a person.
  • A form of examination for evaluating the performance and capabilities of a student or class.

When constructing a test, the teacher should do the following:

  • Define the learners’ task as completely and clearly as possible ensuring that it measures the intended objectives.
  • Write the items clearly and specifically in order for the learners to know what is expected of them.
  • The expected responses from the students should relate to significant content and behaviour as indicated in the table of specifications and objectives,
  • Restrict the subject matter to be covered by the question,
  • The area of emphasis for the question should be indicated either by underlining, writing in italics, or in bold writing.
  • The question should be interesting and challenging enough., and at the proper level of difficult)’ relative to the students and the test purpose.
  • Structure the questions in such a way that an overall understanding of the learners can be assessed.
  • Each question should be easy to follow from the learners’ point of view.
  • Avoid vague terms that could elicit contradictory responses from the learners by making sure the questions are not linguistically or conceptually ambiguous,
  • Try to set questions which test specific skills that the learner has been undergoing.
  • Check the adequacy of the questions by seeing whether you and other experts can agree on the required answer.
  • Provide generous time limit for the test depending on the number and complexity of the questions
  • Ensure that it measures the intended objectives.
  • Have a common basis for evaluation by preparing a marking scheme.

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