Teacher-Constructed Assessment Tests. Essay Example.

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Sewanee University of the South
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Usually, it can be challenging to make a systematic and fair evaluation of somebody else's performance particularly in the academic field where teachers have to carry out an objective evaluation of their students' progress. Since teachers are not expected to guess or employ intuition to make their judgments, they should develop standard test tools that can be used to effectively assess the impact of a given educational program on their students (Kubiszyn & Borich, 2015). Some of the basic test items include matching, short answer questions, true or false and multiple choice questions. Some basic test processes are peer appraisal, observations and self-report. Whatever the case, the test items, and processes must possess characteristics that depict them as standard and effective so that they are able to execute their purpose.

One of the main characteristics of an effective test is relevance. Each test must be geared towards attaining a preset learning objective (Moore, 2014). This means that for a test to be considered effective, it must address the particular aim that is being measured. If the examiner wants to test a writing skill, the test should examine exactly that. Otherwise, there will be no need to administer a test that does not evaluate a learning objective. Testing the mere memorization of unclear facts, for instance, may not be as important as testing the comprehension of these facts, especially in the short-answer questions. A good test is therefore relevant since it is guided by the learning objective(s).

Apart from being relevant, an effective test is independent. According to Haladyna and Rodriguez (2013), a test item is not supposed to provide a clue to the answer of another item. Even if the items are related, like in multiple-choice items, the examiner must ensure that the students ability to answer a question does not depend on their ability to answer the preceding one. Each item and process must be independent. In a reading comprehension, for instance, the test developer must be careful not to make the items dependent despite the fact that all reference is made to the comprehension. The independence of test items helps in curbing double penalization since according to Sireci and Soto (2016), no student should be penalized twice for a single mistake. A good test gives each learner the opportunity to answer the second question even if they fail in the first one.

Additionally, the aspect of clarity is very critical in ensuring the effectiveness of a test. Moore (2014) argues that an effective test is straightforward, uncontroversial and unambiguous. Words that have more than one definition, for instance, have to be so carefully used that there will be no doubt about their intended meaning. To avoid confusion and distractions, the test developer should use words whose meanings in the context of use are clear. In a reading comprehension with multiple choice items, for example, words used for instructions, questions, and the answers should be straightforward to avoid confusion. If the learner is to circle' the right answer, let the test developer not use an ambiguous word such as mark.' All words in an effective test are clear and straightforward.

Depending on the level of learners, an effective test is comprehensible. The choice of vocabulary in a test is highly dependent on the level of learners (Kubiszyn & Borich, 2015). If a learner is not able to understand what an item is testing, they are likely to get it wrong. Such a learner is not to blame; the test developer is. When testing reading skills, for example, the learner should be able to understand the demands of the test depending on the vocabulary used. Matching items can be particularly tricky if the vocabulary is way above the level of the student. Therefore, comprehensibility of the items makes a test effective and gives it the capacity to execute its intention.

With respect to the tenets of an effective test, four basic types of test items will be applied to meet a given learning goal. The four items include matching items, short answer questions, true/false items and multiple choice questions. The items will be based on a comprehension. Since the learners have difficulty in comprehension and fluency, the learning goal will be that at the end of the topic, each student will read any given passage with increased comprehension and fluency. Basing on the objectives of the lesson, this brings us to the three main learning outcomes stated below:

Each learner will pronounce all the words in the passage correctly as they read it aloud in class.

Each learner will accurately follow the sequence of events in the passage.

Each learner will correctly comprehend the events in the passage.

The test

Read the following passage and then answer the questions that follow

Stress can often be the spice of life. Our bodies and minds were built to take stress and to thrive on it. The occasional shock of adrenalin is a great cure for boredom and indifference. How is this so? When handled well, stress gives us added motivation to overcome obstacles. It also gives us the strength to handle threatening situations which might damage or destroy our happiness, homes, safety, and self-esteem. However, the problem comes with an overload of stress. Beyond a certain level, which is different for every individual, stress becomes destructive. Intense and persistent anger, fear, frustration or worry can threaten our health. It is this build-up of stress without the release of tension which leads to trouble. We need to know the limits of our abilities beyond which we reap negative and harmful results. Our lives are just like a piece of curtain wire or elastic which can be stretched time and again, and will continue to return to their original shape or size when released. But there is a point beyond which they should never be stretched - a limit of elasticity which, when surpassed, makes it difficult or impossible to return to a normal state of peace and rest.

Learning Outcome 1: Pronunciation/Fluency

Multiple choice questions (Circle the correct answer)

Which two words would you stress in the sentence Stress can often be the spice of life?

Often and life

Stress and spice

Stress and life

Spice and life

The word there is used in the passage. Pick a word from the following choices that is pronounced in the same way.





What intonation pattern would you use in uttering the statement How is this so??





Short answer questions

The word destroy has been used in the passage. Write it down and underline the part that should be stressed when uttering it.

Pick out two words from the passage that contain three syllables.

Pick out one minimal pair from the passage.

True/ false questions (Tick where appropriate)

All sentences in the passage should be read with equal speed. True / False.

The time spent reading each sentence in the passage is equal. True / False

It is possible to apply tonal variation while reading the different sentences in the passage. True / False

Matching items (Match each of the items in column A with its homophone in column B)

A (Word used in the passage) B (Its homophone)

Time Hour

Our Thyme

Piece Peace

Learning outcome 2: Following the sequence of events

Multiple choice questions (Circle the correct answer)

According to the passage, stress can often be:

A threat to life

Boring and destructive

The spice of life

The adrenaline of life

The author argues that when handled well, stress can give us:

The motivation to overcome obstacles

The strength to handle threatening situations

Intense and persistent anger

The motivation to overcome obstacles and the strength to handle threatening situations.

If a person is overloaded with stress:

It becomes destructive

They can stretch themselves to the limit

They become better individuals

They soon return to their normal state

Short answer questions

According to the passage, how does the occasional shock of adrenaline help our bodies?

Name three situations, related to stress, which threaten our health.

What happens when the limit of elasticity in our ability to handle stress is surpassed?

True/false questions (Tick where appropriate)

The author argues that our bodies cannot thrive on stress. True/False

According to the passage, the level of stress overload depends on individuals. True/False

Our lives are just like a piece of elastic or curtain wire. True/False

Matching items (Match each of the assertions in column A with its reason in column B)

A (Statement) B (Reason)

Stress can often be the spice of life. They can be stretched time and again, but continue to return to their original shape or size when released

Beyond a certain level, stress becomes destructive. The occasional shock of adrenalin is a great cure for boredom and indifference

Our lives are just like a piece of curtain wire or elastic. Intense and persistent anger, fear, frustration or worry can threaten our health.

Learning outcome 3: Comprehension skills

Multiple choice questions (Circle the correct answer)

How are our bodies and minds able to thrive on stress according to the passage?

Individuals are able to cope differently with stress

The occasional shock of adrenalin resulting from stress is a great cure for boredom and indifference

Our bodies are like pieces of elastic or curtain wires

Every person is strong enough to handle stress

Which of the following could be used as the most suitable title for the passage?

The impact of stress

The joy of being stressed

Handling stress in life

No more worries about stress

How are our lives similar to a piece of elastic or curtain wire?

They do not have limits

They can be stretched time and again, but continue to return to their original shape or size when released

They are bound to be subjected to stressful situations

They are not strong enough to cope with stress

Short answer questions

According to the passage, what happens when one is overloaded with stress?

What is the authors overall argument about the impact of stress?

Why does the author compare our lives to a piece of curtain wire or elastic?

True/false questions (Tick where appropriate)

Stress can have adverse effects if not well handled. True/False

A build-up of stress without the release of tension spices our lives. True/False

There is a stress point beyond which our bodies should never be stretched. True/False

Matching items

The following expressions have been used in the passage. Match each of the words in column A with its meaning in column B

A (Expression) B (Meaning)

Indifference Sporadic

Threatening situations The reluctance to respond as expected

Occasional Nasty circumstances



Haladyna, T. M., & Rodriguez, M. C. (2013). Developing and validating test items. Routledge.

Kubiszyn, T., & Borich, G. (2015). Educational testing and measurement. John Wiley & Sons Incorporated

Moore, K. D. (2014). Effective instructional strategies: From theory to practice. Sage Publications.

Sireci, S. G., & Soto, A. (2016). Test validation for 21st-century educational assessments in meeting the challenges to measurement in an era of accountability. Routledge.



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