|Type of paper:||Research paper|
|Categories:||Teaching Learning Students Intelligence|
There are several features considered in research and academia as indicators of a good test. Some of the fundamental aspects of a good test are the qualification of its developer; the processes of its compilation; objectivity; test validity and reliability; cultural, environmental and ethical considerations; normalization standards; and choice of method of administration. Each of these aspects of a good test is important in ensuring that it measures the intended variables in the right way (Taherdoost, 2016). Nearly all the aspects of a good test are decided upon by the developers of the test and executed by the administrators.
Making a Good Test
Making a good test is a demanding process that involves both subject experts and research scholars. Through the input of subject experts, test developers can ensure that the tests they develop cover the taught curriculum evenly based on the importance and time taken to study each tested area. A good test also takes into account a diverse level of thinking possible in a subject. That means it should assess all the competencies that the course developer intended to achieve, including theoretical, practical, memory, analysis, creativity, and application skills (Liamputtong, 2008). Also, a good test should be vetted and moderated by experienced experts to make them fit for all types of students. Developers also have to time a good test appropriately based on the outcome of moderation. For example, if a subject expert takes one hour to complete a test, they can allocate their students three hours. There should also be a standardized marking scheme or normative reference for comparison.
Ensuring Validity and Reliability
A good test should be both valid and reliable. The validity of a test depends on what it seeks to assess and how well it measures what it is meant to evaluate. Developers ensure validity in tests by carefully determining the face, content, criterion, and construct validity. They do this by making clear specifications about the content being assessed, the main subject, and the target language (Taherdoost, 2016). They also ensure that the objectives, design, and constructs of the test are not only clear but also familiar to the respondents being tested.
The reliability of a test refers to the extent to which it gives true scores of the respondents if there was a way to determine true scores. It is about the accuracy of the scores that students obtain from the test. In other words, a reliable test will give the same scores for each student regardless of the number of times it is taken. Developers ensure reliability by identifying and eliminating all known measurement errors. The reliability of a test can be determined by measuring its correlation coefficient, which ranges from 0 to1 (Taherdoost, 2016). A good reliability coefficient is the one closest to 1. They also need to secure the test from prior access by the respondents and administrators by sealing it to ensure its reliability. Lastly, developers need to prepare a clear and consistent rubric for the test.
Developers need to consider the cultural effects and implications of a test to the respondents. A good test has to be responsive to and considerate of diverse stakeholder groups by avoiding adverse impacts and employing universal testing methods. Adverse impacts may mean differences in test scores of male and female respondents, or individuals from the majority and minority groups (Liamputtong, 2008). Universal testing means developing a test that can be taken by respondents from the most diverse backgrounds, including people who speak different languages and those with disabilities. In other words, it should take into account the experience of all respondents.
Developers need to see that the testing environment should be compatible with the needs of as many groups of people as possible. They can do this by informing the respondents about the specifications to allow them enough time to prepare their test locations properly (Liamputtong, 2008). Similarly, test developers may have to communicate all the necessary facilities for the test to the administrators to enable them to prepare back up plans for any unprecedented conditions.
Ethical considerations are made in tests involving practical skills such as experiments and scientific studies with human or animal participants. Developers should minimize the risk of harm for both the candidate and the study participants. That means choosing apparatus and chemicals that are relatively safe to handle. However, if the test has to include handling dangerous substances or objects, the developers must ensure that the respective respondents have covered the necessary safety precautions in the course content (Liamputtong, 2008). Being ethical also includes seeking informed consent from the participants by telling them the truth about the study and how their data would be used. It goes as far as protecting the privacy of the participants through anonymity and proper handling of all their data.
Norming for a Population
Test developers norm tests for populations by administering it to sample respondents selected from the population for which it is meant through the random sampling technique. The sample test-takers usually form the normative group whose performance would act as the point of reference for the rest of the population. The tests are normally prepared in such a way that one can neither pass nor fail (Sims & Hiatt, 2003). Instead, the scores of members of the target population are referenced on the basis of the norm.
Self-Reported and Administered Tests
A self-reported study is a type of survey where participants read questions and give the appropriate responses on their own without the input of the researcher. It includes any research methods that involve respondents talking about their behaviors, feelings, beliefs, attitudes, etc. (Prescott et al., 2017). Self-reported studies are mostly conducted through interviews and questions. It is a great way to get the response of participants in experiments and observational studies. Self-reported studies have low validity, which may arise from the respondent's intentional dishonesty or bad memory.
On the other hand, administered tests are studies where the researcher conducts the tests on their own and records data. It may take the form of an oral or telephone interview, experiment, or observation (Prescott et al., 2017). Administered tests give the researchers greater control of the validity of the outcome because they are able to observe the attitudes and feelings of the participants.
It is demonstrated in this discussion that making a good test involves many things, ranging from the level of expertise of its developer to the desired nature of the study to the method of its administration, etc. It is equally important for a good test to consider the culture and environment of the participants, is remain responsive to their realities. Similarly, it must take into consideration all the necessary ethical concerns.
Liamputtong, P. (2008). Doing Research in a Cross-Cultural Context: Methodological and Ethical Challenges. Doing Cross-Cultural Research, 3-20. doi:10.1007/978-1-4020-8567-3_1
Prescott, C., Gruenewald, T., Peters, K., Achorn, D., Gatz, M., & McArdle, J. (2017). Self-Administered Adaptive Tests of Cognitive Abilities by Computer Tablet and The Internet. Innovation in Aging, 1(suppl_1), 1019-1019. doi:10.1093/geroni/igx004.3703
Sims, W. H., & Hiatt, C. M. (2003). On the Representativeness of Norming Samples for Aptitude Test. doi:10.21236/ada421075
Taherdoost, H. (2016). Validity and Reliability of the Research Instrument; How to Test the Validation of a Questionnaire/Survey in a Research. SSRN Electronic Journal. doi:10.2139/ssrn.3205040
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