TEST CONSTRUCTION AND ASSEMBLY
After specific objectives have been defined in terms of student behavior and performance and before test item composition actually begins, it would be useful to establish a Table of Specifications. This will serve as a basic guideline for systematically ordering and assembling your evaluation instrument (heretofore known as "a test").
Essentially, the table will consist of cells giving information on the representation of various item types based on your specification of evaluation needs. These needs will be expressed in subject matter area delineated as to type of student performance expected. Although learning objectives may be graded or categorized in any manner suiting the evaluator's preference, Bloom's Taxonomy of Educational Objectives, may provide a useful and logically consistent item typology. The subject matter coordinate would be derived from statements of general objectives pertinent to this evaluation period.
When constructing the Specification Table, a specific course objective may be stated in a 2-3 word summary description and entered under "Subject Matter". A more thorough description of what the "Ohm's Law" category of objectives entails could be found by referring to an initial list of course objectives.
The percentage of items on the test devoted to a particular topic should roughly correspond to the emphasis given the topic in actual teaching of the course, and as originally implied in the general objectives.
As in this illustration, you may decide that to be consistent with general course objectives, no test item need be composed outside of the levels of "knowledge" and "comprehension." Also, you may wish to enter actual numbers of test items, rather than their percent of coverage.
Under or over-represented cells may not necessarily require revision of representation. Such problems can be dealt with by differential weighting of items. (Complex scoring formula could, however, excessively complicate the grading process.)
Although you are not likely to follow your derived
representation figures rigidly, you'll probably find that becoming adept
at using a Specification Table will notably improve your test composition
efficiency. This table contains information that you should expect to
automatically take into consideration anyway while constructing test items.
Even our simple example suggests that more variables deserve consideration
than most of us can keep in our heads or remain intuitively responsive
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