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Testing and Evaluation : 

Testing and Evaluation CONSTRUCTION OF TEST ITEMS AND QUESTIONS Teaching & Learning Presentation


INTRODUCTION : Generally tests contain two categories of items. One is supply type and another is selection type. In the supply type, the student supplies or provides a written answer to the question, whereas in the selection type the student has to pick out or select the correct answer from a set of answers already given. There are many kinds of test items. Some kinds of items of selection type are : 1. Multiple choice 2. True/ False or constant alternatives 3. Matching

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The types of items of supply type are : 1. Completion type 2. Single answer question 3. Short answer question 4. Long answer/structured essay question 5. Numerical problem solving

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The various types of test items are schematically represented here. Completion type Single Answer question Supply type Numerical problem solving Short answer question Long answer/ Structured Essay Test items Contd… Contd…

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Selection type True / False Multiple Choice Matching DIFFERENT TYPES OF TEST ITEMS

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The various types of test items are schematically represented here. Completion type Single Answer question Supply type Numerical problem solving Short answer question Long answer/ Structured Essay Test items Selection type True / False Multiple Choice Matching DIFFERENT TYPES OF TEST ITEMS


1. MULTIPLE CHOICE ITEMS DEFINITION : In a multiple choice item, the student is required to select the correct answer for a question from a group of several alternatives. Design of multiple choice item : The multiple choice item mainly consists of : a) Stem : Which is at the top of the item either in the form of a direct question or an incomplete statement. This acts as a stimulus to evoke the correct response from the students.

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b) Option : 4 or 5 alternatives provided as answers. The student has to choose the correct one from among them. c) Key : The correct answer among the options. d) Distractors : Options other than the key among the alternatives.

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Example : Stem : The transfer of heat in a steel bar from one end to the other is by A) Conduction Key B) Convection C) Radiation Options Distractors D) Fusion


2. CONSTRUCTION OF A MULTIPLE CHOICE ITEM The stem may be a direct question or an incomplete statement. If it is a statement, it must imply a question. There must be only one correct/best answer (Key). Distractors must be plausible. They must act as distractors for higher ability students and attractors to lower ability students. There are certain specific rules governing the construction of multiple choice items. They must be followed while items are written.


3. SPECIFIC RULES FOR WRITING MULTIPLE CHOICE ITEMS Following are the rules to be borne in mind while preparing multiple choice items. Each rule is illustrated with an example. Rule - 1 : Stem must be concise and unambiguous, avoiding negatives. If unavoidable, negatives must be emphasized. Example : Voltage drop in a resistor is NOT proportional to A) Current B) Resistance C) Power dissipation *D) Physical dimensions or size.

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Rule - 2 : Stem must be a complete question by itself not requiring the student to read the options in order to discover what is being asked. Example : when two resistors of value 10 Ohms and 30 Ohms are connected in series, the net resistance value will be *A) 40 Ohms B) 20 Ohms C) 300 Ohms D) 3 Ohms In this item, the student could workout the answer without referring to the responses, since the stem is a complete question by itself. However, in testing higher order abilities, the students may be required to read through the options carefully before making a judgement.

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Rule – 3 : Content of the question must be made clear to avoid confusion. State the stem of the item in simple clear language. Example : Poor : The paucity of plausible, but incorrect, statements that can be related to a central idea poses a problem when constructing which one of the following type of test item? A) Short answer B) True-false *C) Multiple choice D) Essay Better : The lack of plausible, but incorrect alternatives will cause the greatest difficulty, when constructing A) Short answer question B) True-false item *C) Multiple choice item D) Essay

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Rule – 4 : Put as much of the wording as possible in the stem of the item and anything that needs repeating in each option should be included in the stem. Example : In objective testing, the term objective A) refers to the method of identifying the learning outcomes. B) refers to the method of selecting the test content. C) refers to the method of presenting the problem. *D) refers to the method of scoring the answers. The phrase “refers to the method of ” repeats itself in the options and it must be taken to the stem and the stem must be modified as “ In objective testing, the term objective refers to the method of “

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Rule – 5 : The options should have the same kind of relationship with the stem. Example : The property of a circuit that tends to oppose a change in current is called A) Conductance B) Voltage C) Temperature *D) Inductance Here B and C are not the properties of a circuit and hence better options for B and C will be B) Capacitance C) Resistance

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Rule – 6 : The options should be parallel in structure (i.e.) they should fit grammatically with the stem (Consistency of all options with the stem in terms of tense, article and grammatical form) In an electrical circuit, when a coulomb of electrons flows through a point in one second, the current in the circuit is an *A) Ampere B) Milliampere C) Microampere D) Pico ampere Here a student who knows English grammar will readily choose option ‘A’, even without knowing the subject matter, because of the stem ending with an article “an”. “An” should be brought into the option.

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Rule – 7 : The item must not contain any clue – such as mixtures of singulars and plurals in the options, precision of key option, length of the key option, etc. Example : The direction of propagation of an electro magnetic wave in the free space is A) along the electric field B) along the magnetic field C) in the Plane of electric and magnetic fields *D) perpendicular to the surface containing the electric and magnetic fields. Here the precision and length of the key option “D” makes it stand out from the rest. To avoid it, the phrase in ‘D’ must be inserted appropriately in each of the options.

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Rule – 8 : The key option must be always correct. This means that there is one and only one predetermined correct answer. Example : An ion is A) a charged particle B) an atom which has gained or lost electrons C) a neutral particle D) formed in electrolytes Here the stem is vague and three of the options given are acceptable. The stem must be worded suitably.

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Rule – 9 : Distractors must be incorrect yet likely to be plausible to weaker students. To realise this a) Use the common misconceptions or common errors of students as distractors. b) Make the distractors similar to the correct answer in both length and complexity of wording Example : when two resistors of value 40 Ohms each are connected in parallel, the net effective value will be A) 80 Ohms *B) 20 Ohms C) 1600 Ohms D) 1 Ohms Instead of 1 Ohm, 1/20 Ohm or 1/40 Ohm will be a better option.

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Rule – 10 : The option ‘all of these’ should never be used. Where the response “none of these” is used, it should sometimes be the correct response, in some item or the other in the overall test. If it is used, it must exactly be correct. Example : A transformer converts A) One Frequency to another B) One type of current to another C) One form of energy to another *D) None of these Here “none of these” is the correct answer.

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Rule - 11 : Avoid similarity of wording in both the stem and correct answer. The amplifier tube was widely used for *A) Amplification of voltage B) Regulation of voltage C) Rectification of voltage D) Regulation of current Here without any subject knowledge, ‘A’ will be chosen as option. The stem should be modified as “The electronic valves were widely used for”

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Rule – 12 : Do not include two responses that have the same meaning. Example : The normal room temperature in South India during summer months is A) 30oC to 40oC *B) 30oC to 50oC C) 10oC to 20oC D) None of these Here, option A is superfluous, since option B includes the range indicated in option A.

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Rule – 13 : Each item should be written around a single principle. Example : The following type of item should never be used. Which one of the following statements is true? A) Radiation is stopped by vacuum B) Ohm meter scale is linear C) Photo tube uses a semiconductor-material D) XL = 2 II F.L A mix of different concepts have been brought under one item. These should be made into four true/ false items.

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Rule – 14 : Items should not be set which require the recall of trivial and unimportant facts. Example : In which year did De Forest discover the diode? *A) 1907 B) 1935 C) 1943 D) 1967 Recall of the year is unimportant. It is necessary to test whether one knows and understands the concepts and principles and is able to apply them rather than just recall from memory.

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Rule – 15 : Multiple choice items should not involve lengthy calculations. What is the equivalent resistance of 330 K Ohms and a 100 K Ohms resistors connected in parallel? *A) 76.74 K Ohms B) 82.05 K Ohms C) 120 K Ohms D) 230 K Ohms E) 430 K Ohms

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The student has to work through the calculations to find which of the values of the response agrees with the calculated value. The item should test the understanding of the principle of parallel resistors rather than the arithmetic abilities and the options should be recast as follows : *A) 330 X 100 100 + 330 B) 330 + 100 330 X 1100 C) 330 + 100 D) 330 – 100 E) 330 X 100 330 – 100 K Ohms K Ohms K Ohms K Ohms K Ohms

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Rule – 16 : The level of information required to reject wrong responses should not be higher than that required to select a correct response. Coulomb is the unit of measurement of A) Inductive reactance *B) Electrical charge C) Band width D) Transconductance

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Here to reject options (A), (C) and (D), a higher level of information is required than to select the key option. Therefore (A), (C) and (D) are poor distractors. The options for the item may be rewritten to suit the level of learning under test. The options may be modified as : A) Resistance *B) Charge C) Power D) Potential difference

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