The Pro’s and Cons of Teacher-Designed Tests

Classroom assessments are a big responsibility on educators’ plates. There are plenty of possible formats out there: summative, formative, essay, multiple choice – the list goes on and on. Rather than settling for a form response, many teachers design their own assessments. Whether pre-made or not, when developing classroom assessment tools, teachers should take the following criteria into account:

 Purpose: How will it be used?
 Impact: How will it impact instruction? Will it shrink the curriculum?
 Validity: Is it designed to measure what it was supposed to measure?
 Fairness: Will all the students have the same opportunities to show what they have learned?
 Reliability: Is the scoring system consistent with that of the school and state benchmarks?
 Significance: Does it address the contents that are valued?
 Efficiency: Is the test consistent with the time available for the students to be able to complete it.

Teacher-designed tests offer clear advantages:
 They are better aligned with classroom objectives.
 They present consistent evaluation material, having the same questions for all the students in the class.
 They are easy to store and offer accessible material for parents to consult.
 They are easy to administer.

And an important drawback:

 Some teachers may not have the necessary abilities to design their own test, and therefore evaluations may be less reliable.

The type of test chosen must be consistent with the content of the course. Take the time to plan tests carefully and to decide which type of test suits the content you taught. Most teachers favor objective testing because it saves time when marking and has much more reliability. It is highly recommended that classroom tests should not contain a wide variety of test items, because some students may find difficulty in shifting ways of processing information. Additionally, each of the items should evaluate whether the student has mastered the objectives and separate these from those who haven’t. A test won’t be effective if students can guess the answers or gain a perception of what the answer may be by means of clues or aids extracted from the questions.

Not sure yet whether a teacher-designed test is the best answer to the question of best assessment format for your classroom? Check our other articles on evaluation formats and how to guarantee that you’re implementing the one that’s the best fir for your classroom.

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