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8.3 Table of Specification

A sample of pupil performance is more likely to be representative if a set of specifications is used in planning the test. Test specifications define and limit the achievement domain to be measured and describe the sample of test items to be prepared. One form of specifications is a two-way chart, called a table of specification.

Table of specification involves:

(i)Obtaining the list of instructional objectives

(ii)Outlining the course content,

(iii)Prepare the two way chart that relates the instructional objectives to course content.

1. Obtaining a List of Instructional Objectives:

Many aspects of pupil performance can be measured by means of paper-and-pencil tests. Infact, a novice in the area of measurement is frequently surprised at the variety of learning outcomes that can be measured in this manner. Thus, all of the intended outcomes of instruction should be considered when planning the classroom test. If a comprehensive list of instructional objectives and specific learning outcomes has been prepared. It is simply a matter of selecting those outcomes that can be measured by paper-and- pencil tests. If such a list is not available, a set of instructional objectives can be prepared for the classroom test.

2. Outlining the Course Content:

The list of instructional objectives describes the types of performance the pupils are expected to demonstrate (e.g., knows, understand, applies), and the course content indicates the area in which each type of performance is to be shown. Thus, the second step in preparing the test specifications is to outline the course content. This may be simply a list of major topics to be covered during the course or a more detailed list of topics and subtopics. The amount of detail in the content outline depends on the purpose of the test, the segment of the course covered, and the type of test interpretation to be used. A criterion-referenced test (used to describe the learning tasks pupils can perform), for example, will require a much more detailed description of both objectives and content than will a norm-referenced test (used to rank pupils in order of achievement).

3. Preparing the Two-way Chart:

The final step in building a table of specifications is to prepare the two-way chart that relates the instructional objectives to the course content and, thus, specifies the nature of the test sample. An example of such a chart for a summative (end-of-course) test in third-grade social studies is presented in Table, which indicates the percentage of test items to be allotted to each type of outcome.Table was prepared by listing the major areas of content down the left side, and indicating what proportion of the test items should be devoted to each objective and area of content. Note in the bottom row, for example, 20 percent of the items are to be devoted to “knowledge of common terms,” 20 percent to “knowledge of specific facts,” and so on. Similarly, the right-hand column shows that 10 percent with “clothing” 15 percent with “transportation”, and so on down the column. Each cell in the table indicates the percentage of test items to be devoted to the objective and the content area that are opposite the cell. The number 2 in the cell in the upper left-hand corner, for example, indicates that 2 percent of the test items should be concerned with “knowledge of common terms” in the “food” area. The numbers in the other cells are to be read in the same manner. The empty cells indicate areas where no test items are to be allotted. Altough the relative emphasis in Table is expressed in terms of the percentage of test items, it is equally satisfactory to put the number of test items in each cell, and in some cases it may be desirable to include both.The relative emphasis to be given to each instructional objective and content area should, of course, reflect the emphasis of the instruction. In assigning relative weights, both the importance the teacher attaches to the learning outcome and the amount of instructional time devoted to it can serve as guidelines. Typically, the weighting is done by first assigning percentage across the bottom row (for each objective), then assigning percentages down the right-hand column (for each content area), and finally allotting the percentage, or number, of test items to each of the two-away cells in the table. Proper weighting will make it possible to construct a test that measures a reasonably representative sample of the intended outcomes of instruction that can be evaluated by paper-and-pencil test.

Table of Specification in the subject

Social Study

Objectives

Content AreaKnows common terms Knows specific terms understand principles and Gen.applies principles and Gen.Interprets Charts and GraphsTotal
Food26210
Clothing26210
Transportation4222515
Communications4222515
Shelter5510
City Life 426820
Farm Life 426820
Total2020252510100

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