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8.6 Preparing Directions for the Test:

Purpose of the Test:

The purpose of the test is usually indicated when the test is announced or at the beginning of the semster when the evaluation procedures are described as a part of the general orientation to the course.

Time Allowed for Answering:

It is helpful to tell the pupils how much time they will have for the whole tets and how to distribute their time among the parts. When essay questions are included, it is also good to indicate approximately how much time should be allotted to each question.

Basis for Answering:

The directions for each section of the test should indicate the basis for selecting or supplying the answers. For example, a statement like “select the choice that best completes the statement or answers the question” might be sufficient for multiple-choice items.

Procedure for Recording Answers:

Answers may be recorded on the test form itself

or on separate answer sheets. If the test is short, the number of pupils taking the test is small, or the pupils are relatively young, answers are generally recorded directly on the test paper. For most other situations, separate answer sheets are preferred because they reduce the time needed for scoring, and they make it possible to use the test papers over again.

What to Do About Guessing:

When selection-type items are used, the directions should tell pupils what to do when they are uncertain of the answer. Should they guess or omit the item? If no instructions are given on this point, the bold pupils will guess freely, whereas others will answer only those items of which they are fairly certain.

Reproducing the Test:

In preparing the test materials for reproduction, it is important that the items be spaced and arranged so that they can be read, answered, and scored with the least amount of difficulty. Cramming too many test items onto a page is poor economy. What little paper is saved will not make up for the time and confusion that results during the administration and scoring of the test. All test items should have generous borders. Multiple-choice items should have the alternatives listed in a vertical column be: eath the stem of the item, rather than across the page. Items should not be split, with parts of the item on two different pages. With interpretive exercises, the introductory materials can sometimes be placed on a facing page or separate sheet, with all of the items referring to it on a single page.Unless a separate answer sheet is used, the space for answering should be down one side of the page, preferably the left. The most convenient method of response is circling the letter of the correct answer. With this arrangement, scoring is simply a matter of placing a strip scoring key beside the column of answers.Test items should be numbered consecutively throughout the test.

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