Effective electronic test creation is about more than constructing an assessment and administering it to a test group. On paper or on-screen, what makes an assessment truly useful is the careful planning and documentation that went into its development. An understanding of how best to pose questions, reflect on test-taker input, and improve subsequent assessments is what makes or breaks a test in terms of actionable results. Test creation software can provide a range of tools to facilitate the process of efficient and flexible assessment, but without planning and follow-up, the data gathered will be of little use to the administrator.
Here are a few best practices to consider when developing your next test:
Establishing Clear Objectives
The first rule of test planning is to ask what precisely you wish to evaluate. Regardless of industry or field, we can learn a lot from academic planning processes – which place an enormous emphasis on defining learning objectives and designing targeted tools that determine to what extent these goals have been met. For example, in order to find out if a test-taker has an effective grasp of a new software application, the administrator would first need to define exactly what constitutes proficiency. He or she would create a list of key competencies and for each item, plan questions or tasks that would best test the subject’s grasp of them. This planning document should be continually improved as test developers refine the learning objectives along with their understanding of how to effectively target and measure ability.
Validating Your Test Model
How can you be sure that your assessment has actually measured the competencies you set out to evaluate? Test Generator makes exam software complete with secure data storage so administrators can analyze and reflect on their results. This process is essential for exposing any weaknesses in question design that have resulted in an incomplete picture of test-taker competency. Comments, edits, and recommendations should all be carefully documented and preserved for sharing amongst stakeholders and as reference for future assessments.
How did you go about selecting the objectives for your test or deciding on the form its questions/tasks would take? It’s important for administrators to include or cite any additional resources they used during the planning or validating stages of assessment. Perhaps you consulted an expert in your department, or conducted your own online research? Not only might you be asked to justify certain decisions and results, other stakeholders may wish to pick up and continue your work, and will benefit from familiarizing themselves with the resources you used. Administrators should also should keep track of which test creation generator worked best for their assessment needs, as part of an ongoing reflective improvement process.
What do you consider the most important step of effective test documentation?