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Test Writing 
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How to Write a Better Test.
Delano P Wegener, Ph.D.
Center for Teaching Excellence
Old Question Tool
Using English
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The Classroom
Test Writing Tips
TeachersThe method by which students are analyzed to judge the performance  and achievements of any student as an individual or as a group. Educators often refer to what psychologist call psychometrics to judge the accuracy of their results. Numbers are assigned to characteristics such as performance, achievement, traits, intelligence, aptitude, attitudes and interest.
1. The purpose of a test is not to trick a student but to determine competency. A good test gives an indication of what they have learned or not learned thus the teacher knows what to correct, stress and or strengthen.
2. All questions should be direct and complete.
3. Avoid trivial questions and answers.
4. Avoid questions that ask for value judgments.
5. Darken, underline or italicize qualifiers such as "not", "except" or "only".
6. Make questions grammatically correct.
7. Use the same format for all distracters and answers in multiple choice questions. Don't mix names with phrases etc.
8. Place all correct answers randomly, through out the test.
9. Make the distracters plausible.
10. Answers that are true, but not for the question are a good form of distractions.
11. Test their skills by using a visual (maps, graphs, charts, reading, time lines etc.) in every test.
12. When testing skills make sure the correct answer is in the visual, otherwise the student can become confused.
13. Questions should present a definite problem and have internal meaning.
14. Avoid irrelevant materials in a question. Keep it simple.
15. A negative question is less confusing if you use except instead of not. Some experts such as Dr. Edward Yarosz  suggest that they   should only be used " when significant learning requires it."  He states that by stating the negative you measure a less significant outcome.
16. Try having the student explain why a true or false statement is false.  They must therefore think through their answers and not just guess. I usually have them rewrite the statement without putting in words like not, didn't, can not etc. It also gives them a chance to practice their writing skills.
17. Give them clear and concise directions at the beginning of the test.
18. A method I have successfully used: On vocabulary tests, I give them a sheet with the top marked A-Z and a line after each letter. At the bottom I list the definitions, with a line after each number. As I call out each word they write them down. The students then match the words with the definitions by writing the correct letter. They practice both their listening and memory skills.
19. Make the test cumulative. Have the knowledge learned from previous tests apply to all new tests. If they know they will be held accountable they will be motivated to remember information over a longer period of time.
20. Add a little humor to the test. It lightens some of the stress and makes the test not so overwhelming.