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Constructing a test, requires a variety of skills along with deep knowledge in the area for which the test is to be constructed. The steps include: A- determining B- planning C- writing D- preparing E- reviewing F- pretesting G- validating

When starting to construct a test, one should try to answer the following questions: 1-what kind of test is to be made? 2-what is the precise purpose? 3-what abilities are to be tested? 4-how detailed and how accurate the results must be? 7-who will take the test? 8-what is the scope of the test?


1- determining the form and function, this is done by answering the following questions: Who are the examinees? How many are they? What is the test for? 2-planning (determining the content), this is done by answering the following questions: What is going to be tested? How many items should the test consist of? Which aspect is going to be measured?

Planning stage includes the following components: a) Describing the purpose of the test b) Describing the characteristics of the test takers, the nature of the population of the examinees for whom the test is being designed. c) Defining the nature of the ability we want to measure d) Developing a plan for evaluating the qualities of test usefulness which is the degree to which a test is useful for teachers and students, it includes six qualities: reliability, validity, authenticity, interactiveness, impact, and practicality.

e) identifying resources and developing a plan for their allocation and management f)Determining format and timing of the test g)Determining levels of performance h) Determining scoring procedures

3- writing: although writing items is timeconsuming, writing good items is an art. Those who write items should have the following characteristics: They have to be experienced in test construction. They have to be quite knowledgeable of the content of the test. They should have the capacity in using language clearly and economically. They have to be ready to sacrifice time and energy.

The basic aspect in writing the items of the test is sampling. Sampling means that test constructors choose widely from the whole area of the course content. One should not concentrate on those elements known to be easy to test. Rather, the content of the test should be a representative sample of the course material.

4-preparing: it needs to understand the major

principles, techniques and experience. Not every teacher can make a good tester. To construct different kinds of tests, the tester should observe some principles, in production-type tests, no comments are necessary. Test writers try to avoid test items, which can be answered through test-wiseness. Test-wiseness refers to the capacity of the examinees to utilize the characteristics and formats of the test to guess the correct answer

MERITS: 1-they are easy to construct and easy to score. 2-scoring is straight forward and quick. 3-they are appropriate because many of these items may appear in a test. DEMERITS: 1-they are dependant on luck, and encourage guessing since students have 50% of chance of giving the correct answer. 2-they are more appropriate to evaluate simple activities.


1. Write T/F items only where they are more appropriate than any other item types (only 2 alternatives). 2. Avoid partly true statements. 3. Avoid vague terms and complex sentences. 4. Keep the alternatives approximately equal in length, number, and level of difficulty. 5. Order the items randomly. 6. Avoid too general or too specific statements or trivial points. 7. Avoid negative statements (or double negation). 8. Avoid too specific determiners.

MATCHING ITEMS MATCHING ITEMS is a test item which involves associating the entries on one list with those given in a second list. They are appropriate to measure the knowledge of vocabulary of language learners. In language testing, matching items test is used to check students ability in recognizing and comprehending synonyms, antonyms, names of objects, names of groups or classes of objects, names of occupations, etc

PRINCIPLES FOR CONSTRUCTING MATCHING ITEMS 1) Make sure the items are listed homogeneously 2) Keep the lists relatively short 3) Make sure the number of items in each column is unequal 4) Place the brief responses on the right and in logical order 5) Make sure the directions are clear, indicating the basis for matching


1. The stem should serve its function. 2. The stem should carry as much information as possible. 3. The stem should not start with a blank. 4. The stem should not provide any clues for the candidates (intelligent guesses). 5. The stem should not be so long and complicated.

6.The alternatives should be of the same length and level of difficulty. 7.The alternatives should all be reasonable and likely to be true. 8.The alternatives should all be grammatical. 9.The response should not be in the form of all the above or non of the above. 10.The response should be only one. 11.The responses should be randomly distributed.

5- Reviewing Principles for reviewing test items: The test should not be reviewed immediately after its construction, but after some considerable time. It should be reviewed by other teachers or testers ( it is preferable if native speakers are available to review the test.

6- Pretesting: After reviewing the test, it should be submitted to pretesting. PRINCIPLES FOR PRE-TESTING The tester should administer the newly-developed test to a group of examinees similar to the target group and the purpose is to analyze every individual item as well as the whole test. Numerical data (test results) should be collected to check the efficiency of the item, it should include item facility and discrimination.


IF shows to what extent the item is easy or difficult. The items should neither be too easy nor too difficult. To measure the facility or easiness of the item, the following formula is used: IF= number of correct responses (c) / total number of candidates (N) And to measure item difficulty: IF= (w) / (N)

The results of such equations range from 0 1. An item with a facility index of 0 is too difficult, and with 1 is too easy. The ideal item is one with the value of (0.5) and the acceptability range for item facility is between [0.37 0.63], i.e. less than o.37 is difficult, and above 0.63 is easy. THUS tests which are too easy or too difficult for a given sample population, often show low reliability. Reliability is one of the complementary aspects of measurement.