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TEACHER-[tIADE TESTS

-While larqe-scale standardizedtesrs may appear to have great influence at specifictimes.. .. Without question, teachers ar!the drivars of the assessment systemsthat determine the effectivaness of schools. --astiggins, 1994, p. 438

How lo Arsess learning Authenlic

WHAT ARE TEACHER.MADE TESTS?


Teacher-made les1s arewritten or oralassessments thalarenot produced commercialiy or standardized In otherwords. a testa teacher designs specilically for hisor herstudents"Testrng" refers to anykindof school activity thatresults in sometypeof markor comment being io a checklist, grade entered book,or anecdotal record. Theterm "test,"however, refers to a morestructured oralor writtenevaluation of student achievement. Examinations aretests thatareschool scheduled, tendto cover moreof the curriculum, and countmorethanothertormsol evaluation of {8oard Education for theCityof Etobicoke, 1987). Teachermade testscanconsist of a variety of .formats, including matching items, fill-in-the,blank items, questions, true-talse or essayspansof the teaching Testscanbe imponant process aodlearning if theyareintegrated intodaily classroom teaching andareconstructed process notjusttheculminating to be panof the learnjng event. Theyallowstudents to seetheirown progress andallowteachers to "Butoneof makeadjustments to theirinstruction on a daily basis. the most seriousproblems of evaluation is the fact that a primary meansof assessment-thetest itself-is oftenseverely Ilawedor , 9 9 1p m i s u s e d("H i l l s 1 , .541). Constructing a goodteacher-made tesl is verytime consuming and difficult;moreover. it is hardto understand why something so essenprocess tialtothe learning hasbe !nvirtually ignored in teacher preservice or inservice training. Veteran teachers havereliedon commercially madetests in workhooks or on theirown often inadequateteacher-made testsfor mostof their evaluations. Teachers haveoften neglected addressing this aspectof instruction because they were not trained to write eftectivetestsandtew administrators couldofler guidance. Oneof the problems with teacher-made testiG theiremphasis on lower-level thinking. A studyconducted by the Cl6veland Public (Fleming Schools andChambers, 1983, ascitedin Stiggins, 1985) paper-and-pencil examined over300 teacher-made, tests.The results of the studyJound that teachers appeared to needtraining in how to do the following:
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Teacher-made tests can be important parts of the teaching and learning processif they are integrated into daily classroom teaching.

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Chapler 6 - Teacher-Made Teds

planand wflte longeftests; paperand pencrl test items;and wrile Unambiguous recall of skills beyond facls measure p.72). 1,9 8 5 , {Stiggins writtencriteoa for performances or ntrolfactorslikeestablishing

qualitythatteachers also{ound oftenoverlooked research

procedures in advance. Wiggins notesthal "course scoring lanning testsof intellectual ability; as with standardized tests, to be authentic finals intended areusually to be quickly read and teacheriesigned (Wiggins, p. 1989, 123). scored" manyteacher-made teslsemphasize verbal-linguistic Inaddition, andpoorreaders areat a disadvantage no matter how intelligence, they know. Teacher-made content tests do not carry much the same as standardized tests in oublicrelations betweenthe imoortance community. and the Even though many o{ school them havethe tormatthat allowsfor easycomparisons, sameobjective-style they not seen as reliable vaiid. are and Teacher-made testsareoften because from classto class; subjectto question they differgreatly (1994) notesthat although theirqualityis opento debate.Stiggins largescaleassessments standardized, command all the mediaattention, rt's the day-toiay classroom assessments lhat havethe grea'test impact on student learning. Hesays,"Nearly allthe assessment eventsthat takeplacein a sludent'slife happen at the behestot the teacher. Theyalignmost closely with day-toiay instruction andare most intluential in terms of theircontribution to student.teacher. and (p. parent decision making" 438). Since of education colleges arejustbeginning to require teachers to lake courses in assessment. manvteachers haveenteredthe classroomwith very littletraining in how to createmeaningful tests.They eitherremember the typeso{ tests theytook as studentsor they modelthe testson onesprovided bv theirfellowteachers or in workbooks. Unfortunately, most of the teststeachers took as stu --: dentswere multiplethoice,recall tests that covered content.Teachproblem-solving ers havehadvery little practice constructing situationson teststo measure of skillsand higher-order the application thinking.
weaknesses. not only because they cifictests alsohaveglarrng designed oftentoo low leveland contentheaw. I hey are rarely

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Teacher-made tests are often subjectto question becausethey differ greatly from class to class;their quality is open to debate.

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t|/HY lilENEED DO BETTER TEACHER-MADE TESTS?

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The key to teacher-made tests is to make them a part of assessmentnot separate from it.

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parents published Even value though andthe media testscores. nrostteachers do not relyon slandardized teslsto tellthemwhat theirstudents knowanddon'tknow.Standardized testsoccur so infrequently thatoneaggregate is not veryhelplul in detern] score n goals. Ingfutureinstructional Teacher-made tes1s, however, allow teachers to makedecisions thatkeepinstruction moving. Teachers immediately canmakechanges to meetthe needs of theirstudents "Theylteachersl provided relymostheavily on assessments as part o{ instructional materials andassessments theydesign andconstruct verylittleon standardized themselves-and testsor testscores" (Stiggins, p. 69). 1985, Thekeyto teacher-made testsis to makethema partof assessment--floi separate from it. Testsshouldbe instructional andongo ing. Rather thanbeing'after-the-fact" to {ind out what students did nof /earn, they shouldbe more "befor+the-fact" to targetessentral ('1999) learnings Popham warnsthatteacher-made andstandards. tests shouldnot be instructional Theyshouldbe afterthoughts. prepared p/,orto instruction in orderfor the teacher to targetappro"Assessment priate instructional activities for students. instruments prepared prior a teacher's to instruction operationalize instructional youunderstand intentions. going, . . . Thebetter whereyou're the youcanget there"(p.12). moreefficiently in theirtestsfor the variTeachers alsoneedto makeadjustments problems styles, multiple intelligences, andlearning of ous learning lt wouldbe impossible the studentsin theirclasses. to address everystudent'sneedson everytest, but elforts shouldbe madeto provide teststhat motivatestudents construct to learn, and choices, for individual makeallowances ditferences.

MultiPle lntelligences

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((eviewed theoryo{ multipleintelligences in Chapter Gardner's Three) callsfor multiple assessments for the multipleintelligences. An effectiveteacher-made test should address morethanone or two

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TYPES OF LEARNERS

m nd sometrmesstrays dufing verbalactivities organizedin approach to tasks hkesto read !suallya good speller memoflzesby seerng graphicsand pictures frnds verbalinstructions difflcult

talksto self easily distracted

in motion ffiost ol the time readingis not a priority

hasdifficulty with wrillen directions likesto be readto memorizes by steps in a sequence enjoys listeninq activlties

poorspeIer likes to solve problems by physically walking through them enjoys handlingobjects enjoys doing activities

{Adaptedfrom Frender.1990, p. 25)

intelligences. Teachers who include strategies andtoolssuchas graphic organizers, choice, and opportunities for oral student answers meetthe needs of theirdiverse students.

[earning Modalilies
Teachers needto construct tests that can be adjusted for students' learning modalities and to makemodifications for at-riskstudents. (1990) Frender learning modalities defines as waysof using sensory in{ormation primarily learn. Three five to of the sensesare usedin -learning, storing, andrecalling informationBecause learn students from andcommunicate best with someonewho sharestheirdominantmodality. it is important for teachers to know the characteristics of theirstudentsso that they canat leastaltertheir instructional stylesandteststo matchthe learning stylesof all the students.

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Frender hasidentifled many characteristics of the threestylesof pagelrststhe learning. TheTypesof Learners Charton the previous characteristics that couldmost likelyinfluence studenttest takrnq skrils.

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Authentic tests can celebrat ! diversity by allowing students a wide variety o{ ways to demonstrate what they know and what they can do.

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Modifications forStudents with SpecialNeeds


Wilh the movement towardinclusive classrooms, teachers needto be !bleto meetthe needs of students with learning disabilities, physical behavior exceptionalities, exceptionalities, andintellectual exceptionalilies. ln additioo, as today's is a "sa{ad society bowl"of groups, manyethnjc teacher-made testsmustallowopportunities for studeots whosefirst language is not English to succeed. Many schools have now detracked, thereby merging all levels of studenls (gifted,average, remedial) into one inclusive class.lt would be impossible to useoneob,ective testto measure the groMh and development Authentic of all students. tests cancelebrate diversity by allowing students a wide varietyof waysto demonstrate what thev knowandwhat thev cando. Teacher-made testscanbe constructed to meet the needsof all students by providing manyopportunities to measure whatstudents just cando instead of measuring theirabilityto read,write, andtake tests. Thefollowing modifications on canbe madeto helpensure success jor tests allstudents, especially thosewith special needs who are mostat riskof failing tests; '1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. B. instructions Read orally. Rephrase if needed. oralinstructions Askstudents directions to makesurethey to repeat understand. Monitor carefully to makesureall students understand directions lor the test. Provide alternative evaluations-aral testing, - use of tapes, test givenin anotherroom,dictation. Provide a clockso studentscanmonitortfiemselves. Giveexamples ot eachtype of question(oraland writtenl. Leave enoughspaceJoranswers.

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Chapter 6 - TeecherMade Teslr

9. Use visualdemonstTalrons coloredpaperis sometimes dis 10. Use whlte paperbecause tracting. 1I Do not crowd or .lLl-pr llte IFS 1 2 . G l v ec h o i c e s . to abstract 13. Go from concrele lor Don't deduct spelIng or grammar on tests. 14. tests 15. Use some take-horne manipulative experiences wheneverpossb e. 16. Provide '17. Allow students to use notesand textbooks duringsome
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Allowstudents to writedownkeymathor science formuias (sothatstudents poor arenot penalized {or memory). visuals likegraphic organizers 1 9 . Include on tests. pointvalues Joreachgroup 20. Givespecific of questions. 21_ Listcriteria lor essav ouestions. feedback 2 2 . Provide immediate on all1ests. 2 3 . Allow studentsto correctmistakes and/or to retake tests to improve scores andunderstand whattheydidn'tunderstand on the first test. (Adapted from material distributed Jor by the Boardof Education pp.204-214) 1981, the Cityof Etobicoke,
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HOtil CAN tlt,E DESrcN TEACHER-MADE BETTER TESTS?


Most teachers will not havetime to rewriteall their teststo conform to the guidelines suggested on page102.However, it is impoftant to makesurenew testsare designed to meetstudentneeds--- !nd truly "we should reflect learning. lf, asWiggins suggests, teach to the authentic test," studentsshouidalsobe broughtintothe test-making process. Theycanhelpconstruct meaningJul tests based on essen('1989) recommends tiallearnings. Brown thatteachers drawstudentsinto the development ot tests.He maintains that nolhinghelpS-: a personmastera subjectbetterthanhaving to askanddebate questions tundamental aboutwhat is most important aboutthat how someonecouldtell iI he or she h !smastered subiect--- !nd it.

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"Students of all ageswho createsorneof theirown examinations are forcedto reflecton what theVhavestudiedand makejudgment: , 989, p. 115). a b o u t i t "( B r o w n 1

Tests forTeacher-Made EDGuidelines


It is important to selecttest items that will measure whether students have achievedthe significant learning obiectives.. . .

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guidelines ot better may help in the construction The followrng teachermadetestsl

beginnjng the unrt. 1 . Create the tesl betore obiectives to course or 2 . Makesurethe test is correlated andbenchmarks. learning standards of thetest. 3 . Giveclear directions for eachsection questions {rom simpleto complex. 4_ Arrange the 5 . Givepointvaluesfor eachsection(e.9.,true/false {2 points eachl) fill-in-the blank, multiple 6. Vary types(true/false, the question questions per type. Limilto ten matching). choice, essay, 7. Groupquestion typestogether. (Le8ve to spacebetweenqueslrons B. Typeor printclearly. facilitate andwriting.) easyreading level is used. reading 9. Makesureappropriate '10. Include andkinesthetic tasks. oral, a variety of visual, 'l1. Makeallowances with special needs. for students (e.9., in the queslions theyselect 12. Givestudents somechoice questions). graphic of organizers or essay a choice intellect 13. Varylevelso{ questions by usingthe three-story ques processing, gathering, andapplication verbsto cover trons. '14. Provide a grading scaleso studentsknowwhat scoreconsttgrade(e.9..93-100= A; 85-92 = B: 75-44 = tutes a certain C; lv14 = D; Below70 = NotYetl). 10finish.(Theteacher 15. Givesufficient time for all students to oneshouldbe ableto work th(oughthe test in one-third halfthe timegiven students.l

Tests Constructing Effective


betterteacher-made testsis to Onewav teachers canconstruct questions on a test. that shouldbe included consider the typesof it is important to selecttest itemsthat will measure Obviously, learning obiectives, the significant whetherstudentshaveachieved that havebeentargeted. benchmarks, or st !ndards
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6 - TercherMade Tesls Chapler

CONSTRUCTINO FOR TIPS TEST QUESTIONS


True-Falsehems . Avoidabsolute and "alwaYs." wordsIike"all," "never," . MakesureitemsaIeclearlv thanamblguous trueor falserather . Limittruefalsequeslions to ten. higher. Consider tfueto encourage falsequestions to make asking students orderthinking. Matchingltems . Limrtlist to between frveandten items. (Don't . Usehomogeneous mix names with dates.) lists. (Write . Giveclear letter, number, etc.) instructions. . Givemorechoices questions. are there than Muhiple4hoicehems . Statemainideain the coreor stemol the question. (Avoidridiculous . Use reasonable choices.) incorrect choices. (nothing . Makeoptionsthe samelength very longor veryshort). (a . lnclude and b, allof the above). answers multiple correct Completion ltems . Structure answerfor eachitem. for a brief,speci{ic . Avoidpassages on memorization). from text (emphasis lifteddirectly . Useblanks length. of equal . AvoidmultiDle makea sentence too confusing. blanksthat sometimes Essayltems ("Discuss"is ambiguous . tellall you . Avoidall !ncompassing questions know abouta subiect). . Definecriteria for evaluation. . Givepoint value andcon. Use somehigher-order verbslike "predict"or "compare thinking verbslike "list" and "name." trast" ratherthan all recall (Adapted 1987. {or the city of Etobicoke, JromBoardof Education pp. 112-187.)

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learning Ho*lo Asess Authenlic

graphrc presenta, Essays, organrzers. oral[)erlormances. andartistic meaningiul learning lronsn]easure andcanallbe included on of time constraints, however, teactrer-made tesls.Because many teachers choose to useobjective stylequestions Objective style questions predetermined havehighly specific, answers thatrequire a shortresponse questions include Obleclive-style the loliowing: 1. 2. 3. 4. multiple choice true-false matching shortresponse

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. . . obrective stylequestions
canplay a role in the assessment process.. . .

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questions Eventhoughobjective-style canplaya rolein the assessmentprocess, they,likestandardized tests,mustbe put in the proper perspective. "Evaluation should experience for boththe student be a learning and the teacher. However. ob,ective-style testingis frequently ineffective

OBJECTIVE TYPES OF EVATUATION


A welldeveloped objective test .
ADVANTAGES qu;ckly canevaluate skills and ef{jciently canprevent studeftblrom "writingaround" the answer grades canprevent students' f(om beinginfluenced by gramwritingskills.spelling, mar.and nearness (item canbe easily anallzed analysisJ prevents gradrng biased by teacher can be used for diagnosticor pre{esr purposes groups canbe givento l rge DISADVANTAGES requires mosllyrecallof{acts doesnotallowstudents to demo^stnte writng skrlls oftenrequires a dasproportionate amount ol reading {penalazes poorteaoers) canbe ambiguous andconfusing (especially to younger students) pre' sssally hasa speci{ic, determiR daDswer canbe veritiFe-consuming to @nsruci guessing promotes is often usedyearafter year despite ditfering needsof students

fo. the Cityol Etoticoke,1987,pp. 157-158) Gdaptedfro.n the Bo.rd o{ Education


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Chapler 6 - Teacher-Made Tesls

experience for eitherthe studentor the teacher as a learning questtons obtective-style too often require only the recall of tlecause processes thinking or factsand do not allowthe studentto drsplay to observe for the City of them" (Board of Education the teacher 1987,p. 156). Etobicoke. program does not haveto include objective style A good evaluation questions if ir does,the shouldbe well constructed tests;however, by other!ulhentic styletests shouldbe balanced andthe objective asSesSmenls.

Objective Misconceplions Tesis Aboul


pointoutthatevaluating prodof autlrentic OItencrilics assessment " andthe teachandponfolios is too "subjective, ucts,perlormances, grade assign erscould a because theyliked or didn'tlikea studenl or couldbasethe gradeuponoutsidevariables likeneatness, attenThesesamecriticspointto obiective dance,or behavior. tests being faireror morevalidandreliable. Sincemostwell-written selectedresponse testitemstramechallenges thatallowforjust onebest

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. . . obiective style tests shouldbe balanced by other authentic assessments.

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'Professoa.what is this rclic?" 'lt's a Nimitive bnurc devico used by toacheEin the 20th century. They czlled it a Scaatrcnn.]dchine.'

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A good teacher-made test includes verbsfrom all three stories ol ihe intellect.

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answeror a limitedset of acceptab it leadsto the "objece answers, tive evaluatron ot responses as beingrightor wrong. However, (1994) Stigglns warnsthat when the teacher selects the test rtems judgment for inclusion in the finaltest, he/sheis making a subjective as to the meaningand importance o1the material to be lested." . . judgnrent all assessments, regardless of theirformat,involve on the part o{ the assessor. reflectthe brases Therefore, all assessments of (p. 103). that assessor" Teachers shouldexamine both the advantages and disadvantages of obiective-stvle tests and then determine the rolethey will playin the process. evalualron

Techniques Three-Story Intellecl Verbs and Queslioning


Bellanca andFogarty have created a graphic based on Bloom s {1991) (see Taxonomy Intellect page107) called the Three-Story to show what verbsteachers canuse when theyaskquesiions. Firsl-story "count, " "describe, " and "match"askstudents verbslike to gather " "compare. " or recaliinformation. verbslike "reason, Second-story "analyze" and ask students to process information. And third-story "amagine," verbslike"evaluate," and"speculate" askstudents to applyinformation. An effectiveleacher-made test includes verbs from all threestoriesof the intellect. Manyteachers use this graphic as a guide whentheyaskquestions in class andwhentheycreate teacher-made higher-order teststhal encourage thinking. A self.check the effectiveness teachers canuse to evaluate of teacher-made madetestsappears on page tests andcommercially 109.TheThree-Story Intellect Feview on page110provides a methodto analzye how manyquestions teststo determine address processing, eachof the threelevelsof learning-gathering, and questions applying. A welfbalanced test should include from all levelsto assess students'recallof factual information, their abilityto process that information and,most important, theirabilityto apply ('1994) that information by doingsomething with it. Stiggins observes that it is teachers andthe assessments thevc-Ata that havethe most impacton studentlearning anddrivethe asslessment systems in schools.

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THREE-STO INTELLECT
AFpiyA Principle $fihen Estimale Forecasl

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Thereareone story rntellects. two-Story intellects. andthreestoryintellects with skylights. Allfactcollectorswho haveno aim beyond theirfactsare one storymen.Two storymencompare, generalrze, reason, usingthe labors of tact collectors aswellas theirown.Three-story menrdealize, imagine, predict-their best illumination comes from above, through the skylight.
-Qliver Wendell Holmes

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(Adaptedfrom Bellanca snd Fogany, 1991.Us!dwith Oermissbn.l

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How toAssex Learning Auihentic

MATCHINO QUESTIONS
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TRUE/FALSE QUESTIONS

ESSAY QUESTIONS
SCIENC!

Dneclions: Seled one oi th! lollowhg topi6 tor your essy question.Youressaywillb ! evalualed on the tolowng a60.acy of intormaion o.gEnianonol inio.mal on us! ot supporl sbtemenb clarity and 6flecriwress

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Chapler 6 - Teadrerlrlade Tests

THE BIO TEN TEACHER-MAD TEST CI|ECKLIST


Tes t: Grade Level/Class: '1.

I wrote my test beforeI taughtthe subject matter. I havelistedmy standards andbenchmarks on the test. | havelistedmy grading scaleon the test. | havevaried the question typesto include _ i haveprovided pointvalues for eachsection. I haveincluded tasksto address the multiple intellioences andlearning modalities of my students. | havegivenstudents somechoice of questions. | haveusedallthreelevels of the Three-Story Intellect verbsin my questions. | havemadeallowances for students with special needs.
IESt.

2. 3._ 4._ 5.6.

types.

7.8._ 9.10 . -

| havemadesurethatallstudents havetime t6 finishthe

Signature:

Date:

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lo Assess lrlfientic learaing .Hon

THREE-STORY INTELLECT VERBS REVIEt,'/


Analyze oneof yourown teacher-made tests.Classify the questrons by marking them Iirst, second, or thirdlevelaccordrng to the ThreeStorylntellect(see p. 107).Iallvthe results. a. Numberof fi(St-story gathering questions. b. Number of second-story processing questions. c. Number questions. of third-story applying Analyze a chapter test from a textbookor any commercially prepared content test ln termsof the guidelines usedabove. TallV the results.
a . Numberof first-story gathering questions. b . Number processing of second-story qu !stions.

Number of third-story questions. applying Compare andcontrast the analysis of youroriginal teacher-made test to vour analysis prepared ot thecommerctalty test.Comment on yourlindings.

Construct an original teacher-made test to use with yoursludglts. Followthe guidelines.discussed in this chapter anduse "The BigTenTeachgr-Made Test Checklist-"

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Chafler 6 - TeacherMade Tests

TEACHER-MADE TESTS
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REFLECTION PAOE
List three thingsyouhavelearned aboutteacher-made tests. 1.

List fwo thingsyouwouldliketo try on yournextteachermadetest.


1.

2.

Listonecomment teacher-made vou haveabout tests.

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