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Study Level: BTech, BSc, BEng, BA, HND, ND or NCE

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  • Test appears to be one of the most reliable instruments for evaluating leaner’s performance in the classroom in recent time. Teachers tend to be critical with information they garnered when administering test. This is because test instrument provides them with knowledge on how to determine and ascertain objectives earlier stated and how to effectively achieve those objectives in the course of teaching and learning. Brown (2015) sees test as a device or technique used to measure performance, skill level or knowledge of a learner on a specific subject matter.  

Test can also be seen as a measuring device with certain degree of accuracy and reliability. This is in terms of providing information on the level of behavioural change of the learner (Udoh, 2014).

Test can be classified into many categories buit the two frequently used tests are multiple choice test and Essay test. For the purpose of this write up, attention shall be given to the contributions of these two types of test in measuring the learners’ leaning capacity with regard to how questions from the test are answered to bring out performance in line with the objectives set to achieve.

Steps Involve in Test Development and Construction

          The following are steps to be taken in the construction of multiple choice tests as an instrument.

  • Defining Objective: The teacher or the researcher has to be acquainted with the objective of the test with three important elements in mind. These elements include the learners’ behaviour, condition under which the terminal behaviour is to be measured and clearly specified and acceptable level of performance. Ndem, Udo and Joseph (2003) stated that objectives give insight into learners’ behaviour and performance. This is why a teacher must/should be very clear and precise in writing out test items. For instance, the test items table below was developed based on the junior secondary school social students’ syllabus. Of course, in test development and construction, bloom’s Taxonomy of Educational objective is usually employed which is shown in the diagram below in figure I.

Figure I. six levels of Bloom’s Corruptive objective source: Bloom’s Taxonomy of learning outcome in Ushee (2014). Construction of test instrument is usually a stage in realizing learning objectives in a reliable and pre-determined manner. Objective is what the teacher and the learner are intended to accomplish at the end of the lesson. Objective in any lesson plan could be specific, general or behavioural but the type that is very supportive to classroom situation is the specific objective and is also referred as instructional objective. The name is given because it has much to do with the outcome of instruction (Oteh & Akuma, 2011).     

To further explain the contents meaning of objective, the abbreviation SMART can be used to explain as follows:

S       –        Specific 

M      –        Measurable

A       –        Attainable

R       –        Realistic

T       –        Time appropriate (Atherton, in Oteh & Akama, 2011).

  • Areas to be covered in Content: It is proper to state the area contents to be covered after the definition of your objective. This is the second step in test development. The content of any lesson is very importance because it helps in the achievement of objectives Olteh & Akuma (2011) sees content as the subject matter in what is to be taught and learned in school. When stating the content to be covered, the teacher must consider the validity, significance, usefulness, interest and needs of the leaner as well as the learnability of the content (Theresa, Alison, Heyinwg, Ukegbu, 2012).   
  • Test Blue Print: Another step that a teacher need to pay attention in test construction is the blue print. Test blue print is sometimes called table of specification. That is being précised and keeping to the required measure and standards. The reason for this is to allow the teacher to put together contents and statement of objective as well as assignment of related weight.

Bram (2013) stated that test blue print provides a complete framework for test development and planning for the net evaluation of a unit. This is one step that guides the teacher on how to make a table of specification that would cover the whole objectives and add a column to the table to indicate the methods to be employed in evaluating the learner’s progress toward goal attainment.   

  • Taking a Decision on Completing Test Plan: This is another crucial stage in test development. It is crucial in the sense that the teacher needs to decide on the subject contents and area to cover in the test. The proportion of items on the test that should be given to each content area and within each content area of the objective. The teacher should take into consideration the types of items, which would be most appropriate for the test. The number of items to be written for each cell of the blue print and consideration must also be extended to the difficulty of the items.    

Of course, in test development, a teacher has the responsibility of assigning percentages to each content area and objective. It will be ideal and acceptable to allow the total percentage to be up to 100%. This is to allow for equality in terms of content allocation. Example can be seen below in table I Teacher allocates:

7% 15% 15% 15% 18% 10% 12% and 8% to 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th and 8th respectively.

          In the same way, also, allocate 30%, 20% 20%, 10%, 10% and 10% to knowledge, comprehension, application, analysis, synthesis and evaluation respectively.

          Essentially, since the teacher wants to write 60 items, the teacher allocates 7% to the first content (objectives of social studies).

  x 60 = 4.

          Therefore, 4 questions will be set on the fest content. The teacher allocates 15% to the second content (leadership).

  x 60 = 9.

          This procedure is followed the same way through until the total numbers of questions are determined on each content. (See table I).

          To determined and ascertain the total number of questions to be set on each objective, the teacher finds for the objective (knowledge) 30% of 60 items.  x 4 = 1.

          The teacher finds for the (comprehension) 20% of 60 items.           

  x 4 = 1.

          The teacher finds for the (comprehension) 20% of 60 items.

 x 4 = 1.

          Therefore, 1 question was set on the first objective (knowledge) and one question for the second objective (comprehension). This procedure is used to determine the number of question to be set on each objective. When fraction occurs, approximate it to the nearest whole number. Note that the number of items in an objective must not exceed the total number of items allocated to a particular content.


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