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CHARACTERISTICS OF A GOOD TEST: A REFLECTION PAPER

A teacher holds one of the most influential and crucial jobs in the

country—providing the future generation and national leaders with knowledge

(Oindo, 2013) . Indeed, in the hands of a teacher lies a big responsibility that

defines the direction that a student may possibly pass through. As such, a

teacher needs to equip himself with various skills and attitudes that will be of

help to him as he traverse his way towards the realization of the vision-mission

of each educational institution which is to come up with responsible citizens

who, will not only become an asset to their respective community, but be the

strong foundation of the country as a whole.

Allan (2003) also described a good teacher as somebody who must be

interesting, dynamic and have the vocation to teach the students in order to

help them achieve success in their profession.

Moreover, a teacher has to do the mantle of a lucid communicator, a fair

evaluator, an adept manager, a strict disciplinarian, a healing therapist and a

skillful team leader. He must be somebody who always adopts a fair attitude,

when it comes to making any form of evaluations (iloveindia,2013). He should

be fair to his profession and assess students on their performance, instead of

personal rapports and likings.

To round things up, a teacher should possess certain qualities, that will

help him elicit the best from his students and make him enjoy a rewarding

career. This may be manifested in various ways, one of which is his way of

preparing test materials for his students.


Undeniably, being able to construct a good test is a demonstration of

teacher’s seriousness in his quest of measuring a particular behavior among

the students. If this happens, it would be very easy for him to know how to

evaluate the students and what proper remediation are to be employed in case

the student fails to show improvement in a specific field.

It is then important for all teachers to keep in mind the different

characteristics of a good test. This should be our main concern every time we

prepare test materials for our students.

Knowing the characteristics of a good test is a big tool for teachers to be

able to construct a test that will really reveal what we wanted to measure and

that it guarantees a satisfying result, both for the teacher and the students.

We, teachers, should then bear in mind that test construction is not

only a matter of giving questions for the students to answer because it is a

quarterly requirement but it has to include our mind, heart and dedication. It

is actually a process that takes time and that it must be done with a lot of

careful studies and preparations.

There are a lot of realizations that we need to keep in mind as we are

reminded of these qualities of a good test.

First, it reiterated on the need for a careful planning and study in test

construction. This means that test making does not happen anywhere at any

time but it requires ample time and preparation by the teacher. This is where

Table of Specifications comes in. It’s just so sad to know that we are

sometimes blinded by our own reasons that we sometimes neglect the


importance of this in test preparation. If we carefully use such in test

preparation, we are sure of the content validity of our test as we try to identify

all the topics that we covered during the specific grading period. Moreover, we

are able to refrain from giving inappropriate test items to our students if we are

doing it with a touch of sufficient preparation.

Another realization that I got from this topic on the ‘Characteristics of a

Good Test’ is on the need for us, teachers, to present clear and simple

directions for the test takers. This is because the direction itself is already a

part of the exam so if the taker does not understand our directions, definitely,

he/she will also fail. According to Rowman and Littlefield (2010), helping your

child learn to follow directions exactly is an important way to prepare her for

test success. Giving simple and comprehensible directions is very essential in

test construction because even if the student is well prepared for the exam if

the instructions are vague, it will just result to his/her failure, eventually

creating a boomerang to us, teachers.

Our discussion on the characteristics of a good test also reminds us of

time element in the success of a test. It is imperative that we construct test

questions taking into consideration the time allotted for the test. This falls

under the ‘Practicality of a Test’ that includes selecting the test, economy, ease

of administration and ease of interpretation. Economy involves taking into

account whether the test will take a long time to administer and to score. Ease

of administration involves the consideration of whether the test is easy or

complicated to administer (Nyalan, 2012) . In this way, we come up to the idea


that test construction also connotes examining not only the time allotted for

the students to take the test but also time in scoring and administering the

test. This is another indicator that test construction is not an easy thing to do.

It actually takes most of our time thus, it really requires thorough preparation

and planning.

I was also stimulated by the topic about answering patterns. I was made

to understand that since students are also as clever as their teachers, there

should be a need for us to be extra careful with the use of patterns. It has

been proven that tests following a certain answer pattern do not actually serve

its purpose. It’s actually spoon feeding the students in a hidden way. Further,

it may just create another negative response from the takers as they think that

there is no need for them to read and study the questions for as long as they

are already familiar with the pattern. Moreover, this might also affect the study

habits of the students which may create in them a unhelpful attitude towards

tests or examinations.

I was reminded of my very good teacher in high school who made us

answer in his personalized answer sheet and when he checks our answers, he

also makes use of another template which makes it very easy for him to come

up with the result of the test. This makes me think that teachers can actually

be as creative as they ought to be in their checking techniques but they still

need to consider both their convenience and their students’ too.

Traditionally, when we talk about tests, our main focus would only on be

the lesson contents which were discussed in class which is not supposed to be
as negated by another characteristic of a good test which is known as

‘Authenticity’. Considering all the characteristics of a good test, I would say

that this tops the list and that we, teachers must expand our realizations about

this.

Usually, when we talk about authenticity, we always associate it with the

materials we used in test construction, including the originality of the

questions which is sometimes a misconception about this term in test

construction.

Authentic tests make students use their understanding of a subject to

solve real world situations and problems. This type of test can be beneficial to

because it allows students to show their knowledge in a variety of ways

(Elsworth and Media, 2013). Basically, it deals on how important the test is to

the life of the student. It is here where we can see the impact of the test to the

student’s life and how will it help him/her become an asset of the community.

Here, we need to ask ourselves as teachers, “ How did the test questions

incorporate situations that the learner will face in real life.?” This, for me,

would explain the reason why we give various types of tests to our students in

order to make them think critically and even creatively.

As a language teacher, I would say that this authenticity of a test may be

evident when we also give integrative tests as these may widen the test takers’

understanding of a particular topic as he/she relates it to his/her life

situations. Providing the students with essay type of test may also be a good

way to help them develop their logical thinking abilities which may eventually
lead them to become fast intellectuals. There is also then a need for us to

integrate the different levels of questions when we construct our test questions.

Finally, the way we present questions in a paper may also be a big factor

on the students’ performance in the test. Because of this, it is also important

that we learn how to arrange our questions in order that students will enjoy

the experience and not to curse it. This may be done through starting from the

least difficult to the most difficult one. We must however take note that we are

aiming at identifying the learning outcomes of our students when we let them

take a test and that we are NOT giving a test in order to torture them.

I can therefore say that the result of a test maybe considered reliable

when the test was done with a watchful deliberation by us, teachers. If we do

so, we expect a better output from our students. We should help our students

understand the purpose of test taking activity by coming up with tests that are

really focused on the holistic development of the students. It may be hard to

become perfect in preparing test questions but the possibility of becoming one

comes easily when we put our heart and mind for this purpose.

Examinations must intend to teach students and not to reinforce their

weaknesses. We have to keep in mind that the result of the test is crucial for

us in order to meet our department’s standards but no matter what happens,

testing our students doesn’t ensure meeting these standards but our teaching

does.
References:

The New Times. (2013). Insight. Retrieved on September 27, 2013 from
http://www.newtimes.co.rw/news/index.php?i=15491&a=70709

Toefl Essay. (2006). English Test. Net. Retrieved on September 27, 2013 from
http://www.english-test.net/forum/ftopic15320.html

Characteristics Of A Good Teacher. (2013). The Iloveindia website. Retrieved


12:57, Sep 27, 2013,from http://lifestyle.iloveindia.com

What is Reliability. (2013). About Psychology. Retrieved on September 28, 2013


from http://psychology.about.com/od/researchmethods

Characteristics of a Good Test. (2012). Hypermas. Retrieved on September 28,


2013 from http://nyalanilmu.blogspot.com/2010/03/characteristics-of-
good-tests.html

Definition of Authentic Assessment & Why It Is Useful With Students With


Special Needs (2013). Global Post. Retrieved on September 28, 2013 from
http://everydaylife.globalpost.com/definition-authentic-assessment-
useful-students-special-needs-6725.html
La Salle University
Graduate Studies

Reflection Paper
On
Characteristics of a Good Test
(Lang. Test.)

Submitted to:

MARYLENE T. TIZON, MA
Professor

Respectfully Submitted:

NANCY L. DENCIO
Student