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BSU-College of Teacher Education
Preparing a
Table of Specifications
Prof Ed 35: Assessment of Student Learning
J AN E T
LY N N
S .
M O N T E M AY O R

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Read through the following cases. Then, reflect whether the teachers in the given situations made reasonable decisions or not:

Case 1: Teacher A announces that the third periodical examination in Social Studies will cover Chapters 5 and 6 of the textbook. She actually included 10 questions taken from Chapter 7 to “test if her students did advanced reading.”

Case 2: Teacher B gives a quiz in Physics. Students try to recall their lessons as their teacher reads every question. They find the 10th item most difficult and the questions was: “What is my complete name?”

Case 3: Teacher C prepares items for a test in Earth Science. Most of the questions he included were about the MOON because he has many items in his file about it, though it was the lesson with the least coverage.

Case 4: Teacher D is constructing a periodical examination for her Communication Arts class. Because she wanted to be able to score the test papers quickly, she prepares true-false items only.

Case 5: Teacher E constructs items for a periodical examination in Mathematics. Thinking of the nature of the subject, he prepares 10 word problems for his students to solve.

Case 6: Teacher F and his colleagues in a government high school are required to submit a table of specifications. He makes one based on the test he has earlier constructed.

Have you ever been a student to any of the teachers described above? How did you feel when you were in those situations? Do you consider the test fair?

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The Table of Specifications

For a test to be valid, there must be a good match between the content of the test and the content of the relevant domain. A Table of Specifications is the framework for the structure of the test. It outlines the content of a test especially in relation to the curricular content that the test intends to cover. It also specifies the number of items or points which will be allotted to each topic.

The table of specifications, otherwise called the test blueprint, is a two- way chart. The grids relate instructional objectives to the coverage of the test. Columns list the objectives or "levels of skills" to be addressed; rows list the key concepts or content the test is to measure, such as knowledge of facts, comprehension of concepts, and ability to apply or synthesize material. The components of the TOS specify the number of items to be constructed for each content area and for each level of thinking that is desired from students.

Purposes

The TOS is essential to good test construction. As tool, it supports teachers in making professional judgment when creating or selecting items for use with their students. As blueprint, the TOS ensures that a test will sample all important content areas and cognitive processes. Through the TOS, teachers can be assured that they are measuring student learning across a wide range of content as well as cognitive processes requiring lower and higher order thinking. The information in the table may also be used to interpret scores for a cluster of items with a common cognitive level that may help the user evaluate different test performance, i.e., how well students or groups of students perform in relation to different cognitive levels in the taxonomy.

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Specifically, the table of specifications is designed to:

Help in preventing teachers from having too many questions in one domain of a particular lesson.

Enable teachers to develop alternative forms while maintaining the reliability of the test.

Empower teachers to create a suitable test for their students while maintaining the standard.

Provide teachers a clear framework to do quality assurance in terms of the representativeness of items in the achievement domain.

Be used to list the difficulty of questions which teachers may improve the quality of test in future.

Limit teachers to interpret students’ scores to the scope of the test.

Construction

One of the many things to be done in planning for the preparation of a test is the construction of the table of specifications. The TOS is developed before the test is written. In fact it should be prepared before the actual teaching begins.

The table of specifications has several parts (Figure 1). The first few lines indicate the heading, which indicates the name of the school, college, and department for which the examination was prepared for (if applicable), and address of the school. This is an essential part because the TOS is considered an official document or record belonging to the institution. Label is another element of the TOS, which is usually written at the center of the document and emphasized. This part tells the kind of document being prepared. Course title specifies the subject/course which the examination covers. Test period indicates the particular occasion that the examination is prepared for. In the example, format follows that of the tertiary level. This may be altered to

grading periods as in the case of the basic education level. Objectives detail the student-centered purposes of the examination in the three domains of learning, namely cognitive, affective, and psychomotor. The first column of the TOS, Coverage, enumerates all lessons included in the examination while duration specifies the corresponding number of meetings spent for each topic. Number of points indicates how much of the examination will be constructed on each particular lesson. This sum is distributed among the six cognitive levels reflective of the objectives of the examination. Type of test designates the item format assigned for each lesson while item placement indicates the specific part and corresponding numbers in the examination where the topics are found. Below the table, the name of the teacher is indicated, followed by the name of the immediate supervisor.

Label
Course Title
Test Period
Objectives
Coverage
Duration
No. of Points
Cognitive Levels
Type of Test
Item Placement
Figure 1. Parts of the Table of Specifications
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Prepare the Table of Specifications for the examination you will construct for this course. Use the same format given in Figure 1. You may have it encoded in a letter-size (8.5” x 11”) paper in landscape orientation.

Consider the following step-by-step procedure in constructing your TOS:

1. Formulate student-centered objectives in the cognitive, affective, and psychomotor domains. You may have more in the cognitive domain since it is a written examination you will be preparing. Remember that the objectives should be OSMARTER: observable, specific, measurable, attainable, result-oriented, time-bound, encompassing, and realistic (visit

infographic/). Avoid verbs such as understand, appreciate, learn, among others unless specifying a particular activity. For example, “appreciate concept of heroism by writing an essay about the heroes in their respective

community.”

2. Outline the topics covered in the examination. Be specific as much as possible, but not too much that you would need more than one page for your TOS!

3. Assign the number of meetings for each lesson, which should add up to 25 meetings (based on the 120 school days mandated by the Department of Education). You may assign numbers arbitrarily, but make sure you base them on your objective judgment regarding the importance and length of the lessons.

For this column, percent may be assigned in place of time. Percent is used especially in cases where number of meetings spent on a topic is difficult to determine. To fill out the column, assign certain percent to each topic. Make sure that the number is representative of the importance and length of the topic. Check that the sum of the numbers under this column is 100%.

4.

Decide on the total number of points to be given in the examination. In

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doing so, consider the time given for the examination vis-à-vis the ability of

your students. For your project, however, let us set the total number of

points at 100. Then, compute the number of points to be given per lesson.

Use the equation below:

. =

Use the same formula for every lesson. Round-off answers to the nearest

whole number. Then, add all numbers in the column. You should get 100

one or two points from some topics.

If percent is used in the preceding column (instead of number of meetings),

use the equation below:

. =

100%

Remember to round off outputs to whole numbers. Then, check that the

sum of the numbers under this column is equal to the total number of

points set earlier. If not, make the necessary adjustment.

5. Distribute the number of points to the different cognitive levels. Make sure

the distribution is based on your objectives and the nature of the lessons as

well. You may not assign points to some cognitive levels but you are

encouraged to include more in the higher order thinking skills (application,

analysis, synthesis, and evaluation).

6. Decide on the item format to be constructed for each lesson. Again, you

need to review your objectives and the nature of the lessons. Assign one or

two item formats only for each lesson. In the same manner, a test format

may be used for one or two lessons. There should be four or more item

7.

Finally, assign the item placements. Indicate the part of the test (I, II, III) and the corresponding numbers in the examination.

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8. Always refer to the given example.

9. Remember to write your name at the bottom of the table. Below your name, write teacher/instructor/professor.

10.Submit your output on September 23, 2019.