ACHIEVEMENT TEST

INTRODUCTION

As a teacher one is involved directly in the evaluation of the learner. Teachers teach and help the learners to learn. The learning that takes place is assessed or evaluated not only for the learner’s benefit but also for the teacher to evaluate his own work.

At the end of a lesson or a group of lessons, the teacher needs to get feedback on what the learner has achieved, as a result of the teacher’s efforts and also, indirectly to assess his own achievement as a teacher. This feedback comes with the help of a tool, generally an achievement test.

Achievement is the accomplishment or proficiency of performance in a given skill or body of knowledge. Therefore, it can be said that achievement implies the overall mastery of a pupil on a particular context. Any measuring instrument that measures the attainments or accomplishments of a pupil’s achievement must be valid and reliable.

Testing is a systematic procedure for comparing the behaviour of two or more persons. This way an achievement test is an examination to reveal the relative standing of an individual in the group with respect to achievement.

An achievement test is a test of developed skill or knowledge. The most common type of achievement test is a standardized test developed to measure skills and knowledge learned in a given grade level, usually through planned instruction, such as training or classroom instruction. Achievement tests are often contrasted with tests that measure aptitude, a more general and stable cognitive trait.

Achievement test is an important tool in school and college evaluation and has a great significance in measuring instructional progress and progress of the students in the subject area.

Achievement means one’s learning attainments, Accomplishments, proficiencies, etc. It is directly related to pupil’s growth and development in educational situations where teaching and learning are intended to….. so on…..

DEFINITIONS

Achievement Test is a test that measures the extent to which a person has “achieved” something, acquired certain information, or mastered certain skills – usually as a result of planned instruction or training.

Achievement Test is a standardized test designed to efficiently measure the amount of knowledge and/or skill a person has acquired, usually as a result of classroom instruction. Such testing produces a statistical profile used as a measurement to evaluate student learning in comparison with a standard or norm.

According to NM Downie – “Any test that measures the attainments or accomplishments of an Individual after a period of training or learning.”

According to Throndike and Hagen – “The type of ability test that describes what a person has learned to do.”

According to Groulund – “A systematic procedure for determining the amount a student has learned through instruction.”

PURPOSE OF ACHIEVEMENT TESTS

Achievement tests are universally used in the classroom mainly for the following purposes

  • To measure whether students possess the pre-requisite skills needed to succeed in any unit or whether the students have achieved the objective of the planned instruction.
  • To monitor students learning and to provide ongoing feedback to both students and teachers during the teaching-leaning process.
  • To identify the students learning difficulties- whether persistent or recurring.
  • To assigns grades.

CHARACTERISTICS OF A GOOD ACHIEVEMENT TEST

  1. It can be tried out and selected on the basis of its difficulty level and discriminating power.
  2. It should be directly related to educational objectives.
  3. It should possess description of measure behaviour in realistic and practical terms.
  4. It contains a sufficient number of test items for each measured behaviour; concerned with important and useful matter; comprehensive brief, precise and clear.
  5. It should be divided into different knowledge and skills according to behaviours to be measured.
  6. Standardized the Items and made Instruction clear so that different users can utilize it.
  7. Rules, norms have to be developed so that various age groups can use at various levels.
  8. It provides equivalent and comparable forms of the test.
  9. A test manual has to be prepared, which can be act as a guide for administering and scoring.

FUNCTIONS OF ACHIEVEMENT TEST

  1. It provides basis for promotion to the next grade.
  2. To find out where each student stands in various academic areas.
  3. It helps determination about the placement of the student in a particular section.
  4. To motivate the students before a new     assignment has taken.
  5. To know how effectively the student is performing in the theory as well as the clinical areas.
  6. To expose pupils difficulties which the teacher can help them to solve.

CONSTRUCTION OF ACHIEVEMENT TESTS

If a test has to be really made valid, reliable and practical, then it will have to be suitably planned. For it, qualitative improvement in the test will have to be effected. For this, the following precautions for test construction should be kept in view: –

  1. The principles available tests will have to be kept in view so that a test can be planned.
  2. The purpose and objectives of test must be defined.
  3. It should be decided when the test has to be conducted in the context of time and frequency.
  4. It should be determined how many questions have to be included in the test.
  5. It should be determined what types of questions have to be used in the test.
  6. Be sure that all important content areas are covered.
  7. Those topics should be determined from which questions have to be constructed. This decision is taken keeping in view the teaching objectives.
  8. The level of difficulty of questions should be decided at the beginning of the test.
  9. It should be determined if any correction has to be carried out for guessing.
  10. Use simple and clear language
  11. The format and type of printing should be decided in advance.
  12. It should be determined what should be the passing score.
  13. In order to control the personal bias of the examiner there should be a provision for central evaluation. The same examiner should check a particular question.
  14. Provide clear, concise and complete directions to the pupils.
  15. Allot time appropriately.
  16. Maintain confidentiality in test construction.
  17. A rulebook should be prepared before the evaluation of the scripts.

STEPS OF ACHIEVEMENT TEST CONSTRUCTION

To construct an achievement test the steps referred below if followed will make the test objective, reliable and valid –

First Step: Instructional Objective

(Selection of Teaching Objectives for Measurement)

The first and the most important step in planning of test is to identify the instructional objectives. Each subject has a different set of instructional objectives. So, at first those teaching objectives should be selected from all teaching objectives of subject teaching which have to be made the basis for test construction. There can be several causes of selecting these teaching objectives which have to determine related teaching, such as how much content has been studied, what is the need of student’ what is the importance of specific topics in the content etc. For it, the following table can be used:

Teaching Objectives

Selected Teaching Objectives

Reason for Selections

  1. All objectives of the cognitive domain (knowledge, comprehension, application, analysis, synthesis, evaluation)
  2. All objectives of the affective domain (receiving, responding, valuing, conceptualization)
  3. All skills of psychomotor domain (drawing skill, computational skill, constructional skill, observational skill, problem-solving skill)
  1. Knowledge
  1. Comprehension
  2. Application

    (Drawing)

Second Step: Design

Assigning Weightage to Selected Objectives:

After these objectives have been selected, a teacher assigns Weightage to these objectives keeping the tasks done and importance of objectives. It is desirable to use the following table.

S.No.

Selected Teaching Objectives

Score

Percentage

1. Knowledge
2. Comprehension
3. Application
4. Skill
Total

Weightage to Content:

Content is used as the means of realizing objectives and questions have to be constructed on its basis. Therefore, it becomes necessary to give Weightage to it. There is distinction in the nature, importance and scope of each topic. Therefore, the Weightage should be given to these facts in view; else the test would not represent the whole subject.

S.No.

Topics

Number of Items

Score

Percentage

1.

2.

3.

4.

—–

—–

—–

—–

Giving Weightage to the Type of Items:

In this step, a teacher determines the number of items, their types, their relative marks. For it, it would be convenient to use the following table:

S.No.

Type of Items

Number of Items

Score

Percentage

1.

2.

3.

Long answer type
Short answer type

Objective type

Determining Alternatives:

At this level, it is determined how many alternatives or options should be given according to the type of questions. Giving alternatives influences the reliability and validity of a test; therefore, it is suggested that alternatives should not be given in objective type questions, while in essay type questions only internal choice can be given.

Division of Sections

If the scope or types of questions is uniform, them it is not necessary to divide the test into sections. However, if it is diverse and different types of questions have been specified and the nature of the test seems to be heterogeneous, then a separate section should be made comprising each type of item.

S.No.

Sections

Type of items

Score

Percentage

1.

2.

3.

A

B

C

Objective type
Long answer type

Short answer type

Estimation of Time:

At this step estimation of the total time the whole test is likely to calculate. Time is estimated on the basis of type and number of items. Some time should be reserved for distribution and collection of answer sheets. The following table can be used for convenience.

S.No.

Type of Items

Number of Items

Time (in minutes)

1.

2.

3.

Objective type

Long answer type

Short answer type

Third Step: Preparation of Blueprint

A blueprint provides a bird’s eye view of the entire test. In it we can see the topics, teaching objectives, and types of questions, number of items and distribution of scores and their mutual relationships. A blueprint is the basis for test construction. A format is given below-

S.N.

Teaching Objective

Knowledge

comprehension

Application

Skill

Total

Types of Question

Topic

(L)

(S)

(O)

(L)

(S)

(O)

(L)

(S)

(O)

(L)

(S)

(O)

1.

2.

3.

4.

5.

L- Long Answers Type S- Short Answers Type O-Objective Answers Type

Forth Step: Writing of the Questions

After the finalization of the blueprint is writing appropriate questions in accordance with the broad parameters set out in the blueprint. One should take one small block of the blueprint at a time and write out the required questions. Thus, for each block of blueprint which is filled in, questions have got to be written one by one. Once it is done, we have all the questions meeting the necessary requirements laid down in the blueprint. While selecting each small block for writing a question, you can proceed in several ways.

  1. Either writing all questions (one by one) belonging to one objective at a time i.e. Knowledge or understanding or application Followed by other objectives, or
  2. By taking up questions according-to their form or type i.e. Essay Type followed by Short Answer and objective Type or in any other order, or
  3. By writing questions for one unit of the syllabus or portion to be covered by the test at a time.

Fifth step: Marking Scheme

The fifth step is to prepare the “Marking Scheme”. The marking scheme helps prevent Inconsistency in judgment. In the marking scheme, possible responses to items in the test are structured. The various value points for response are graded and the marks allowed to each value point indicated. The marking scheme ensures objectivity in judgment and eliminates differences in score which may be due to idiosyncrasies of the evaluator.

The factor contributing to variations in the standards of assessment, both at the intra-and the Inter-examiner levels, can be controlled by supplying a detailed scheme of marking along with the expected answers so that every examiner may interpret the questions in the same way and attain the same standard of marking without being too lenient or strict or varying in assessment. Subjectivity is thus minimized and it is believed to give a more reliable picture of the students’ performance.

Highlights of a good marking scheme

  1. It is a three column statement showing serial number of the questions, their expected outline answers and the marks allotted to each value point under them.
  2. In respect of long answer or essay type questions, the expected outline answers should:
    1. Be complete and cover all possible or major areas as demanded by the questions
    2. Clearly indicate each expected point or the parts under the outlined major areas
    3. Provide direction as to whether all points will count towards a complete or correct answer or a set of points will be adequate enough for full credit (All this should be clearly reflected), and
    4. Indicate marks for each expected point. Marks so distributed over expected points or their sets should be equal to the total marks assigned for a question.
  3. In respect of short answer questions a complete answer may be provided with its break-ups where ever necessary along with the break-up of marks.
  4. Out of the total marks assigned for a question, each point so enumerated/explained may be assigned marks according to their significance in the answer.
  5. In some situations, apart from the content, other qualities of answer may also matter significantly, particularly in long answer or essay type questions. These could be logical approach, coherence, lucidity of expression, the style of presentation etc. Some marks may also be set apart for such overall quality of answer which cannot be usually covered in enumeration of the content points.
  6. The scheme of marking needs to be comprehensive enough not to leave any point unexpected and thus should provide clear guidelines in respect of the break-up of marks over different points or parts of the answer.
  7. If a question entails some other points beyond one’s expectation, a provision may also be I made to take them into account and suitably reward them.

Sixth Step: Question-wise Analysis or Item Analysis

The sixth step is that of question-wise analysis or item analysis.it is used to calculate difficulty level and discriminative value. Such an exercise helps the paper setter to ensure that there is no imbalance in the question paper. During question-wise analysis, the paper setter analyses each question on various parameters stated in the blueprint.

In the context of difficulty level, the following difficulty levels are suggested for the selection of questions as per Katz (1959) also recommendation-

S.N0.

Types of items

Difficulty Level %

1.

2.

3.

4.

5.

Long answer type

Alternatives 5

Alternatives 4

Alternatives 3

Alternatives 2

50%

60%

62%

66%

75%

Seventh Step: Preparation of Final Test

The final test is constructed after the above analysis for this a suitable format is prepared and norms are specified. Also, instructions for examinees are prepared.

The test constructed in accordance to the above referred procedure will definitely assumes a purpose or an idea of what is good or desirable from the stand point of individual or society or both.

TYPES OF QUESTIONS

There are mainly three kinds of questions –

  1. Essay type,
  2. Short answer type: – They can be grouped into two broad categories:
    1. Extended Answer Type
    2. Insert and Completion Type
  3. Objective type,
    1. Simple Recall
    2. Multiple Choices
    3. True-False
    4. Matching Block

ADMINISTRATION OF AN ACHIEVEMENT TEST

Having prepared a good test, we should plan to administer it in such a way that, each of our Students will do best.

It plays a vital role in enhancing the reliability of test scorers. Test should be administer in a congenial environment strictly as per instructions planned assure uniformity of conclusions to all the people tested.

The administration of the achievement test includes –

Time Schedule

Be sure we plan our time schedule carefully, ensuring teacher and pupil readiness. Much preparation may be done a day before. It will be wise to schedule enough time for briefing the invigilators.

If there is a deadline for finishing and leaving the room, be especially sure to plan for adequate time at the end for the things which must be done. Even with a small class these take five to ten minutes, and with a large group they may take at least fifteen minutes. A hasty wind-up may result in non-fulfillment of the objectives of the test, or other disasters.

The Room

It is important for any examination to provide a quiet, comfortable atmosphere, in which the students are encouraged to do their best. As much as possible, try to test in a quiet place with a minimum of distracting noises. Avoid rooms near cafeterias, important hallways, playing fields or other noisy places. Request nearby loudspeaker owners to shut them off for the duration of the examination hours. Hang signs on the door, saying “EXAMINATION IN PROGRESS: DO NOT DISTURB”. Objective examinations generally require more intense concentration than essay type exams. The latter demand an excess of physical endurance (trying to write fast enough to keep up with one’s thoughts). Objective tests require constant, careful and critical thinking and reasoning, with a minimum of physical work.

Desk

The students will be writing on a single – thickness answer sheet so the writing surfaces are at least 30 x 38 cm, and as smooth as possible. If there are cracks or scratches a student’s pencil may push through the answer sheet, spoiling it and making it hard to mark. Also be sure the room is clear of any charts, posters, etc. that might help some candidates.

Equipment

The necessary equipment taken by the examiner in the examination hall are – chalk, Board, poster, notice board pencil etc. The examiner should have a check-list of required equipment, to ensure what you will have to take with in the examination hall.

Invigilators

For examination, we will probably need the help of one or more invigilators. The invigilator should have willing to give their full attention to the task. Invigilators should not talk, react, correct papers or does any other work during the examination time. They should observe closely, circulating constantly, checking that the students are answering in the right place, not copying etc. However, they should not hover too long over any student, as this makes the examinee nervous.

SCORING AND RECORDING OF TEST RESULTS

The principal of valuation should be followed in scoring the test. It enhances the objectivity and reliability of the test.

Order of Scoring

  • For objective tests separate answer sheets are provided, the scorer may score a given page in all booklets first, then the next page, and so on, rather than scoring all of one booklet before going on to the next.
  • For essay tests may be desirable to have one person score all answers to the first question, then to the second, and so on.
  • If so many booklets must be scored that several scorers are needed, each person may specialize on a given page or group of pages of the booklet but should score only one page in all booklets at a time.

Scoring errors

  • “Constant” errors can be due to failure to understand scoring directions, with resultant scores which are consistently too low or too high.
  • “Variable” errors can be due to carelessness in marking, adding, computing, or transcribing scores.
  • These errors warrant
    • The careful training and instruction of scorers and
    • The rescoring of at least a sample of any group of test booklets or answer sheets.

Rescoring

  • With a large number of booklets to be scored and sufficient help available, it is always worthwhile to rescore them so as to eliminate errors that otherwise are almost inevitable in a clerical task like this.
  • If complete rescoring is not feasible every fifth or tenth booklet should be rescored to get a rough idea of the frequency and magnitude of scoring errors.
  • Rescoring a sample sometimes uncovers such an inaccuracy as to make it desirable to rescore the remainder.

Keeping Records

  • As soon as possible after the tests have been administered, the answer sheet should be checked and scored, and the scores should be recorded on the permanent records of the school. Each teacher should be given copies of the score reports for the pupils in class. Usually schools have some type of permanent record for each pupil which provides space for recording standardized test results.
  • The records must be indicated: test title, form of the test, date when the test was given, the raw score or standard score, and percentile rank under properly identified captions. When percentile ranks are reported, the group on which the norms were based should be identified – for example, national, state, district, local, or other group -and die nature of the group should be specified.

GRADES

Grading is the system of classifying students into a few ability groups or categories according to their level of achievement in an examination. The achievement is defined in the form of numerical or letter grades, each of which denotes a certain level of performance, generally not in absolute terms but in relation to the performance of the whole group.

There are two approaches to formation of groups that define the grades –

  1. On the basis of absolute marks and
  2. On the basis of relative marks or rank order of marks.

Absolute Grading

This approach involves direct conversion of marks into grades. Whatever be the distribution of marks in a subject, the marks between two fixed points on 0-100 scale would correspond to a given grade. Examples – the categorization of students into 5 groups – Distinction, 1st, 2nd, 3td Division and fail categories on the basis of marks as follows:

  1. 75 or above     Distinction
  2. 60 – 74         1st Division
  3. 45 – 59        2nd Division
  4. 33 -44        3rd Division
  5. Below 33     Fail

Comparative Grading

This involves conversion of marks into grades on the basis of rank order or percentiles. In this case the distribution of marks is taken into consideration while determining the range of marks corresponding to different grades.

For example, the top 5% students may be given grade A; the next 10% grade B and so on. Here the actual cut-off score for grade A in one subject may be quite different from that of another subject. In this case the grade that a student gets depends on his /her relative performance, that is, on what his/her marks are in relation to the marks of others.

Advantages

In general when we talk of grading it is only the type of grading based on relative marks that we have in mind. These grades arc expressed in the form of letters A, B, C etc. The following are the main advantages of such grading:

  1. With the same uniform pattern being adopted for all subjects, grading would provide Achievement Tests better comparability of the results of different years in the same subject.
  2. Grading is essentially based on rank ordering of students. Studies have shown that agreement among examiners on ranks to be awarded to examinees is much more in this than on absolute marks. Hence grades based on rank order in general, are more reliable.
  3. There is greater comparability among subjects when grades are used. When there is a choice of subjects, students need not avoid the subjects which are considered low scoring. Even with a so called low scoring subject, the proportion of students getting a grade would be nearly the same as in a so called high scoring subject
  4. Grades in different subjects in an examination provide a meaningful profile of the achievement of a student. Unlike marks, one can easily find out in which subjects the performance is outstanding, good, fair or poor. With marks, one can arrive at such inference only on knowing what the range, average and dispersion are of the marks in the different subjects.

Summary

Achievement test is the test which measures the amount of learning of student after completing a particular learning program. It helps to evaluate how effectively the student is performing in the theory as well as the clinical areas and according to his performance a particular score or grading is assigned to the student. There are various steps which are included in construction of achievement test such as -: Instructional Objective, design, Preparation of Blueprint, Writing of the Questions, Marking Scheme, questioning, analysis and preparation of final list. It is very important that the achievement test should be valid, reliable, and practical and should be suitably planned by keeping all the objectives and purposes in mind.


BIBLIOGRAPHY

  1. Neerja, K.P., Text Book of Nursing Education, First Edition (Reprint – 2008), Jaypee Brothers, New Delhi, Page No. 415-419.
  2. Basavanthappa, B.T. “Nursing education” Jaypee Brother, New Delhi, First Edition (reprint 2004), 494-496.
  3. Marilyn H. Oermann and Kathleen B. Gaberson, “Evaluation and Testing in Nursing Education”, Springer Publishing Company, New York 3rd Edition page no. – 32-37
  4. Kapoor, Bimla & Handa, Uma; Nursing Education And Research; Block-2 Curriculum Development And Implementation; First Edition (Reprint 2001) Ignou New Delhi, Page No.123-124
  5. Kapoor, Bimla & Handa, Uma; Nursing Education And Research; Practical Manual-1 Nursing Education And Research; First Edition (Reprint 2001) Ignou New Delhi, Page No. 102-115
  6. Hawaii Department of Education. Assessment Terminology, from http://www.k12.hi.us/~atr/evaluation/glossary.htm
  7. University of Wisconsin–Stout. Glossary. , from http://faculty.uwstout.edu/lawlerm/at101/glossary.shtml
  8. Achievement test; From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Achievement_test
  9. What is an Achievement Test? ; From Wise GEEK http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-an-achievement-test.htm

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2 thoughts on “ACHIEVEMENT TEST

  1. Sir, goodafternoon. please Iam carrying out a research on teacher effectiveness in large class sizes and I am using your conceptual framework on teacher effectiveness. Can I please get articles you have written using this conceptual framework and a questionnaire developed for this model? Thanks, hoping to hear from you.

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