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How to create an objective test

Can some help me create an objective test for a business class: The test must incorporate any type of questions: multiple choice, fill-in-the-blank, short answer, and/or matching test items, and at least one essay. I am needing to administer this test to a class and write up an observation of how they reacted to the material. I would be giving it to 10th grade students.

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I find that objective tests are much easier to create, and certainly to grade, than subjective tests. Subjective tests require more in-depth analysis on the student's part, which is why they are better assessments to check for the students' higher levels of understanding. However, to check for a general understanding, objective tests will do the job. Objective tests include true/false, multiple choice (MC), matching, and fill-in-the-blank.

First, decide which concepts lend themselves to absolute answers (true/false). For this kind of answer, there has to be an absolutely correct or incorrect answer. Anything in between will confuse your students, and invalidate the test question.

Next, in choosing to include multiple choice, which I prefer, you must be able to come up with several possible answers for each question. It is a generally accepted practice to make sure that students have a chance to get the correct answer by not making the answers too similar. Some students tend to over-analyze questions on tests so be careful that those students who have studied and paid attention are rewarded with an obvious correct answer: obvious only if they are prepared for the test. For example, note the following question:

In Shakespeare's play Macbeth, whose advice seems to hold the most influence over Macbeth's decision to kill Duncan and the others, in order to be king? a) Banquo b) Lady Macbeth c) the witches d) Malcolm /(or b & c)

For this question, Banquo is absolutely incorrect if anyone has been paying attention. He is a man who cannot be swayed from what is good; he cares only about supporting the King, who he admires and loves. He also ends up being one of Macbeth's early victims even though they are very close friends. Malcolm is also incorrect; he is one of the king's sons, and does not speak to Macbeth at all before Macbeth starts his killing spree, starting with Duncan. Answers b. & c. are the ones that students will need to really choose between. Lady Macbeth certainly eggs Macbeth on: after all, she will be queen, and she insults his manhood and pushes hard to get him to muster the courage to take Duncan's life. However, it is the witches' predictions that hold the most weight with Macbeth because they not only prove their worth when one of their first predictions comes true almost immediately; they also promise that he will be king one day, and that no one can kill him. (They trick him with word games on this last one.) Answers b. & c. both hold merit, but only one is the correct answer. Changing the question and asking "who has a great deal of influence over Macbeth's decision to kill Duncan" would require both b. & c. As the question stands, only c. is correct. The student who knows the material?and is paying attention?will be able to make the distinction.

(These kinds of questions create a sense in students that you are a "hard" teacher, but the truth is that you are challenging them to do their best, and that there are no "freebies." If you want your students to be prepared with the information you are teaching, challenging them on tests makes them work harder to listen, study and ultimately understand your lessons. It makes them better students for other classes as well. If your tests are too easy, they will think you are a pushover and you will lose your credibility.)

I also like matching questions. As with multiple choice (MC), the answer is there in front of them, so if they know their material, finding the correct match to the question should not be difficult. In this section (as with MC), it doesn't hurt to have two questions that may seem similar so that the prepared student will have to choose one based on the material covered that clearly conveys one answer to be correct over the other. If ...

Solution Summary

This posting gives detailed information to assist someone in any curriculum to create an objective test that not only measures what a student knows, but help to keep grading manageable. Included is information for creating tests with multiple choice, true/false, and matching questions.

There is also additional information regarding essay questions; formatting tests for easier grading is also included.

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