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Planning for a test

When developing a test, instructors should begin with their learning objectives for the unit being assessed. Well-written, measurable learning objectives will greatly ease the process of test planning. Use your objectives to develop a test blueprint which maps out the content areas that the test will measure. The test blueprints should contain a list of topics that the test will cover. Topics should be relevant to the material covered in the course and representative of the importance of the topic, with more important topics receiving greater coverage or weight. In addition, test items should reflect the appropriate category of intellectual skills (pdf) suggested by the learning objectives. Multiple choice items are appropriate for knowledge or comprehension but analysis and evaluation are best measured with open-ended items, such as essays. If necessary, it is possible to create multiple choice items to assess higher-order thinking, but is not easy. Following the test blueprints will make item writing easier for the instructor and make the test more valid for the students.


Test blueprints

Multiple-choice item writing

Resources