Solutions to problems teachers have with classroom testing

Article appearing in Shiken 17.2 (December 2013) pp. 27-33.

Authors: James Dean Brown
University of Hawai'i at Manoa

Question:
I sometimes feel like I must be making lots of mistakes when I write tests for my students. What worries me most is that I may be wasting my time and theirs because I don’t know what I am doing. Can you help me by explaining common mistakes that teachers make when they design tests and how to avoid them?

Answer (first paragraph):
The problems that test designers have when writing and developing standardized tests (norm-referenced tests) are discussed in many language testing books. However, the problems that teachers have in implementing classroom tests (criterion-referenced tests) are rarely covered. Yet surely, testing occurs more often in language classrooms than in standardized language testing settings. So I will be happy to address the classroom testing problems that teachers face and offer solutions to those problems--at least to the best of my ability. I will do so in three sections about problems that teacher may have in test writing practices, test development practices, and test validation practices.

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