You would think that as an assessment tool developer I wouldn’t be the kind of guy to help someone “beat the system”. You know… those little tricks that let you (or your students) “game” the system. I prefer to think of it as payback to those developers that don’t take the time to do it right. (How to Do It Right: How to Write a Test Item)
Last week I was visiting Underwrite Labs down in Chicagoland. While I was training them in on the latest release of The Examiner we fell to talking about assessment development. One of the folks there had this great link:
(That’s a link…click on it!)
Check out all the different suggestions under the bullets at the top of the page. I’m going to be printing this out for my beloved who’s fourth-grade class is going to be taking some of those miserable, interminable, why-are-they-doing-this-to-us tests next week.
What you should be doing after you develop your assessment is to look at it in light of these tips. If using them gives away the answers, it’s back to the drawing board for you! Remember that a great tool is giving the assessment to someone who doesn’t know the subject and seeing how they do. If they do better than random chance (say, 25% for a 4-alternative multiple choice assessment) you had best fix things up.