Presentation on theme: "Testing What You Teach: Eliminating the “Will this be on the final"— Presentation transcript:
1Testing What You Teach: Eliminating the “Will this be on the final Testing What You Teach: Eliminating the “Will this be on the final?” IdeologyDr. Barry Lee ReynoldsNational Yang-Ming UniversityEducation Center for Humanities and Social Sciences
2Outline Introduction Backwash Reliability Validity Explain time is limited so can only focus on a few issues, recommend the Testing book.
4Why students ask: “Will this be on the final exam?”
5The distrust of tests Who distrusts tests? Why? Language TeachersLanguage StudentsWhy?Due to their negative effects on learning, tests are often considered as more harmful than helpful.Sometimes teaching is good, but the test does not reflect the teaching.The effect of testing on teaching is known as backwash, and can be harmful or beneficial (Hughes, 2003).
6Tests are often inaccurate measurements Testing techniquee.g., If you want to know how well someone writes, you must ask them to write. (referred to as validity)e.g., The test must consistently measure the ‘construct’ (e.g., the past tense, vocabulary, writing) (referred to as reliability)
7BackwashHow can a teacher achieve beneficial backwash?
8Backwash Harmful Backwash Beneficial Backwash Ex. multiple choice items to test writingBeneficial BackwashEx. writing to test writingMore contextualized (low-stakes exam)Final exam for a courseMore global (high-stakes exam)University entrance exam (e.g., TOEFL)If the skill of writing, for example, is tested only by multiple choice items, then there is great pressure to practise such items rather than practise the skill of writing itself.TOEFL exam
9How can a teacher achieve beneficial backwash? (1/2) Test the abilities whose development you want to encourageIf you want to encourage oral ability, then test oral ability.Sample widely and unpredictablyIt is important that the sample taken should represent as far as possible the full scope of what is specified.Use direct testingIf we test directly the skills that we are interested in fostering, then practice for the test represents practice in those skills.
10How can a teacher achieve beneficial backwash? (2/2) Make testing criterion-referencedIf the test specifications make clear just what students have to be able to do (and with what degree of success), then students will have a clear picture of what they have to achieve.Base tests on objectivesIf tests are based on objectives, rather than on detailed teaching and textbook content, they will provide a truer picture of what has actually been achieved.Ensure the test is known and understood by students and teachersStudents need to understand what the test demands of them.Explain the rationale for the test, its specifications, and provide sample items.
11ValidityHow can teachers ensure the validity of an assessment?
12Construct validityAn assessment is said to be valid and have construct validity if it measures accurately what it is intended to measure.e.g., “reading ability”; “speaking fluency”; “grammar”Does the assessment really test the “construct” it has set out to test?Construct validity used in reference to an overarching notion of validity.Teachers must ensure that their tests truly assess the skills they have taught in their classrooms.
13Content validity Content Validity If you wish to test “reading ability” the assessment must be made up of items that test for language skills that are associated with “reading ability.”To ensure content validity, it is not enough just to have students “read” and require them to answer questions; the questions must constitute a proper sample of all the language skills that have been taught in the course.Areas that are not tested, tend to be ignored by teachers in their teaching and students in their learning.Unfortunately, the content of tests are usually made up of what is easiest to test.Match assessment content to specifications written for the course (i.e., class goals & objectives).
14Criterion-related validity Criterion-related validity refers to the degree to which one assessment correlates with another assessment.Criterion-related validity includes concurrent validity and predictive validity.Concurrent validity is established when the test and the criterion are administered at about the same time.Example – testing of oral and written language abilitiesPredictive validity concerns the degree to which a test can predict students’ future performance.Example – prerequisite course; internship opportunitiesCriterion-related validity is usually investigated through the use of correlation coefficients.
15Validity in scoringAn assessment should not test more than one ability (unless it was designed with the intention to do so!).Example – Reading test that also assesses spelling and grammar; writing test that emphasizes punctuation
16Face validityA test is said to have face validity if it looks as if it measures what it is supposed to measure.
17ReliabilityHow can teachers ensure the reliability of an assessment?
18ReliabilityReliability refers to the degree to which an assessment produces stable and consistent results.In other words, giving the assessment on X day will result with pretty much the same results if it had been given on Y day.This is determined through the use of “the reliability coefficient.”test-retest methodsplit-half methodLado (1961) provides benchmarks to follow:vocabulary, grammar, and reading assessmentslisteningspeaking
19Scorer reliabilityQuantifying the level of agreement given by the same or different scorers on different occasions by means of a coefficient can help ensure scorer reliability.Ex. grading essays
20How to make tests more reliable? (1/3) Take enough samples of behaviorIt is not enough to just include enough items, but to ensure each item is a “fresh start” for the students.Exclude items which do not discriminate well between weaker and stronger students.Do not allow candidates too much freedom.Write unambiguous items.Provide clear and explicit instructions.
21How to make tests more reliable? (2/3) Ensure that tests are well laid out and perfectly legible.Make students familiar with format and testing techniques.Provide uniform and non-distracting conditions of administration.Use items that permit scoring which is as objective as possible.Make comparisons between students as direct as possible (similar to not allowing students too much freedom).
22How to make tests more reliable? (3/3) Create a detailed scoring key.Train scorers (if not scoring sheets yourself).Agree acceptable responses and appropriate scores at outset of scoring.Identify candidates by number, not name.Employ multiple, independent scoring (if possible).
23Relationship between reliability and validity To be valid an assessment must be reliable; however, it may be possible for an assessment to be reliable but not valid.Ex. writing test that actually assesses translationBe careful not to sacrifice validity while ensuring reliability.