How to Administer Test to Achieve Academic Excellence

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Testing has become a household name in our educational setup. The importance of testing cannot be over-emphasized. We have earlier discussed the principles of test construction and the qualities of good measuring instruments. Knowledge of test construction and what makes for the test may be messed up and rendered useless after it has been administered, it may be of no value if no feedback is not provided. We shall in this chapter examine what it takes to administer a test, how to score test items, obtaining useful information from test scores, and developing banks.

The test must not be used as a punitive.

Of great importance in test administration is the provision favourable physical and psychological environment for tests. Every testee should be given an equal opportunity to demonstrate his ability on the test. All extraneous factors that may handicap testees either as individuals or as a group must be avoided. The physical environment where the test is to be conducted must well lightened, quiet, well-ventilated, of tolerable temperature free from distractions. The testees must enjoy a favorable psychological climate. The test must not be used as a punitive or panic measure nor must it go with elements of threat. The attachment of too much importance to a test may make students get worried with the consequent anxiety generating fear and insecurity

Testers should understand feedback.

Testers should by deeds and words make the testees understand feedback from the tests is useful for remedial work. Tests should not be overloaded with items that are difficult or impossible to accomplish within the time allocated.

The validity of the results of a test may be adversely affected by the time the test is conducted. Administering a test to a class when a graduation ceremony or some other big functions like end of session party, a popular film show, or student meetings are going on around may not elicit the true performance of the testees as their minds will be more with the outside activities going on at that time than with the rest. If after scheduling the test it is discovered that some other activities time of the test are likely to distract the attention of the testees with the better to postpone the administration of the test.

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Test administration should ensure test paper.

Administration calls for ensuring strict adherence to the test paper. Directives are a list of instructions, and directives among other things. Should clearly state the duration of the test, the number of questions to be attempted, and in some cases the allocation of marks to each part of the questions and the modality for writing solutions to the questions.

 Test timing should give ample opportunity.

The timing of a test should give ample chance for an average testee to show what he has mastered. It is only in proficiency exercises such as shorthand and typewriting or occasional speed tests on simple computational work that the timing may be of focus. Test administration normally goes with instructions as to what should not be done. Such rules will warn against noise making in and around the examination hall, prohibit the writing of information anywhere other than on the answer script provided, forbid the exchange of articles of any form among testees, and bring in any article other than those approved for the test. Interruptions during the conduct of a test must be very minimal. Where efforts have been made to ensure the correctness of test items and the preciseness of instructions, a tester needs not to entertain questions regarding the test paper. Visitors should be discouraged from entering the hall or moving around the hall.

Invigilators should refrain from assisting testees.

Persons invigilating a test should refrain from offering or aiding any form of assistance to the testees. Unlawful assistance may arise from interpretation of questions, allowing the use of special calculators with information storage facilities, passing of papers containing useful information, finger signaling to indicate correct options in the case of objectives test items, impersonation, carrying or passing in already prepared solutions or useful information, spying or copying another person’s work, exchange of question papers or answer scripts and writing of information on parts of the body or dress worn by the testee or even currencies (money). It does become imperative that a proper check be made on testees before when in the examination hall.

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The classroom must be free from inscriptions.

The classroom used for the test must be free from any inscription or form of writing either on the desk, wall chalkboard, or anywhere, Food or drinking flask, the desk., mathematical set, and identification forms must be checked to ensure that they do not contain any form of information useful for the test. In the case of objective tests, cheating could be minimized by administering the same set of objective test items with varied arrangements to different people in the same examination hall. Each set may be labeled and the candidate is asked to indicate the set he is answering on his answer script. While collection may be done indiscriminately, there is a need to separate them before making. This ensures equality in the level of measure but works against any candidates who may wish to rely on the assistance of other people.

Clear instructions should be stated.

There should be clear instructions as to the mode of answering questions Candidates may be given clues that are all plausible but asked to select the most appropriate. Where interpretations are needed the directive must be free from any ambiguity. Directives must indicate where and how answers are to be given. They may be expected to circle, underline, or shade the correct response on either the question paper or the answer sheet provided. The provision of definite instructions works not only for the testees but also for the tester.

Elimination of cheating will increase the class morale and ascertain that the response reflects the true, ability of each testee. Instructions regarding suspected or actual guesswork must be stated if it is to carry any penalty. It is however appropriate not to penalize for guesswork but to make all questions compulsory as it is difficult to distinguish between guesswork and actual knowledge where the correct response is given. Even where the wrong response is given it may have resulted from an error rather than guesswork.

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Conclusion

Test administration demands the provision of a conducive climate for the conduct of the test. Both the physical and psychological environment must be stimulating for the testees to perform at optimal levels. The physical environment must be neat, well-lit, noise-free, with good writing tables and chairs, good ventilation, and free from distractions. The testees offer their best when they are in good health enjoy no emotional disturbance and are not disturbed by the utterances and actions of the invigilator, movements within and around the examination hall, or discrimination in the treatment of testees.  The directives must be articulate as to the demand of the questions, expected mode of response, expected scoring procedure, method of answering questions, duration of test, and condition for imploring penalty on scores where applicable. Management of an examination hall requires that invigilators neither aid nor abet any form of malpractices or disturbance during or at the end of the rest the use of stencil in the marking of objectives questions not only facilitates the making of scripts, it also makes it faster and reliable.

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