In this Unit, you will learn the various types of the tests and examinations and the appropriate use of each to help achieve the objective of educating a child


Testing And Examination (Evaluation)

This is a process through which value judgment or decision is made from a variety of observation and from the background of the evaluation. The process involves the outline, obtaining and providing useful information which are to be employed in judgment decision alternatives.

Evaluation goes beyond the task of testing or measurement. It involves quantitative descriptions (measurement) and quantitative descriptions plus value judgment. Melurens and Leeman (1984) considered evaluation as “the process of delineating, obtaining and providing useful intimation alternatives. It refers to the agreement between performance and objectives.


It is generally agreed that examinations are not a true test of knowledge. There have been cases where clever pupils have failed and the dull one passed. In the examination room a child may become withdrawn and answer questions badly. Some develop fever in the examination room. Others get very excited. All these make the child unsettled and his work in the examination is thus affected.

The Functions of Examination

1. To find out what the child knows and the subject matter which he has learned imperfectly etc in order to plan future work, or to allocate the child into a class or group.

2. It gives information about the individual children that might have escape observation in a class.

3. To assess the efficiency of the teacher who taught him

4. To provide an incentive whereby the pupils and teachers are stimulated unto working

5. To make pupils work hard since he has something to think about

6. To enable the teacher to check upon the result of his work so that he can see where his methods are bad and improve them. From what his pupils do he can know how best to direct their learning.

Advantages of Examinations

1. It is helpful to the general work of the school.

2. Very frequently the preparation and recall required of the pupils who write the examination will serve as an aid to retention

3. It provides pupils with practice in arranging arguments and facts in the most effective order

4. It gives the pupils ability to Marshall arguments logically and to arrange facts in their most natural sequence, especially in the traditional type of examination questions called the essay type. Such questions have advantages and disadvantages.

Disadvantages of Essay Questions

1. They waste the pupil’s time because not many of them could write essays.

2. Setting the paper is a skilled job. If the test is badly constructed it will not being out originality, organizing ability to interpret information or apply principles but measures out only rote knowledge and details. A well constructed test can bring out these more desirable characteristics.

3. A good deal of reading is required from its candidate.

4. Candidates tend to study or learn in details as they will have to reproduce details.

5. No account is taken of variety of expression. If literary style, variety of expression and hard writing are to be examined, a separate paper should be set for this purpose.

6. The questions of such essay type examination are subjective.

7. These tests are somewhat artificial in their phrasing.

8. In two or three hours it is seldom possible to cover more than a small fraction of the total information taught. This small sample also tends to reduce the reliability.

The Alternative Type of Examination

New type examination – questions are so set that only one word, phrase or sign gives the correct answers. This is very good because the marking is objective and takes little time. The whole syllabus can be covered by a paper containing say, 150 questions in one hour. The pupils spend his time thinking and not writing.

Questions are short and some examiners can score marks by mere guesswork.

True-False Test

A number of statement, some true, some false are given with words

“True or False against each. The student underlines one of the two.

Guidelines for Setting a True or False Test

1. Provide the students with clear directions and an example of a correctly answered item. Instruct him not to guess, if he has no idea of the correct answer. These instructions should appear on the paper.

2. Do not use fewer than 120 items

3. Avoid double negatives

4. Avoid clues to the response e.g. the use of words such as

“always”, “never”, “invariably”.

 Advantages of True-False Test

1. A test of 100-150 items can be completed in less than an hour. Hence, there can be an extensive sampling of the information taught.

2. The test is completely objective and can be quickly scored

even by a person who knows nothing of the subjects, provided that he has the key.

Disadvantages of the True-False Test

1. A considerable amount of time is required for the construction of the test.

2. Although the test may be used to measure ability in reasoning, in practice the items are usually factual in nature. The use of the True-False test is not recommended.

Multiple Choice Questions

Example: In the following question, select the correct option by ticking the letter beside the option you choose:

Which of the following best represents the meaning of Science of Psychology?

1. The brain

2. The mind

3. The soul

4. The intellect

5. Reasoning

Another well known type of the multiple choice is the matching test type. A number of questions and a number of responses are listed in different order, and the questions and responses have to be filled together.

Example: The best conductor of electricity in the list is (1) glass, (2) wood, (3) silver (4) aluminum, (5) Copper. The candidate writes the number of the correct response in the bracket.

Advantages of the Multiple Choice Test

(a) It is highly objective

(b) It can be quickly scored by any one using a key

(c) It can be constructed so as to give extensive sampling

Disadvantages of Multiple Choice Test

1. The construction of the test requires much time

2. The test occupies much space

3. It is better adapted to the measurement of facts than to the measure of the ability to reason.

3.6 The Completion Test

A sample item:

The ___________________ is a powerful but low grade motivation for learning.

Directions for the construction of a completion test

1. Clear directions should be provided

2. If the test is the only examination used, it should contain a minimum of 100 items

3. The item should be constructed so that a word or a short brief phrase is necessary for each completion

4. The use of “a” or “an” just before the blank should be avoided

5. Many blanks should not appear in each item. In a short item one or two are enough

6. The blanks should be of the same length

Hints on Objective Test

Build up a collection of items in your subject. Write them on filling cards, one on each card.

Do not mingle different types of objective items. Group similar items and divide your examination into parts A, B, C.

Never give fraction marks for an item.

On an examination paper put the easiest items at the beginning and the hardest at the end.

Some teachers use examinations as a method of motivating classroom work. Would you consider this a desirable method of motivation? Why?


The teaching – learning process needs to be regularly evaluated through tests and examinations in order to motivate, determine the efficacy of instructional ability of the teacher and stimulate all concerned to work harder.

Source: School of Education, National Open University of Nigeria



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