Kind of Test

KIND OF TEST

Ratna Komala Dewi

Nuke Sari Nastiti

 

A. Based on Purposes

There are many kinds of tests; each test has specific purpose and a particular criterion to be measured. This paper will explain about five kinds of tests based on specific purposes. Those tests are proficiency test, diagnostic test, placement test, achievement test, language aptitude test.

1. Proficiency Test

The purpose of proficiency test is to test global competence in a language. It tests overall ability regardless of any training they previously had in the language. Proficiency tests have traditionally consisted of standardized multiple-choices item on grammar, vocabulary, reading comprehension, and listening comprehension. One of a standardized proficiency test is TOEFL.

2. Diagnostic Test

The purpose is to diagnose specific aspects of a language. These tests offer a checklist of features for the teacher to use in discovering difficulties. Proficiency tests should elicit information on what students need to work in the future; therefore the test will typically offer more detailed subcategorized information on the learner. For example, a writing diagnostic test would first elicit a writing sample of the students. Then, the teacher would identify the organization, content, spelling, grammar, or vocabulary of their writing. Based on that identifying, teacher would know the needs of students that should have special focus.

3. Placement Test

The purpose of placement test is to place a student into a particular level or section of a language curriculum or school. It usually includes a sampling of the material to be covered in the various courses in a curriculum. A student’s performance on the test should indicate the point at which the student will find material neither too easy nor too difficult. Placement tests come in many varieties: assessing comprehension and production, responding through written and oral performance, multiple choice, and gap filling formats. One of the examples of Placement tests is the English as a Second Language Placement Test (ESLPT) at San Francisco State University.

4. Achievement Test

The purpose of achievement tests is to determine whether course objectives have been met with skills acquired by the end of a period of instruction. Achievement tests should be limited to particular material addressed in a curriculum within a particular time frame. Achievement tests belong to summative because they are administered at the end on a unit/term of study. It analyzes the extent to which students have acquired language that have already been taught.

 

 

5. Language Aptitude Test

The purpose of language aptitude test is to predict a person’s success to exposure to the foreign language. According to John Carrol and Stanley Sapon (the authors of MLAT), language aptitude tests does not refer to whether or not an individual can learn a foreign language; but it refers to how well an individual can learn a foreign language in a given amount of time and under given conditions. In other words, this test is done to determine how quickly and easily a learner learn language in language course or language training program. Standardized aptitude tests have been used in the United States:

  1. The Modern Language Aptitude Test (MLAT)
  2. The Pimsleur Language Aptitude Battery (PLAB)

 

B. Based on Response

There are two kinds of tests based on response. They are subjective test and objective test.

1. Subjective Test

Subjective test is a test in which the learners ability or performance are judged by examiners’ opinion and judgment. The example of subjective test is using essay and short answer.

2. Objective Test

Objective test is a test in which learners ability or performance are measured using specific set of answer, means there are only two possible answer, right and wrong. In other word, the score is according to right answers. Type of objective test includes multiple choice tests, true or false test, matching and problem based questions.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Commonly Used Types of Objective Test

Type of test

Advantages

Disadvantages

True or False Many items can be administered in a relatively short time. Moderately easy to write and easily scored.

 

Limited primarily to testing knowledge of information. Easy to guess correctly on many items, even if material has not been mastered.

 

Multiple Choice Can be used to assess a broad range of content in a brief period. Skillfully written items can be measure higher order cognitive skills. Can be scored quickly. Difficult and time consuming to write good items. Possible to assess higher order cognitive skills, but most items assess only knowledge. Some correct answers can be guesses.

 

Matching Items can be written quickly. A broad range of content can be assessed. Scoring can be done efficiently.

 

Higher order cognitive skills difficult to assess.

 

Advantages and Disadvantages of Commonly Used Types of Subjective Test

Type of test

Advantages

Disadvantages

Short Answer Many can be administered in a brief amount of time. Relatively efficient to score. Moderately easy to write items.

 

Difficult to identify defensible criteria for correct answers. Limited to questions that can be answered or completed in a few words.

 

Essay Can be used to measure higher order cognitive skills. Easy to write questions. Difficult for respondent to get correct answer by guessing.

 

Time consuming to administer and score. Difficult to identify reliable criteria for scoring. Only a limited range of content can be sampled during any one testing period.

 

 

C. Based on Orientation and The Way to Test

Language testing is divided into two types based on the orientation. They are language competence test and performance language test. Language competence test is a test that involves components of language such as vocabullary, grammar, and pronounciation while performance test is a test that involve the basic skills in English that are writing, speaking, listening and reading. Moreover language testing is also divided into two types based on the way to test. They are direct testing and indirect testing. Direct testing is a test that the process to elicit students competences uses basic skill, like speaking, writing, listening, or reading while indirect languange testing is a test that the process to elicit students competences does not use basic skills.

From the explanation above, language testing can be divided into four types based on orientation and the way to test. They are direct competence test, indirect competence test, direct performance test, and indirect performance test.

  Direct Indirect
Competence/ system I II
Performance III IV

1.  Direct Competence Tests

The direct competence test is a test that focus on to measure the students knowledge about language component, like grammar or vocabulary, which the elicitation uses one of the basic skills, speaking, listening, reading, or writing. For the example, a teacher want to know about students grammar knowledge. The teacher ask the students to write a letter to elicit students knowledge in grammar.

 

 

2. Indirect Competence Test

The indirect competence test is a test that focus on to measure the students knowledge about language component, like grammar or vocabulary, which the elicitation does not use one of the basic skills, speaking, listening, reading, or writing. The elicitation in this test uses other ways, such as multiple choice. For example, the teacher want to know about students grammar knowledge. The teacher gives a multiple choice test for the students to measure students knowledge in grammar.

3. Direct Performance Test

Direct performance test is a test that focus on to measure the students skill in reading, writing, speaking, and listening that the elicitation is through direct communication. For example, the teacher want to know the students skill in writing, the teacher ask the students to write a letter, or to write a short story.

4. Indirect Performance Test

Indirect performance test is a test that focus on  measure the students skill in reading, writing, speaking, and listening that the elicitation does not use the basic skill. For example, the teacher want to measure the sutedents skill in listening. The teacher gives some picture and asks the students to arrange the students the pictures into correct order based on the story that they listen to.

 

D. Based on Score Interpretation

            There are two kinds of tests based on score interpretation. They are norm-referenced test and criterion-referenced test.

1. Norm-Referenced Test

Norm-referenced tests are designed to highlight achievement differences between and among students to produce a dependable rank order of students across a continuum of achievement from high achievers to low achievers (Stiggins, 1994). School systems might want to classify students in this way so that they can be properly placed in remedial or gifted programs. The content of norm-referenced tests is selected according to how well it ranks students from high achievers to low. In other words, the content selected in norm-referenced tests is chosen by how well it descriminates among students. A student’s performance on an norm referenced test is interpreted in relation to the performance of a large group of similar students who took the test when it was first normed. For example, if a student receives a percentile rank score on the total test of 34, this means that he or she performed as well or better than 34% of the students in the norm group. This type of information can useful for deciding whether or not students need remedial assistance or is a candidate for a gifted program. However, the score gives little information about what the student actually knows or can do.

2.    Criterion-Referenced Test

Criterion-referenced tests determine what test takers can do and what they know, not how they compare to others (Anastasi, 1988). Criterion-referenced tests report how well students are doing relative to a pre-determined performance level on a specified set of educational goals or outcomes included in the school, district, or state curriculum. Educators may choose to use a criterian-referenced test when they wish to see how well students have learned the knowledge and skills which they are expected to have mastered. This information may be used as one piece of information to determine how well the student is learning the desired curriculum and how well the school is teaching that curriculum. The content of a criterion-referenced test is determined by how well it matches the learning outcomes deemed most important. In other words, the content selected for the criterion-standard tets is selected on the basis of its significance in the curriculum. Criterion-referenced tests give detailed information about how well a student has performed on each of the educational goals or outcomes included on that test.

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