When it comes to methods of assessing student knowledge, in the learning environment, these methods are usually tests. Some of these tests are more valid and reliable than others, which are the characteristics used to measure the quality of tests. According to Mometrix Academy (2013), testing validity is the effectiveness of the test, that is, the extent to which a test is good for assessing certain knowledge. In its turn, reliability is the extent to which the score on the text will be indicative of a student’s knowledge of a particular topic (Mometrix Academy, 2013). It is interesting to note that, in terms of grading, the less reliable the test, the easier it is to grade. It can be demonstrated using the example of five types of tests: multiple choice, true/false, essay, filling in the blanks, and matching.
The most reliable test out of the five types listed above is an essay. As per Laura Sorge (2017), an essay is the way for students to show how well they can express what they have learned. For a teacher, it is a great way to see whether or not students have truly comprehended the material. Less reliable are filling in the blanks and matching: both these types of tests need a student to connect one item to another. While it takes the understanding of the topic, there is still a possibility of simply guessing. Even less reliable are multiple choice questions due to a possibility to guess without knowing anything as well. Finally, the least reliable are true/false questions: Douglas Murray (2010) notes that there is high possibility of random error due to a 50% chance of getting the question correct, which decreases the assessment’s reliability. The more reliable the test is, the harder it is to grade. Essays are undoubtedly the hardest, with filling in the blanks and matching being much easier to evaluate. Multiple choice questions and true/false questions are evidently the easiest to grade.
Douglas Murray. (2010) Creating good assessments: True and false [Video]. YouTube.
Laura Sorge. (2017). Essay tests: How to build them & how to score them [Video]. YouTube.
Mometrix Academy. (2013). Testing validity [Video]. YouTube.