How to Write Better Tests: Psychometrics Resource Roundup

November 10, 2015 Kristen Hicks

When you were a kid taking those dreaded tests in school, you probably never once stopped to think what went into creating them. Anyone that goes into teaching or academia quickly learns that writing exams (at least good ones) is much harder than it looks. And your work isn’t done once a test is written. In addition to grading tests for student performance, professors must also analyze and understand how successful the test itself was and what they can do to make it better for the next batch of students.

 This is an issue many of ExamSoft’s clients are concerned about and consistently working to improve on. As such, we’ve amassed a number of helpful resources on how to write solid test questions and how to use data to make your psychometrics even stronger.

Upcoming Webinar: Psychometrics 101: Know What Your Assessment Data is Telling You

This week’s webinar on using assessment data for improved item analysis will dig into many of the common questions that faculty members face when analyzing the success of their test questions. Eric Ermie will walk you through what he’s learned about data-driven psychometric analysis in his years working first as a program coordinator for testing and evaluation in higher ed, and more recently working with ExamSoft clients using data to strengthen their exams.

Video: Numbers Everywhere: An Introduction to Item Analysis

For a fairly simple overview of how item analysis works and what the main numbers you’ll encounter mean, this video supplies a good, easy-to-understand introduction. While there’s a lot more to psychometrics than is covered in this video, some of these resources may feel like diving into the deep end when you still need a basic overview. If you’re not already fairly familiar with psychometrics, start here.

Webinar: The Life Behind the Data

Assessment data is only as helpful as how you use it. This short (20-minute) webinar tackles the question of how to use the data you get from ExamSoft after each test to identify how best to help your students and improve your own teaching and tests. It’s a quick view that can help make resources you probably already have access to become more powerful tools for improving student learning outcomes.

Webinar: Measure What You Value and Value What You Measure

This webinar, hosted by Drs. Carriveau and Simmons from the University of Arizona, covers all the most important steps to achieving outcome-based assessment, including writing exams that match your overall goals and using assessment data to measure the success of each question and exam as you go so you can constantly improve.

Blog Post: Using Data to Improve Test Questions

Writing successful exams is much easier if you know your goals and have an organized process in place to meet them. This blog post provides eight tips to help you pull that off so you have an easier time creating quality exams from the get-go and using the available data to make your exams better.

If you’re committed to making your test questions better, these resources should give you plenty to start with! If you want to learn more about how to collect the data that can help you write better tests, then get in touch. We’ll walk you through the kinds of exam data that ExamSoft collects and how different teachers are using it.


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