The Basics of Building a Test


Assessments should never be given as an end unto itself, but as a means of informing instruction. Consider the following principles when creating your tests:

1.) Determine the instructional decisions you will be needing to make. (What is the purpose of the test?)

2.) Identify the interpretations being made from the test that will help make those instructional decisions.

3.) Build a test that will result in valid interpretations of what students know and are able to do.



First look at the curricular aims that you are going after with the students, then develop a test (using either selected-response or constructed-response items, or both), that will allow you and your team to arrive at valid inferences concerning student knowledge and skill.

In terms of item-type, click the links below to take a focused look at each of the two major types:

1.) Selected-Response (focusing on multiple-choice)

2.) Constructed-Response


Resources Worth Investigating

Linn, R. L., & Gronlund, N. E. (2000), Measurement and assessment in teaching (8th ed.).
Upper Saddle River, NJ: Merrill.


Click here to go back to the Classroom Testing and Analysis section.