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Criteria for Review of Items



GENERAL GUIDELINES

  • Items clearly written and focused
  • Question posed 
  • Lowest possible reading level used 
  • Irrelevant clues eliminated 
  • Scoring key double-checked 
  • Avoid providing clues via grammar, length, or answers from previous questions 
  • Correct answer should not be obvious to those who have not mastered the materials tested 
  • Purpose, audience, achievement target, resources, and feasibility considered 
  • Best assessment method matched with purpose and achievement target
  • Time for assessment is considered
  • Each item addresses a single piece of content 
  • Repetition eliminated from response options 
  • One best or correct answer provided
  • Response options are brief and parallel in length, use of determiners such as "always", grammatical construction and generality 
  • Number of response options offered fits item context 
  • Use reasonable incorrect choices (avoid ridiculous choices)
  • Include only one correct or best answer
  • Avoid complex multiple choice formats 
  • Statement is entirely true or false as presented 
  • Avoid absolute words like "all", "never", and "always"
  • Consider asking students to make false questions true to encourage higher-order thinking
  • Clear directions given
  • List of items to be matched is brief (5 to 15)
  • List consists of homogeneous entries (e.g. don't mix names with dates) 
  • Response options are brief and parallel
  • Extra response options offered
  • One blank is needed to respond
  • Length of blank is not a clue 
  • Avoid passages lifted directly from text (encourages memorization)
  • Put blank toward end 
  • The items to be labeled are clearly identified
  • Avoid long questions or scenarios
  • Ask questions that require critical thinking and problem-solving
  • Ask students for evidence and justification
  • Avoid all encompassing questions (e.g. "discuss") 
  • Define criteria for evaluation 
  • Define point value(s) 
  • Ask questions that require critical thinking and problem solving
  • Require text references or other data to support their response
  • Point direction to appropriate response by scaffolding the questions
  • Provide time for extended responses using the writing process
  • Assess student performance on content standards, outcomes and indicators 
  • A meaningful context is used based on issues/problems, themes, or student interests 
  • Require application of thinking skills/processes 
  • Interrelate its activities to achieve the purpose of the task 
  • Contain activities appropriate for age(s)/grade(s) 
  • Contain accurate and credible information 
  • Elicit responses which reveal levels of performance 
  • Call for products/performances which address a clear purpose and audience 
  • Establish clear criteria related to standards for evaluating student products and performances 
  • Provide opportunities for students to reflect on/self-evaluate their performance 
  • Allow for ease of implementation in the classroom 
  • Provide teachers with useful information for adjusting instruction
  • Allow for student revision based on feedback (optional) 
  • Provide for the purposeful integration of subject areas (optional)
  • Allow for a variety of products/performances (optional)
  • Make sure there is a common language between assessor and student 
  • Make sure that a sufficient level of verbal fluency exists 
  • Establish rapport and recognize the reluctance for students to reveal themselves 
  • Allow sufficient time
  • Keep accurate records by using consistent checklists, questions, prompts, etc. 
  • Questions and items on checklists must be clearly aligned with objectives and outcomes 
  • Limit the number of items on checklists so that the most important outcomes and indicators are assessed 
  • Use binary checklists where appropriate to increase efficiency of use
NOTE: Items are compiled from Student -Centered Classroom Assessment, Richard Stiggins, 1997; A Toolkit for Professional Developers: Alternative Assessment, Regional Educational Laboratory Network Program on Science and Mathematics Alternative Assessment, 1995, Northwest Regional Educational Laboratory; How To Assess Authentic Learning, Kay Burke, 1994, IRI/Skylight Publishing; and the Maryland Assessment Consortium training materials, Jay McTighe, 1998.