According to research highlighted in The New York Times article, tests can make us smarter because they force learners to recall and use material they’ve covered. And other research highlighted in a Scientific American article shows that tests make learning more effective and can boost learning initiatives.
So, what’s the caveat? Tests must be designed and administered well if they’re to be beneficial and enhance the learning experience. Otherwise, they just stress learners out and don’t end up serving a real purpose.
Below are four of the eight tips for giving a quality test or quiz. They include things you need to do before you administer tests and quizzes if you want them to be effective. Tomorrow’s post will focus on the four remaining things you need to do when compiling your tests and quizzes if you want them to be effective.
1. Cover Testing Material in Various Formats
When you’re creating learning courses or modules with tests and quizzes, keep in mind that there are different types of learners. There are visual learners, auditory learners, kinesthetic learners, and learners who learn best by reading. If you want your tests to reveal quality results that truly represent who is being tested, and you need to know if learning took place and want to decipher what was learned by a diverse crowd of different types of learners, you need to ensure that every learner had a fair opportunity to learn the material in the first place. Otherwise, your test results will be faulty or inaccurate. For example, your kinesthetic learners will always fail or do poorly on your tests if they’re never provided with opportunities to physically practice what they’re learning before taking a test.
2. Suggest Supplemental Resources to Review
At the end of each learning module (whether in-person or online), provide learners with additional materials they can review or refer to later when they’re studying or preparing for tests. You can also include links to pages and websites that have an active community they can interact with online. For instance, if you’re training marketing professionals, you may want to refer them to the American Marketing Association website. You’ll also want to think of resources you can include at the end of tests or quizzes when employees perform poorly so they can receive immediate feedback and resources that will help them improve their next test score.
3. Offer Incentives
If you want to develop a quality test or quiz for your employees, give them a real reason to attain a high score in it. Offer them badges, certifications, or evidence that proves they mastered the subject they took a test on. They will be more likely to study the material and be engaged while taking the test. And you will be able to design a test or quiz that has a specific goal, which will make selecting questions a lot easier.
4. Provide Clear Instructions and Guidelines
Whenever you develop a quiz or test, be sure to clearly state what the purpose of the test is, what exactly it’s testing, and what the test-taker can expect. This will eliminate stress and misunderstandings. Additionally, when administering a test using any form of technology, show test-takers how to navigate buttons and submission options in the testing platform, and give them an opportunity to try it out first.
[Stay tuned … tomorrow’s post will focus on things you need to do when compiling your tests and quizzes.]