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Writing Quizzes, Tests and Exams (Ory & Ryan, 1993)

The tips and advice in the sections below have been extracted and/or adapted from:
Ory, J. C. and K. E. Ryan. (1993).  Tips for Improving Testing and Grading.  Newbury Park, CA: Sage Pubs. Inc.

General Advice on Writing Tests and Exams:

Test directions should include statements about:

  • how much time is available
  • how to record answers
  • whether to show work on problems
  • total points on different items
  • whether there is a penalty for guessing
  • whether texts, class notes or calcultors can be used during the test
  • whether student scan make notes or write comments in the test booklet.

Test assembly - Does your exam or test look professional?

  • Check for misspelled words and misnumbered items or pages
  • Check for typographical errors
  • Is there an item that has been split between 2 pages?
  • Is the exam format consistent throughout the exam?
  • Are there any formatting errors?
  • Is there ample blank space for "constructed response" items (In cases where student must write down their answers, fill in the gaps, make check-marks, etc). 
  • Are directions provided throughout the exam?

consultation contacts

George Michaelsexecutive director2130 Kerr Hall
lisa berrysenior instructional consultant1130 Kerr Hall
mindy colininstructional consultant1130 Kerr Hall
Mary Lou Ramos database and ESCI administrator1130 Kerr Hall
TBD ESCI assistant1124 Kerr Hall


Laurel Shaddixoffice manager 1130 Kerr Hall
faxfax: 805-893-5915