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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
work805-893-2378
lisa berrysenior instructional consultant1130 Kerr Hall
work805-893-8395
mindy colininstructional consultant1130 Kerr Hall
work805-893-2828
Mary Lou Ramos database and ESCI administrator1130 Kerr Hall
work805-893-3523
Aisha Wedlaw ESCI assistant1124 Kerr Hall
work805-893-4278
Breana Barakoffice manager 1130 Kerr Hall
work805-893-2972
faxfax: 805-893-5915