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Essay Test Items

Writing Essay Test Items

Example:
How successfully does Andrew Carnegie’s essay ‘Wealth’ resolve the deepening contradictions between the theories and practices of late nineteenth century American industrial society?

  • Prepare essay items that elicit the type of response desired.
  • Clearly explain the task required of the student.
  • Indicate for each question the number of points earned for a correct response.
  • Avoid giving the student too much choice among optional items.
  • Ask questions that will elicit responses for which experts could agree that one answer is better than another. (ie. to avoid student bluffing by transferring a well-written answer to a related but different item)
  • It is generally recommended that classroom exams administer several short-answer questions rather than one or two extended response items.

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