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To Use or Not to Use: The Necessity of Tests in Education

1Modern methods of education should not only be based on modern scientific achievements, but also to be workable, i.e. in order to improve its performance recent developments of industrial technology must be used.

Such achievement is undoubtedly the production of quite cheap and affordable personal computers, which enable the use of other, equally important, element of modern learning technology – a test as a tool of measuring the level of knowledge and difficulty of tasks, because without such a tool to manage the learning process, especially in the technology version, is quite impossible.

The task of the teacher in modern teaching technologies is not only to held lectures and practical, hands-on labs, but to organize the students workplaces, to create methodical support of educational process and to do systematic monitoring of students’ independent work and the results of made pedagogical work in general. In other words, the task of the teacher is to create conditions for a motivated individual work of students and to consult them on different questions.

The use of tests in education is one of the effective and efficient additions to the methods of students’ knowledge and skills verification. Testing is consistent with the principle of independence in the student’s work and is one of the individualization means in the auditory.

The test system of knowledge control is used at various stages of education and in different ways. All use of tests in education can be divided into two groups: the test system, which teachers can use during their lessons, and test systems, which are used for mass control checks of students. There are two types of tasks, which include six kinds. The diversity of existing tasks may be fit in these six kinds without compromising their quality. Types and kinds of tests are shown in the following scheme:

Tests without given answers have two kinds: essays and completion tests. Their distinguishing feature is that for its completion the student must write one or more words by himself.  This type of tests doesn’t have the option of correct answers:

–  In completion tests the students must answer questions individually, but their options are restricted. Restrictions provide objective evaluation of test results, and the wording response should allow an unambiguous assessment;

–  Essays mean free answers of students on the core of the question. The answers are not restricted. However, the task formulations should ensure that only one answer is correct.

As for tests with given answers they are:

–  Alternative response – true/false options;

–  Multiple choice – many answers are given, the task is choose one correct;

–  Matching type – match definitions to the words, the beginning and end of sentence, etc.; and

–  Sequence recovery – finding of the start and finish of events.

These tests include different options for an answer to the question: of a number of the proposed one or more correct answers are selected, the correct (or incorrect) list items are selected too, etc. It is the tests with the prescribed responses that means the availability of a number of prepared answers to the question. Sometimes the options incorrect answers called distractors.

The advantages of tests with given answers are:

1)      Assignments can be as reliable as there are no factors associated with subjective assessments, which reduce reliability;

2)      The assessment of tasks is completely objectively: there is no difference between estimates of different inspectors;

3)      It does not matter whether the students are able to formulate good answers or not;

4)      Tasks of this type can be easily processed, testing is carried out quickly;

5)      Simple filling algorithm reduces the number of random errors and misprints;

6)      These tests allow covering large areas of knowledge;

7)      Computer processing of answers is possible;

8)      Low probability of guessing the correct answers.

Speaking about advantages of tests in general it is important to point their aim at measuring the degree, identifying the level of learning key concepts, topics, parts of the curriculum, skills and abilities of students, rather than a statement of the availability of a particular set of learned knowledge. During the test each student is performing tasks using the knowledge on all subjects, the study of which is provided with the curriculum. Their humanism should be noted, which means that all students are given equal opportunities (single testing procedure, common evaluation criteria).

The use of tests in education show that the systematic knowledge measurement on a test method in combination with the traditional forms of control will significantly intensify mental activity of students, enhances the culture of logical transformations and written calculations.

Tests as a control system in modern education have been used for a long time. At present there are various tests developed in different subjects, both in electronic form, and produced in the special books. The availability of such systems makes it easier to use tests in the knowledge control system.

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