A reliable test means that it should give the same results for similar groups of students and with different people marking.
• Keep the instruction language simple and give an example.
• Use language that is similar to what you’ve used in class, so as not to confuse students.
• If possible, ask a colleague to do the test before you use it with students.
• For testing productive skills such as writing and speaking, have two markers and use standard written criteria.
To make a valid test, you must be clear about what you are testing.
• Always test what you have taught and can reasonably expect your students to know.
• To test writing with a question where your students don’t have enough background knowledge is unfair. Likewise, testing speaking where they are expected to respond to a reading passage they can’t understand will not be a good test of their speaking skills.
No matter how valid or reliable a test is, it has to be practical to make and to take.
• Tests should be economical to deliver.
• The layout should be easy to follow and understand.