historical development of educational measurement dates back to 1950s up to the
present. For instance, the rules for conducting written exams, establishment of
examination board, practical mental tests, identification of factors of
intelligence, use of objective classroom tests, scholastic aptitude tests, the
development of test scoring machine, taxonomy of educational objectives are
some of the reforms up to 1960s (Smith, 2005).
formal curriculum often relies on assessments to understand academic competency
of students, to provide feedback for parents and parents, to help the students
identify their areas of deficiencies and strengths, and ultimately to determine
if the learner is fit for promotion to the next level. Tests are the most
commonly used instruments to check the level of students against explicitly
stated objectives (Borich, 2011). Therefore,
test results can be good indicators of learning progress, helpful to monitor
performance, and guide day-to-day instructional activities (Santrock, 2011).
school context, all assessments should be designed to be of high quality to
measure the intended learning outcomes, provide useful and accurate information
and meet technical and psychometric standards. When assessments are used to
make decisions like promotion or retention, graduation, admissions and the
like, they must meet accepted standards to ensure that they are reliable, valid
and fair to all students who take them (ETS, 2010).
(2005) noted that tests
with good psychometric properties avoid all unnecessary pressures, promote
self-confidence, critical thinking ability and ultimately, enhance learners’
academic competence. Besides, well-constructed test items are good indicators
of students’ learning capacity (Hanson & Dexter, 1997).
A study conducted in University of Porto,
Portugal showed that 55.8% of multiple choice items on clinical anatomy were
flawed. The study indicated that the flaws were mostly related to writing the
stem (19.4%) and preparing the alternatives (Pais, Silva, Guimarães,Pavo, Coelho,
Silva-Pereira, Lourinho, Ferreira, & Severo, 2016).
Knierim, Hays and Ware (2006) found that from 2770 multiple choice items,
about half of the items had violated standard multiple-choice preparation
guidelines. In addition, the authors found that 90 % of the items were prepared
at lower cognitive complexities.
indicated by Borich (2011),
a test must assess specific ability, knowledge or skills of the learners at
varying levels of cognitive complexities. Different measurement and evaluation
textbooks recommend the use of different test items that measure a range of
cognitive outcomes ranging from simple knowledge or comprehension to complex
analysis, evaluation and synthesis ability (Kubiszyn & Borich, 2003; Santrock,
2011; Oermann & Gaberson, 2009; Mehrens & Lehmann, 1991; Osterlind,
In the Ethiopian context, the importance of assessment and
evaluation is highly emphasized in the blue-print of the school improvement program of 2007.
According to this guideline of the MoE (2007) assessment techniques and related activities should help the
improvement of the lesson presentation and students’ achievement results. In
implementation of the techniques, considering age and individual capacity of
students, teacher must use the various types of instruments or assessment
procedures related to their lesson contents. Such instruments include
assignments, projects, observations, interviews, tests, etc.
in Ethiopian context, almost all classroom tests are prepared by individuals
teachers assigned for specific courses. Similarly, high schools teaching grade
nine and grade ten students don’t follow uniform classroom test preparation procedures.
Therefore, psychometric qualities of these tests remain unknown in relation to
preparing the students for national school leaving examinations, which are
uniformly prepared for all schools by ministry of education (MOE).
importance of following principles of test construction is not doubtful.
Therefore, it is important to assess if teachers follow basic principles of
test construction. Ashenafi Tilahun (2014) conducted a study on test development and administration practices
of teachers among Kolfe Keranio Sub City secondary schools. He found that most
teachers lack awareness and skills of test construction.
However, there is no available study conducted in Ethiopian
Somali Region (ESR), to the knowledge of the researchers. In order to fill this
gap, this study, will assess the knowledge and practices of using classroom test construction principles in selected
secondary schools of Jigjiga city council.