Developing Effective Test Questions

Do we all agree that there are different levels or degrees of knowledge that we must gain from a lesson?

Example:  A doctor needs a high degree of knowledge about the workings of our heart whereas, a nurse needs a low to moderate degree of knowledge about the workings of the heart.  These degrees of knowledge required on a subject is called “Levels of Understanding.”  As we gain knowledge/skill, we move from being a novice (beginner) to being competent, to becoming an expert.

As directed by your teacher, (individually, with a partner, in a small group and/ or class), using the chart provided, write potential test questions on the topic(s) covered in today’s lesson.

Prospective Test question chart

Topic / learning objective

(Hint: Each question should be related to the topic / learning objective at the front of the lesson/chapter.)

level of understanding required:

(Hint: The level of understanding may be available in the written learning objective statements available at the front of the lesson/chapter. For further explanation on levels of understanding, please see "WHAT LEVEL OF TEST QUESTION DO YOU WISH TO WRITE?" chart provided.)







test question

(Hint: To determine the KEYWORD to start the test question, use the "WHAT LEVEL OF TEST QUESTION DO YOU WISH TO WRITE?" chart provided.)

what level of test questions do you wish to write?

Does the subject matter being addressed in your test question require you to be proficient, competent or an expert?  The level of understanding required within the lesson will determine your first word (keyword) in writing your test question.  To write appropriate test questions, review the chart below for “Levels of Understanding” and the keywords appropriate for your test question. 

A. Simple Recall of Information - Knowledge Level

Begin test questions with the keyword - Arrange, Define, Label, List, Match, Name, Select, State, Recall

B. Simple Understanding of the Meaning of the Information - Comprehension Level

Begin test questions with the keyword - Classify, Describe, Discuss, Distinguish, Explain, Give, Defend, Identify, Predict, Report, Review, Summarize, Translate

C. Ability to apply information to a new situation - Application Level

Begin test questions with the keyword - Demonstrate, Illustrate, Modify, Show, Sketch, Solve

D. Ability to analyze information to a high degree - Analysis Level

Begin test questions with the keyword - Calculate, Categorize, Diagram, Differentiate, Examine

E. Ability to design a new idea using pieces (components) of the information - Synthesis Level

Begin test questions with the keyword - Arrange, Assemble, Compile, Compose, Construct, Create, Develop, Design, Explain, Organize, Plan, Rearrange, Reconstruct, Revise

F. Ability to judge, criticize and / or defend an idea/product - Evaluation Level

Begin test questions with the keyword - Appraise, Compare, Conclude, Contrast, Criticize, Defend, Interpret, Judge, Justify, Rate

(Adapted from Shank, P. 2013; Anderson, L. 2001)

FUN OPTIONAL GUIDE: (As Directed by Teacher)

As directed by your teacher, (individually, with a partner, in a small group and/ or class), you may be asked to insert your test questions into an online generated Game PowerPoint Template for common games, such as JEOPARDY, CONCENTRATION, PASSWORD, OR WHEEL OF FORTUNE.  Several PowerPoint Templates for these classroom games can be found with simple online searches.  They allow the users to insert their content and receive immediate results.

Learning Connect Updates:  Learning Connect has provided a preview of the upcoming tools to be available in the future.  They are listed below:
PROJECT MANAGEMENT TOOLS – A series of tools ranging from establishing leadership roles and project goals, to creating project action plans and stakeholder presentations.
ENTREPRENEURSHIP TOOLS – A series of tools for students to begin their journey of constructing their own personal Small Business Portfolio, brick by brick, as a pre-requisite to an actual business plan.
CAREER TOOLS – Five Year Time Capsule to establishing career goals is available.  Tools for Job Interviewing and Workplace Success are in the future.
WRITING TEMPLATE TOOLS – A series of current writing templates are available from pre-writing planning, opinion writing to storytelling and technical writing.

All these drafts will be continually modified, eventually published and aligned with Alexa to ensure successful implementation in the classroom.  Any current classroom implementation and feedback from a classroom experience would be appreciated.