Objective-Based Tests: Better and Faster!

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Darryl L. Sink and Associates, Inc. (DSA) helps organizations design and develop learning and performance solutions that get results. DSA works cooperatively with organizations to:

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Objective-based testing (or criterion-referenced testing) is the phrase used to describe the process of finding ways to assess which learners have accomplished which learning objectives for a given instructional program. Objective-based testing works both for those learning objectives that are primarily cognitive-based as well as those that are performance-based.

Many programs have both cognitive objectives as well as performance objectives. Most cognitive objectives can be assessed with standard types of questions such as multiple choice, fill in the blank, etc. Most performance-oriented objectives are measured using checklists.

Below are three tips that should help you develop effective objective-based tests.

  1. The key concept to bear in mind is that the action or behavior called for in the objective is the same action or behavior that the objective-based assessment must measure. In simpler language, the test items or performance checklist must match the action, condition and criteria specified in the learning objectives.
  2. Develop the objective-based test along with the learning objectives rather than waiting until you have developed the training. Often, as we think of the testing situation, it is necessary to loop back to the learning objectives and to change them to create a direct match. In other words, creating the test helps to crystallize the learning objectives.
  3. Whether you will provide formal testing in your program or not, creating the objective-based test will provide you with two important things: review questions to use during the instruction, and a means to validate the training against the objectives when going through initial tryouts of your program.

Are you feeling the need for a refresher on testing? Take a glance at DSA’s The Criterion Referenced Testing Workshop.

See you next time,