Many teachers dislike preparing and grading exams and tests, and most students’ dread taking them. Yet tests are powerful educational tools that serve at least four important functions.
Firstly, tests help evaluate students and assess whether they are learning what they are being expected to learn.
Secondly, well-designed tests serve to motivate and help students structure their academic efforts. Crooks (1988), McKeachie (1986), and Wergin (1988) report that students study in ways that reflect how they think they will be tested. If they expect an exam focused on facts, they will memorize details; if they expect a test that will require problem solving or integrating knowledge, they will work toward understanding and applying information.
Thirdly, tests can help teachers and parents understand how successfully the material is being presented.
Finally, tests can reinforce and continue the learning process by providing students with indicators of what topics or skills they have not yet mastered and should concentrate on, and then by ensuring that when an answer is scored, each answer is qualified with an explanation as to why each answer is correct or incorrect.
Despite these benefits, testing is also emotionally charged and can produce a level of anxiety that certainly influences the outcome of the test.
The type of test that is most effective in motivating, measuring, and reinforcing learning is often the Multiple-Choice Quiz
Multiple-choice quizzes and short-answer questions are appropriate for assessing students' mastery of details and specific knowledge.
The Multiple-choice quiz can be used most effectively to measure both simple knowledge and complex concepts. Since multiple-choice questions can be answered quickly, they can assess a students' mastery of many topics in a short period of time. In addition, the items can be easily and reliably scored.
Most importantly, the correctly structured Multiple-Choice Quiz that offers the greatest academic value will not simply indicate if the student’s answer is right or wrong, it will go further by clearly explaining the reasons why each answer was tight or wrong – thus ensuring the all-important continuation of the learning process.
While Zane Education is being increasingly recognised in academic circles for the comprehensive nature of their fully subtitled educational video library, it is their extensive pool of 23,000 curriculum-based Multiple Choice questions that brings praise from teachers and parents alike. Each of the 260 curriculum-based topics is accompanied by it’s own reusable Multiple-Choice Quiz, and care has been taken in the preparation of those quizzes to ensure that students correct or incorrect answer is provided with a detailed explanation of why each student’s choice was right or wrong.
Zane also provides Lesson Plans for each of the 260 topics and these Lesson Plans also provide further assessment options for the student including essay questions to assess comprehension, the ability to integrate and synthesize, and the ability to apply information to new situations.
Footnote: It is surprising that the majority of providers of online educational video for the K-12 curriculum, seem to focus on simply providing the information to be studied, but do not support that information with online tests or quizzes. And the few that do, fail to understand the need to qualify the answers provided by the student, so as to ensure that each student understands why their answer is correct or incorrect – in which case you fall into the trap of testing simply for the sake of it.