LA 5.4 Developing Expertise in Item Writing


Learning Outcome Pedagogical Intent Student Position

Understand issues of assessment and accommodation and will use a variety of measurement tools to evaluate English language learners forplacement, proficiency and instruction.

Assessment: 50 pts.

TA: 30

Teachers can develop strong traditional test item writing skills

Students have gained expertise in designing alternative assessments. They now turn their attention to traditional testing issues and principles of improving traditional test items. 


  1. Read about the principles governing technically adequate traditional test items in Barton and Gibbons’ Test Questions: A Self-Instructional Booklet.
  2. As you read, complete the Questions portion of the booklet, which asks you to identify when and if a principle is being violated. Mark your responses in the spaces provided.
  3. Check your answers using the answer key in the booklet
  4. Examine the chart titled Guidelines for Writing Traditional Tests and Test Items
  5. Based on your reading in the Barton and Gibbons booklet. and the Guideline chart just discussed, analyze the quality of the Reform Movements Test sample provided.
  6. Evaluate the instructions and test items for clarity, conciseness, and coherence. Write comments or suggestions directly on the test.