We now have a Pre/Post Test Development tutorial available on our tutorial page. OIA is happy to assist SCAD programs with redesigning their pre/post tests.
Currently, SCAD programs are required to implement pre/post tests in all the required courses of a BFA major. Because OIA has focused its efforts on updating program goals and outcomes this year, it’s possible that the revisions to the goals and outcomes will encourage updates to the pre/post tests as well.
If you would like to update your pre/post tests, please review our tutorial for an outline of best practices with regard to both writing, designing, and implementing pre/post tests. In the mean time, here is a short summary of pre/post test best practices:
Ideally, pre/post tests……
- should measure essential features of the course content (do not use the pre/post test as an opportunity to measure trivial or specific course information)
- should NOT vary by instructor. Because pre/post tests should measure essential content of a given course, it’s possible to rely on one version of a pre/post test for a course.
- should be designed for efficiency and accuracy. There are strategies for easing the burden of the pre/post test process for faculty, and there are strategies for improving the reliability of the test for measuring student knowledge.
Here are some suggestions for improving efficiency and accuracy:
- Follow a multiple choice format (if appropriate for the content of the course). Because there is only one correct answer to a multiple choice question, grading a multiple choice test takes less time than grading a format that allows for variations on the right answer. In addition, because there is only one correct answer to a multiple choice question, a multiple choice format is reliable for measuring student knowledge (assuming the test question is written well – see multiplechoice_Tutorial_Final for tips on writing multiple choice questions).
- Rely on the pre/post test as a grading opportunity. It is possible for a pre-test to be used for course participation points, and possible for a post-test to be used as a quiz or test opportunity. I have even heard of faculty who write a pre/post test, and then instead of implementing the pre/post test separately from other grading opportunities, they incorporate half of the pre/post test questions into the course midterm and half into the course final. This method is great because it 1) reduces the number of times a student has to take a test in the course, 2) ensures that students will take the pre/post test seriously, and 3) ensures that the midterm and final reflect the essential features of the course.
-Redesign the test for electronic grading. If students take the pre/post tests online or if students complete the tests using scannable answer sheets, faculty will not have to manually grade the tests.
-Pay careful attention to when the pre/post tests are implemented. Students might be more likely to take the pre-test seriously if it is implemented in the second week of the quarter compared to the first. During the first week of the quarter, students are still adding/dropping courses and getting acclimated to the new quarter; thus, it might not be the most reliable time to implement the pre-test. Plus, if you implement the pre-test during the second week of the quarter, you avoid testing students who drop the course after the first week. On the same note, post-tests might be taken more seriously if they are implemented earlier than the tenth week of quarter. Students are less likely to suffer from end-of-quarter-itis during the eighth or ninth week of the quarter.
The above suggestions will hopefully ameliorate concerns faculty have about the quality of their pre/post tests; however, OIA also understands there are concerns about the value of pre/post tests since many programs do not rely on the data to make evidence-based program decisions. To ameliorate this concern, OIA will be happy to supplement a program’s annual assessment of capstone data with an evaluation of pre/post tests at the program-level. Please contact your respective assessment coordinator to discuss this possibility in detail.
Categories : mini-tutorials