Test preparation and test quality assessment: What I wish someone had told me in the beginning

David B. Meredith

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


How does an instructor prepare a test and feel confident that it is fair, balanced and the correct length? That issue worried me as I entered the teaching profession three decades ago. After a decade of writing multiple choice questions for the Professional Engineering exam and two decades of national involvement with the ABET accreditation process, it is time to pass some of the "tricks of the trade" along to the next generation of new faculty members. As a starting point for this discussion, the assumption that course outcomes have been linked to not only Program outcomes but also ABET outcomes will be reviewed. While discussing the selection of an appropriate evaluation method, I will also discuss some of the topics that do NOT lend themselves to timed tests. Suggestions on alternative methods of evaluation for those topics will be offered. This paper will focus on how to prepare good True/False and Multiple Choice questions to test knowledge and skill. It will also present a simplified version of the method psychometricians use to evaluate the quality of these types of exam questions for both difficulty and discrimination. Since many engineering and technology questions involve calculations, a test evaluation method that works for me will be discussed. This method is a good first step to demonstrate course improvement to ABET. Since much of how we teach is driven by ABET criteria and the need for continuous quality improvement, this experience should prove valuable to new faculty who may never have prepared for an ABET visit.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publication119th ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition
PublisherAmerican Society for Engineering Education
ISBN (Print)9780878232413
StatePublished - 2012
Event119th ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition - San Antonio, TX, United States
Duration: Jun 10 2012Jun 13 2012

Publication series

NameASEE Annual Conference and Exposition, Conference Proceedings
ISSN (Electronic)2153-5965


Other119th ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Antonio, TX

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Engineering


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