A Metaphor to My Journey (Final Journal Entry)

Easier said than done.

Photo-0217I think I have mentioned these several times in my previous posts. You can say it’s my trite expression for the term… but I guess this what sums up my journey for this trimester.

For time and priority reasons, I have decided to just take the course EDS 113. Knowing that it was Teacher Malou is going to be my FIC again, I thought it is going to be a fruitful term again. Some of my classmates last term who already took the subject also gave positive comments about it. These made me very excited and look forward to the second trimester.

I had some expectations in mind. Besides the usual faculty-initiated discussions and journal posts, I was expecting that we will be doing our own tests or quizzes, and scoring guides. I also expected that there will be a lot of modules since there are several kinds of tests… or assessment, as we formally call it. Also, I thought I would feel “toxic” again because of my ever intimidating classmates who are way better than me. (Just kidding. But yes, the intimidation is there… as usual.) But generally, I expected that I am going to learn a lot of new things again, and relate them to what I have learned from the first trimester.

The term started and my expectations are slowly being met. Hey… it is indeed an enjoyable and fun course…

tumblr_lioszpP1pJ1qi8uh8o1_500Until Teacher Malou posted several modules at one time. (NOTE: BTW, I don’t blame you, Teacher Malou. Hehe.) That was the time I felt shaken… and anxious… and again, inferior. My momentum was stopped because the pace just got faster. I felt someone stepped on the gas pedal and blasted full speed ahead.

But more than my inferiority complex and knowing that the course was about assessment and test construction, I know I have the lower hand. It was when I was making my journal entry that the cliché “easier said than done” came into mind.

I chose this as a metaphor to my journey this term because it is indeed easier said than done. I do not have any formal or informal training or experience as a teacher… unlike most of my classmates who are currently teaching. I know that our activities would be relatively easy for them to accomplish. How about me? I have to start from scratch… although it does not mean that I do not know anything. I have to relate newly-acquired information to my previous knowledge and experiences to see the connections and relevance of what I have learned to the path I have chosen to take. I may have fresh ideas in mind but implementing or putting them into action is not as easy as it seems for me as I do not have a class or group of students to apply them to.

This trite statement does not only apply to my online academic struggle but also to my daily struggle in disciplining myself… my struggles in keeping up with the discussions. I tell myself to limit the use of television and social media but end up otherwise. I also tell myself to avoid procrastination but here I am cramming this journal entry and final exam. The list goes on…

Okay, okay… Baka sa tingin niyo, puro negativity lang ang naranasan ko sa course na ito. Of course not! I learned many new things and had those “ah, yun pala yun!” moments. 

GE DIGITAL CAMERAI learned that tests, quizzes and other school requirements are collectively and formally called assessment. Hindi ko alam may pormal na tawag sa mga ganitong bagay. In addition, assessment is classified into two types: traditional and alternative. What most of us experienced answering are types of traditional assessment, like multiple choice and essay tests, to name a few. I also learned that there are several factors to consider in ensuring whether an assessment is valid and/or reliable to produce results necessary for instruction and evaluation. I also learned the different types of scoring performance tests – checklist, rating scale and rubric. Each has its own uses, strengths and weaknesses. 

In addition, I now know that constructing test items should not be done for the sake of having something to ask students. When making them, teachers should create questions at different cognitive levels so that students can showcase what they have learned. In making tests, teachers should not only use one type or format of assessment and use different kinds. 

What I consider to be the best thing that I have learned from EDS 113 is alignment. Alignment is about choosing the appropriate assessment type in assessing and/or evaluating student learning and/or performance. Misaligned assessment causes students to get anxious in your subject if test items do not reflect the content coverage agreed upon, or bored with it if test items only reflect recall of basic concepts, or confused if none of what was mentioned to be studied came out in the test or exam. This explains the “hala, hindi naman lumabas yung sinabi ni M’am na coverage” and “sabi ni Sir, ___ yung test pero ___ naman pala” moments. 

The new things I learned from EDS 113 made me recall my previous experiences in taking different kinds of assessment, how I felt before, during and after taking them, and the importance of taking these tests. It was fun reminiscing especially with my classmates who had similar (or sometimes, worse) experiences with mine. Hehe.

GE DIGITAL CAMERASo many things to learn and understand, so little time. I want to learn and apply all of them…

But it is easier said than done…

However I chose to overcome and accomplish what needs to be done because I know whatever I sowed and invested in this course and certification program, I will reap in the future.

Thank you again to Teacher Malou for another fruitful term, as well as to my classmates who shared their knowledge and ideas to me. You have made my learning experience worth while. I hope to meet you again.

This is Magz, signing off… 🙂 


Strengths and Weaknesses of Traditional Assessment Types


Traditional Assessment




Effective way to measure higher level cognitive objectives
Less time consuming to construct
Has good effect on learning
Presents a more realistic task to students
Less sampling of content
Require longer time to read or score
Difficult to score objectivity and reliability


Versatility in measuring all cognitive levels
Permit a wide sampling of content and objectives
Provide highly reliable test scores
Can be machine-scored accurately and quickly
Reduced guessing factor compared to true or false items
Difficult and time-consuming to construct
Depend on student’s reading skills and instructor’s writing ability
May encourage guessing
Instructors tend to ignore writing higher order thinking questions


Relatively easy to write
Can be answered quickly by students
Provide the widest sampling of content in limited amount of time
Problem of guessing
Ambiguous statements are present which resulted from difficulty of writing statements


Effective way to measure learning; permits one to cover a lot of content in one exercise Difficult to write matching items that require more than  simple recall of factual knowledge

COMPLETION (Fill-in-the-blanks)

Provide wide sampling of content
Minimizes problem of guessing
Only measures simple recall
Time – consuming
Difficult to write so as there is only one answer

Here is a table of comparison of the strengths and weaknesses of each type of traditional assessment, as taken from Ms. Joan Kwako’s paper (which was my basis of a previous blog entry). Although I think much of the content of the paper was taken or adapted or quoted from the reference “Is This A Trick Question?” by Ben Clay (hence I give credit to that reference as well). 🙂

Each type has its own strengths and weaknesses so as teachers and teachers-to-be, we should keep in mind our aims for our students before choosing the appropriate assessment type. Some types may be challenging to construct over the other, but it is indeed the challenge for us… making a test that has different item types so that the students will be able to showcase how deep or to what extent their understanding is of the lesson through different levels of cognitive thinking.


Brief Table of Comparison of Traditional and Alternative Assessments

Here is my summary of Joan Kwako’s “A BRIEF SUMMARY OF TRADITIONAL AND ALTERNATIVE ASSESSMENT IN THE COLLEGE CLASSROOM.” All sentences/phrases were directly quoted from the material, hence, I give full credit to Miss Kwako.


Summative Assessment

Formative Assessment

Seeks to determine what students know at the end of the chapter, unit or series of lectures on a topic. Enhance interconnections, coherence and understanding among skills, concepts and procedures, as well as among knowledge, skills and dispositions
-Evaluate students
-Rank students
-Assign a final grade
-Provide students additional opportunity to learn
-Guide future instruction
-Provide students with feedback to enhance learning
-Evaluate understanding and assign grades
-Ease with which they can be designed and scored
-Degree of objectivity, especially if question has only one correct answer
-Amount of information can be gathered about student understanding
-Require students to provide more than just an answer
-Provide opportunity for insight into student’s understanding
-Results are used to adapt teaching to meet student needs
-Guide instructors to meet goals
-Individual competition – grades, personal standards, attention
-Anxiety can interfere with thinking, compel students to give up
-Time limit imposed on the quizzes restrict the types of questions asked
-Take more time to design and evaluate
-Time required exceeds benefits
-Knowledge required to successfully design alternative assessment
Exposes student understanding and misunderstanding Require students to communicate the interconnections and coherence among concepts and procedures

Basing from this summarized table, it can be concluded that the strength/s of one assessment is the weakness of the other, and vice versa. Also, several aspects were noted that distinguishes one from the other: how much time is devoted by the teacher in the construction of the assessment and by the student in answering it, the knowledge of the teacher in designing an assessment, and how objective these tests are.


My Reflections on Traditional Assessment

Traditional assessment — these are what we are accustomed to answering as they were given to us from the time we started schooling. They come in different forms or types… some we prefer more over the others depending on our experiences taking them.

I do prefer some types of traditional assessment over the other.I usually enjoyed or preferred answering multiple choice, essay and short answer (identification) questions. It is because I always encounter these types of tests. The multiple-choice format is what is being used by nursing schools so that students can get the hang of how the licensure exams would go about. Also, they are able to measure different levels of cognitive skills, not just plain recall of concepts. Whenever I answer identification items, I feel that am able to get a good grasp of the basic concepts. Lastly, the essay, which I am fond of answering because I am able to express  my understanding of the lesson or topic in my own terms. If my teacher or instructor would consider it incorrect, then I would know that there is something I missed or do not understand with the lesson… which eventually would lead me to think why or how is it so… (Metacognition?)

These are also the types that I feel I am able to showcase my knowledge and new learning.

I cannot exactly pinpoint any type of traditional assessment that does not justify how my learning was tested. Instead, what I consider that least justifies testing of my learning are misaligned assessments.I think this does not only apply to me, but for most of us. Teachers prefer certain tests that they deem fit to assess learning of certain lessons for students, however, if learning goals are not kept in mind, then the testing of students cannot be justified by choosing the wrong type of assessment. I have mentioned in my previous posts that it can be frustrating if we have under- or overstudied for a certain quiz or exam… the “wala naman sa sinabi nya yung lumabas sa exam” moments…

As a dedicated teacher-to-be, I can make traditional assessment meaningful by always keeping in mind my learning goals and objectives for the class/my students, by exerting time, effort and resources in designing different assessments aligned with my goals and objectives. Easier said than done, but hey, why I am taking this course anyway? 😉



AS the term is about to end, I am archiving all my answers to faculty-initiated discussions. I am doing it for the purpose of assessing how much I have learned throughout the term and if there are certain concepts that seem vague to me before that have been clarified and now I understand better. Also, I want to reflect on how much I have grown as a distance learner in terms of my habits, thinking, interaction, and the like.

(NOTE: I removed the links to my references since they are on subscript mode. Anything I quoted I give full credit to the authors of the journals and articles. Also, I have pending answers to modules 3 and 9.)

Module 1

Part 1

“Taking credit for anyone else’s work is stealing, and it is unacceptable in all academic situations, whether you do it intentionally or not.”1

Stealing comes in many forms, and plagiarism is one of them.

When we were still younger (and studying), we might have used information from several sources without properly citing or crediting them. We might not feel guilty becuase th concept of plagiarism has not been fully instilled in us, however, these should change. As students taking post graduate studies, it is important to give credit to references or sources especially that courses like PTC entails a lot of research and supplementary reading.

Like what I mentioned in my commitment, regardless of who one is, whether he or shye is a famous author or just an ordinary person, proper acknowledgement and credit should be given to him or her because of the creativity and hard work he or she put into those thoughts and ideas. For sure, most of us, if not all, wouldn’t like to be disregarded for our hard work.

Part 2

Good day! The following are the definitions/descriptions I found in relation to the set of words given. I hope these would enrich our knowledge as we get to know and learn EDS 113.

Set A 

  • Evaluation – a term frequently confused with measurement and testing; it is the ongoing process of gathering information, making judgment about the information and then arriving at decisions.1
  • Measurement – process of developing or obtaining and then using some testing device or rating scale to call it information. 1
  • Testing – defines the conditions and steps involved in administering and scoring tests of various kinds for different purposes. 1
  • Assessment  – involves the use of empirical data on student learning to refine programs and improve learning2; it is also the systematic collection, review and use of information about educational programs undertaken for the purpose of improving student learning and development3
  • Grading – The process of applying standardized measurements of varying levels of achievement in a course; can be assigned in letters, as a range, as a percentage of a total number correct, as a number out of a possible total or as descriptors. 4

Set B

  • Summative assessment – determines degree of mastery or learning of a course and therefore it is given at the end of the course. The result is the final grade; grades in most cases reflect a student’s standing relative to other students in the class. 1
  • typically used to evaluate effectiveness of instructional programs and services at the end of an academic year or at a predetermined time; the goal of this is to make a judgment of student competency after an instructional phase is complete wherein it is used to determine if students have mastered specific competencies and to identify instructional areas that need additional information.5
  • Formative assessment– done during instruction when the primary aim is to improve learning, which may come in the form of pretests used to determine what students already know about the subject matter thus repetition can be avoided and new material can be linked with prior learning. 1
  • Ongoing assessment, reviews and observations in a classroom; teachers use this to improve instructional methods and student feedback throughout the teaching and learning process.5
  • Diagnostic assessment – given at the beginning of the course for ability grouping or identifying learning difficulties. 1
  • Validity – evaluative information, to be useful in forming judgments, must be valid meaning, it must be appropriate1; refers to the extent to which assessment are consistent.6
  • Reliability – concerns the consistency of test results or relatively free from errors1; accuracy of an assessment whether or not it measures what is supposed to be measured.6

Module 2

Cite actual examples of assessments (specific test items or tasks) that are (a) well-aligned and (b)poorly aligned with learning goals/ objectives.

Like in education/teaching, assessment is very important to us nurses. When I was still a student, we have this activity called a “pre-visit” wherein before we have our duty, we visit our prospect patients the day before so that we could assess and interview them. Information obtained from te pre-visit will be used for our nursing care plan, which we will implement during our duty days. This plan will be assessed and evaluated by our clinical instructor. I can say that this activity is well aligned with the learning goals and objectives of nursing because it does not only involve making a plan that must include theoretical basis as rationale but also, it instilled in us that we should always be prepared in taking care of our patients, aiming for the quality care they deserve.

Using your personal experience/s or observation/s, what is the effect of poor alignment on how students learn? Would poorly aligned assessment also affect the way teachers design or decide about the ways they teach?

Poor alignment may come in two forms: asking less or asking more. Either way, if this happens, it defeats one of the purposes on why assessment is being done, which is to measure how much a student has learned. Asking less will promote superficial learning; asking more would exhaust students. Poor alignment does not only affect students but teachers as well. If methods used by techers are poorly aligned, they might get the wrong message on what topics or lessons students are having difficulty with. They might focus on it since that’s what the results of the assessment methods reflect, however, this may not be always the case.

Module 4

AS I read the material given for this module (“The Student Assessment Handbook: New Directions in Traditional and Online Assessment”) I had my “ahh!” and “onga!” moments… Making me able to look back and relate my experiences to what is being asked (see above).

We all had our shares of these kinds of moments, and for every situation is a comment or two. Let me share mine. smile

The handbook mentioned that one of the side effects of assessment is creating stereotypes. I have experienced this in high school as most of the top students (usually the top 10) would be joining inter-school competitions on poster making, journalism, quiz bees and the like. Since they are the TOP students… however, I know some of my classmates/batchmates are capable of joining them too, but since their abilities are overshadowed by the “ranking” and exam results and all, they are ignored.

Another side effect very common to universities and colleges is keeping up with the standards and reputation, which also leads to high stakes competition. I graduated from a university that boasts high passing rates of different courses, particularly of the health related courses. A way for the school/department (from which I came from) “keep” the best students by having a QUOTA. Luckily, I did meet the necessary criteria and was retained. Did the quota helped the school maintain the good reputation it has? Yes, because the students that were retained “delivered” very well, especially during the board exams, and receive good feedback from the institutions they have worked in or currently working for. However, what happens to those who were not retained? It creates an negative impact on them and they may feel inferior, which is not really the case.

The side effects of assessment have its positive and negative impact in each of us. Regardless, it is up to us, future teachers, to use our awareness in improving our methods thus creating a better learning environment for our students.

Module 5

What  “new assumptions” about the nature of the learner, the nature of learning and the types of meaningful learning have emerged in education literature?

From what I understand from the ideas presented in “Why Talk About Different Ways to Grade? The Shift from Traditional Assessment to Alternative Assessment,” these new assumptions are “reconceptualized” ideas, based from the results of different studies done that dealt wth traditional assessment methods, which include the following: 1) redundant utilization of lectures and objective tests as the main means of teaching; 2) proliferation of different kinds (or races) of students, particularly of the minority; and 3) the utilization of the constructivist learning theory.

How do these new assumptions influence the way/s we should assess?  

These new assumptions influence ways we should assess in such a way that traditional methods in the modern world (we live in now) MAY be bent to give way to alternative types of assessment that are considered more modern, collaborative and interactive in approach, which may facilitate a more conducive and secured learning environment.

How do the roles of teachers and students’ under a constructivist assessment paradigm differ from those under traditional assessment practices?

In the traditional viewteachers are seen as the main source of knowledge and information (the “experts”), and students are considered to mere recepients of information (the “novices”). On the other hand, teachers utilizing alternative assessment (particularly the constructivist theory/approach) serves as facilitators or guides to students, who are the main ‘builders’ responsible for their learning.

What challenges/ obstacles face the introduction of new assessment methods into the educational system?

Challenges that might affect the implementation of alternative assessment methods, according to the article, may include “issues on instuctional strategies, formative and summative evaluation, rubrics, and instructor, peer and self-evaluation.”

However, based from my understanding and relating it to the Philippine setting, the obstacles alternative assessment MAY be facing are the following:

  • “Old habits die hard”
  • Constraints – time, finances, etc
  • Lack of training or skills for teachers OR lack of awareness for teachers and students
  • Situation of the community
I say that these are problems because currently, our education system has recently shifted to a K-12 curriculum (from the traditional reformed basic education curriculum), which garnered some negative views. If people always have something to say negatively against change, it would be difficult to introduce these despite the good intentions that come with it.
Another reason is, we assume that teachers know how to teach different skills and knowledge including complex skills, however, this is not always the case because they are restricted and used to the traditional ways. When the time comes that students NEED to use complex skills for their learning, they cannot ‘deliver’ because they were not taught to do so. This problem can also be attributed to teachers’ lack of awareness of the impact of just teaching and assessing using traditonal methods that only encourage lower levels of learning.
Also, utilizing alternative assessments may be time-consuming and resource-depleting, especially in areas that lack funding.

Module 6

Describe how alternative assessments align with the broader vision towards more meaningful, relevant, and globally competitive education.
  • Alternative assessment align with today’s broader vision for education by and through its nature. Reforms in education are geared towards a more sophisticated and well-rounded approaches in teaching and assessing. Alternative assessment is more holistic, collaborative and engaging in nature.

What challenges/ obstacles face the introduction of new assessment methods into the educational system?  How do you propose to hurdle these challenges?

  • Even with good intentions, Alternative assessment will be faced with challenges as it is to be implemented.
  1. Different opinions of the members of the academe, which may pose problems of acceptance and implementation. “While some believe traditional assessment methods are more effective, others think that alternative assessment tools are superior.” (Dikli, 2003)
  2. Alternative assessment is not as convenient and practical as traditional ax.
  3. Alternative assessment requires more from both the student and teacher. These include: time, effort, resources and responsibility.
  • Alternative assessment is relatively new for most teachers. And these would require them to update themselves with the new trends in teaching or to undergo additional/further studies. These would or might be costly for teachers.
  • This is also new for students which would require their time and effort to get used to. AA “require a lot of input and responsibility from the student. Moreover, they demand a great deal of time commitment from the teachers…” (Bailey [1998] in Dikli [2003]).

4. Fear of Change – most common hurdle or challenge of new ideas is the change it can bring, which may “disturbance” in the “status quo.”

Module 7

  • In which type of assessment will you associate rubrics with—criterion- or norm-referenced assessments?  Elaborate. 

Rubrics can be associated with criterion-referenced assessment. We define criterion-referenced assessment as “a test or other type of assessment designed to provide a measure of performance that is interpretable in terms of a clearly defined and delimited domain of learning tasks.1” When rubrics are utilized, the product or process is being compared to a set of criteria.

  • How do rating scales, checklists, and rubrics compare with respect to the type of information they provide?

Checklists are used if teachers want to know if a student has done a specific task or not, or whether a student has included a certain element in an end product. Thi is considered the least complex among the three because all items are of the same weight, does not include variations and only looks for the presence or absence of a certain element (in a product) or step (in a process or performance).

A rating scale is used to assess the quality of a product or performance, wherein degrees of accomplishment are indicated. It is more specific than a checklist but less detailed than a rubric.

Rubrics are the most complex and detailed of all performance assessment tools. Each step or aspect of a product or performance is assessed independently, therefore multiply criteria and levels of accomplishment are present.

Checklist and rating scales are more convenient because they are shorter and relatively easier to construct than rubrics. Rating scales and rubrics have subjectivity tendencies than checklists due to differences in perspective or perception of the assessor or instructor who will be using them, therefore requiring clearly defined parameters to avoid bias.

Checklists, rating scales and rubrics provide information that can be used by teachers in imporiving instruction, clarifying misconceptions and for statistical purposes. These tools may show patterns or trends that show certain strengths and weaknesses of the students in class. From there, the teacher can determine what to do in order to adapt or adjust to the learning needs of the students, as revealed by the results of these tools.

  • Cite ways how you can use rubrics to promote thinking and learning in your own class settings.  In what ways can rubrics be used to intentionally promote learning?

I can promote student learning and thinking through rubrics by utilizing and/or maximizing the benefits it brings in the classroom. Several benefits or advantages of using rubrics include:

  • Clarifies learning goals and objectives.
  • Guides students in making their requirements.
  • Students are able to make informed decisions in relation to their work.
  • Provides students with an opportunity to assess themselves and others as they are aware of the criteria.
  • Assessment is more objective and consistent.

Having metnioned these, when I am already part of the teaching force or academe, I will (and hope to) make sure communicate the rubrics I have made to my students so as to be their guide in making complex requirements. Also, if I am not able to create one yet, I would involve them in making the rubric so that they will be more engaged in the discussion thus producing a collaborative vibe. AS I communicate the rubric and expectations to the class, I have to make sure that the elements or content are well defined and explained, and clarify any misconceptions that they have. This would help them make more informed or better decisions in learning. Being aware of the rubric/s would aid students in assessing their own work, as well as the work of others, enabling them to learn as they go along.

Module 8

1. Which type/s of traditional assessment/ testing are you inclined to choose? Why?

I do not have any formal teaching experience but as much as possible, I would like to be inclined to all types of traditional assessment. But if I have to choose at the moment (because of course, my preferences may change over time depending on the need), I would have to choose to use multiple choice, essay and true or false. I would be inclined to use the multiple choice format because I am accustomed to answering it. Most of my tests in college and the format of the NLE is in multiple choice. Also, it is not only used in recalling concepts, but it can also be used to check students’ application and analysis skills (higher order skills), as long as well-crafted. Second is the essay, because it enables students to express their thoughts and understanding of a lesson or topic. Lastly, the true or false type, which can also be in modified form wherein the students need to decipher whether there is an incorrect term or phrase in the statement and if there is, replace it with the correct one. This type can assess how students discriminate what is true or false depending on how they were able to comprehend the lessons.

2. Is it possible to ensure that the traditional assessment you craft will be good assessment, no less effective than an alternative assessment?

Yes, it is possible. Assessment that is well-crafted, regardless of whether it is traditional or alternative, will turn out to be good assessment hence an effective one.

3. Not all traditional tests are “standard”; hence, how can they be useful?

Yes, not all traditional assessment are considered standard, depending on how they were used, but it does not mean they are not useful. Non-standard traditional assessment can be used to evaluate extent of student knowledge which may be helpful in developing how teachers would approach the class.

4. What are some issues with norm-referenced tests? Are there issues with criterion-referenced tests?

The usual or common issue being dealt with norm-referenced testing/tests is that they are not designed to measure individual knowledge acquisition, standards mastery, content comprehension, academic achievement or intelligence.1

On the other hand, some concerns with criterion-based tests are:

  • They do not tell us all we need to know about achievement, for example, excellence and deficiency in learning which can only be measured normatively.2
  • They are difficult to obtain as they require detailed specification of objectives or out comes in behavioural terms.2
  • They are necessary for only a small fraction of important educational achievements as they are inappropriate for measuring diverse talents, interests, abilities, understandings and appreciations that keep a Society functioning and are possessed in varying degree by all.2

Module 9

1. Here are examples of poorly-crafted test items and how they can be written better.


Poor: Describe the action of diuretics in the kidneys.

-This item is ambiguous because it may be interpreted by the student in two ways: describing the action of diuretics in general OR describing the action of ALL the types of diuretics

Better: What are the 5 types of diuretics? Differentiate one from the other according to their action in the kidneys. OR Differentiate the 5 types of diuretics according to their action in the kidneys.

-The suggested version asks the students to apply and elaborate what s/he had learned, and not just simple recall of the action of diuretics.

Multiple choice

Poor: All but one are the basic principles of bioethics?







G.All of the above

H.None of the above

-There are too many choices, which may cause confusion to the student. Also, there are “all of the above” and “none of the above” options, which should be rarely used.

Better: The following are the basic principles of bioethics EXCEPT?




D .Integrity

-The alternatives were reduced to only four, and “all of the above” and “none of the above” options were removed.


2. The following are outlined steps of creating different test items, as adapted from the reference “Is This A Trick Question?

 Multiple Choice Items

-State the stem as a single direct question (rather than an incomplete stem).

-Remove extraneous or irrelevant details from the stem; include in the stem words that might be repeated in the alternatives.

-Use negatively stated items sparingly, as well as for the alternatives “all of the above” and “none of the above.” If used, emphasize the term.

-Make all alternatives mutually exclusive, of equal length and attractive to both less and more knowledgeable students.

-Use at least four alternatives, listed with capital letters and randomly distributed.

 My own examples:

  1. What should a nurse do before administering medications via nasogastric tube (NGT)?
    1. Crush the enteric-coated pill before mixing with water.
    2. Flush the NGT with 100 ml of water.
    3. Check for the proper placement of the NGT (to decrease risk for aspiration)
    4. Take the patient’s vital signs.
  2. What is the rationale for encouraging leg exercises to a post – op patient?
    1. Promote respiratory function
    2. Maintain functional abilities
    3. Provide diversional activities
    4. Increase venous return (decreases thrombus formation)
  3. What nursing action would promote relief of gas pains postoperatively?
    1. Cough and deep – breathe every two hours
    2. Maintain NPO status for 48 hours
    3. Encourage frequent ambulation (increases peristalsis)
    4. Take vital signs every four hours
  4. What post – operative complication may occur in an obese patient?
    1. Thrombophlebitis
    2. Impaired wound healing (fatty tissues are less vascular, therefore decreased blood flow to wound)
    3. Hemorrhage
    4. Gas pains
  5. Which of the following types of medications, if taken by a patient preoperatively, would increase his/her risk for complications?
    1. Anticoagulants (increased risk for bleeding)
    2. Antacids
    3. Laxatives
    4. Sedatives


Completion or Fill-in-the-blanks

 -Omit only significant terms

-Do not omit too much words, so as the meaning of the statement is not lost

-Avoid obvious clues (like grammatical clues) to the correct answer

-Make sure there is only one response

If possible, put the blank at the end of the statement and not at the beginning.

 My own examples:

  1.  Hand washing is the single most effective way and least expensive method to prevent (nosocomial infections).
  2. Coughing exercises is an effective measure to facilitate (expectoration of secretions).
  3. Deep breathing exercises is an effective means of (expanding the alveoli) and (mobilizing secretions).
  4. A rule of thumb in nasogastric (NGT) feeding is (checking for NGT placement).
  5. Before suctioning a client, (preoxygenate/hyperoxygenate) by using a manual resuscitation bag or asking the client to take several deep breaths.


-Formulate a question that clearly defines what you want the student to do; and that require short answers so more content is covered

-Do not use optional questions

-Write essay items at different learning levels

-Develop a scoring model or guide

-Prepare students for essay exams by showing them examples of answers from previous tests

 My own examples:

  1. Identify the different stages of Sigmund Freud’s Psychoanalytical Development Theory (5pts)
  2. Differentiate repression from suppression (5pts)
  3. Summarize the physiologic changes a woman undergoes after giving birth. (10pts)
  4. Give examples of common complications that occur during pregnancy.(5pts)
  5. Justify that mental retardation does not only occur in children or people with Trisomy 21. (5pts)
  6. Compare and contrast angina pectoris and myocardial infarction.



I found the material “Is This A Trick Question” very informative and helpful for me in making my own examples of traditional assessment. That is why most, if not all, of my outline’s content were taken from the material. With the steps in mind, I tried my luck in creating essay, multiple choice and completion questions.

While doing so, I kept in mind what I want (my) prospect students to do or achieve, as well as what I want from them. My goal or objective is to construct test questions or items at different levels of learning. This would prompt my students to study the lessons more in depth and not rely on memorization of basic concepts. 



Constructing traditional assessment tools… like alternative assessment, it requires time, effort and resources. If well-done, it would be an effective way in assessing what and to what extent students have learned, as well as meeting learning goals. 

Last year, I took a class on test-taking strategies from a well-known review center since I was about to take the NCLEX or the licensure exam for nurses in the United States (sadly, I failed.). Our lecturer taught us how to approach questions as well as how to attack them if we are clueless about the answer. 

Now, I read tips on how to create multiple choice items and… SURPRISE! Most tips I’ve learned during my test-taking strategies class are the tips I’ve learned in creating multiple choice items… (Okay, I’m sounding redundant).

EXAMPLE: We were taught that in some items, if a certain term in the stem is found in one of the options, most likely it is the correct answer. 

TIP: A tip in writing multiple choice items is avoiding reusing a term or word found in the stem in one of the options/answers as it would give the student a hint that it is the correct answer. Tugma, right?

The NCLEX is an exam that involves analysis and application (the higher order skills) of Nursing knowledge, and anything less is unacceptable and would lead to failure. I thought, the strategies taught would help me, at least, in the exam since I may not be able to review some concepts (since the scope of topics are just too many)… but then, as I learn about the tips on creating multiple choice items, I realize that it all boils down to the construction of questions. If the questions are carefully constructed, simple recall won’t only be its purpose. 


Checklists, Rating Scales and Rubrics

Checklists, rating scales and rubrics — sounds familiar but not quite. I know I have encountered them while I was still a regular student however, I do not fully understand what their purpose are until I studied Module 7.

These three are used to evaluate a product or a task/performance. Each one has its own strengths and weaknesses, intended to be used in specific cases.

Upon learning about these tools, it made me recall if my encounters with them did meet their intended uses.

I am very familiar with the checklists and rating scales, more often the checklist, because these are what my college/school (School of Nursing) has been using when evaluating our performances as we demonstrate nursing skills and procedures. With our checklists, there is space for comments on how we can improve our performance if we are given the chance to perform it again or if we are going to do it on an actual patient. 

We are given a copy of the checklists of the skills we are going to perform. Our clinical instructors are going to demonstrate how they are done, as well as explain to us the purpose of doing this particularly to the patient. The checklist would serve as our guide as we watch them demonstrate. If there are certain steps I find vague, I would search for that certain skill on Youtube and use my checklist to guide me as I watch the video/s. 

Meanwhile, rating scales are used if we are about to evaluate our clinical instructors of their performances. 

On the other hand, I haven’t really encountered any type of rubric while I was still a student, however, I have seen or read similar types found in surveys and evaluation for products and services. Are they the same? Are these tools limited to purely academic use? 

As I got to know more about checklists, rating scales and rubrics, I got to understand why teachers use them in certain requirements, especially if these are complicated or effort-exerting ones. I do hope that I am able to apply what I have learned about them and be proficient, so that I can turn this into learning opportunities for my future students and more.