(1) Essay. The essay question requires writing skill from the student. The
points that must be included in the answer (to be correct) should be listed ahead of time
by the instructor. An essay answer can be subjectively graded and interpreted
differently by different graders. For this reason, the essay question is generally not
used below graduate level courses in the Army.
(2) Short answer. The short answer test item can be answered by one or a
few words. Answers are generally not more than one sentence long. In order to use
this type of question, all acceptable answers for each test item must be listed ahead of
time. These items (and the essay items) cannot be computer graded. For a large
group of students, the short answer item is often impractical.
(3) List. The test item asks the student to recall several items. This is often
a good test of learning. However, it is only suitable where a listing is involved. This
item cannot be computer graded.
(4) True-false. The true-false items are statements that are true or not true
(false). If any part of the statement is false, the whole statement is false. This type of
item is fairly easy to write. The students can often finish a 50 or 100 item test in just a
few minutes. With only two alternatives (true or false), the smart test taker has a 50-50
chance of being correct and can often bluff his way through a true-false test by
(5) Multiple-choice. A greater part of the test items in Army courses are
multiple-choice type (such as the items on the examination for this subcourse). These
items can be computer graded (as can the true-false items). The value of these items
depends on the skill used in writing them. There should be distracters (wrong answers)
that are very close to the correct answer, but obviously wrong to someone who knows
the material. See figure 4-5 for examples of all five types of test items.
Students should be informed of the results of a test as soon as possible. In this
way, the test can serve as a learning instrument. If students who failed the objective
test are to be retested, use another test. If you are writing the test yourself, you should
have at least two versions. If the tests are to be reused by other classes, be sure to get
the test papers back from the students after corrections are checked.
Evaluating training is fully as important as preparing and conducting training.
Only by full evaluation can you determine whether your instruction has resulted in the
students becoming skilled in the subject or whether some modification should be made
to your training program.