We are quite familiar with the various types of items/questions set in civil services examinations. These are long answer, short answer and objective types. These are taken up for brief discussion here. Long Answer Type Tests/Items These types of questions need more time to answer and so carry more marks say between 7 - 10 (depending on the subjects). These assess the examinees' ability to analyze, evaluate, organize and synthesize ideas. Examinees are able to express themselves creatively and originally. But long answer or essay type questions do not cover the whole syllabus in an examination (and hence are not always valid). This all about civil services makes test unreliable due to subjective marking and lack of objectivity. It is also difficult to frame good essay type questions. A good essay type question could be made objective e.g. - Describe any three factors affecting the climate of a place, giving examples. Short Answer these types of items have shorter answers than the longer ones given earlier. They may carry 4 - 6 marks as specified in various subjects or by examination boards. They assess language, creative expression and organizing power of pupil. Unlike essay type questions, they can cover more of the subject matter. Short answer type items should be specified e.g. Name any three factors affecting' the climate of a place. ii) Objective Type Tests/Items Sometimes, objective type items are also called new type or very-very short type ones. Their answers are very short - one word or a sentence. One correct answer usually gets one mark. Such questions are exact, objective, more valid and reliable. These can cover more of the syllabus. But they fail to test the full real knowledge, creative expression and presentation. There is a guess about civil services exam chance in giving answers in these items. Decision on Units of Content and their priority Depending upon the time (half-yearly or yearly), we decide the topics of the syllabus and also fix their priority in terms of marks. More topics are included in the yearly or pre-board type examinations. In quarterly or half year examinations, fewer topics are included. So each topic would be given more marks in comparison to the yearly examination. Sometimes the specifications of marks for topics are given in the syllabus and some topics are put within a section. Identification of Objectives and their Weight-age Normally, School Examination Board examinations are designed to test knowledge, skill, understanding and application objectives. We should consult the guidelines of the examining board or school. If such guidelines do not exist, the teacher may decide them on own by consulting other teachers or seeing the pattern of previous years' examination papers. For example, in a secondary class X examination in social sciences, the allocation for knowledge, understanding, application and skills was 35%, 90%). Deciding Types and Number of Items An analysis of previous year's examination question papers or model test papers of examining bodies may enable us to have an idea about the different types of items (essay, short answer or objectives), their numbers and marks for each type. It is only an estimate and should not be taken rigidly.
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