English teachers’ steps in constructing tests in different junior high schools



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ENGLISH TEACHERS’ STEPS IN CONSTRUCTING TESTS IN DIFFERENT JUNIOR HIGH SCHOOLS

Annas Alkhowarizmi



annas1006op@gmail.com

School of Postgraduate Studies

Indonesia University of Education

  

ABSTRACT

A test plays an important role in the teaching and learning process. It is because the teacher can know the progress of the students, can measure an idividual’s ability, knowledge, or performence. If the teacher wants to construct a good test, he/she must consider to the principles of a test, including practicality, reliability, validity, authenticity, and washback. And he must make a test specification.The previous study showed that a great majority of primary English teachers in many parts of the world used ‘paper and pencil test’ as major tools of assessment. and it was found that the two skills that seemed to be tested extensively were reading and writing. Meanwhile, this study tried to investigate how the teacher constructs a test for all skills and how the teacher gives the final score to the students. To collect the data, the researcher interviewed two Junior high school English teachers from different setting. The data from the interview was transcribed, described, and analyzed in finding and discussion section.. The result of this study showed that both teachers made a test based on the standard competence, syllabus and the material that has been learned; both teachers did not pay attention to the principles of a test before constructing a test; the female teacher was almost good in constructing a test , while the male teacher did not have a good preparation in constructing a test; both teachers decided that the final score taken from the result of mid test, final test, daily exam, project, attendance, and attitudes.

Keywords: a test specification, principles of a test, standard competence, syllabus



ABSTRAK

Sebuah tes memerankan peranan penting di dalam proses belajar mengajar karena guru dapat mengetahui kemajuan para muridnya, dapat megukur kemampuan, pengetahuan, dan penampilannya. Jika seorang guru ingin menyusun sebuah tes yang baik, dia harus memperhatikan prinsip-prinsip test yaitu “practicality, reliability, validity, authenticity, and washback”. Dan ia juga harus membuat sebuah kisi-kisi tes tersebut. Penelitian sebelumnya menunjukkan bahwa kebanyakan guru bahasa inggris sekolah dasar di sebagian belahan dunia menggunakan ‘paper and pencil test’ (test yang menggunakan pulpen dan pensil) sebagai alat tes. Dan telah ditemukan bahwa 2 skill yang diteskan secara extensive adalah membaca dan menulis. Oleh karena itu, penelitian sekarang ingin mencoba mengetahui bagaimana guru bahasa inggris SMP menyusun sebuah tes untuk semua skill dan bagaimana guru itu memberikan nilai terakhir kepada para muridnya. Untuk mendapatkan data tersebut, peneliti mewawancarai 2 guru bahasa inggris SMP dari tempat yang berbeda. Data yang didapatkan dari interview itu kita rekam, mendeskripsikan lalu dianalisa pada bagian “finding and discussion” . hasil dari penelitian ini menunjukkan bahwa kedua guru itu membuat sebuah tes berdasarkan kompetensi dasar, sillabus dan materi yang telah diajarkan; kedua guru itu tidak memperhatikan terhadap prinsip-prinsip sebuah tes sebelum menyusun tes; guru perempuan itu hampir bagus dalam menyusun tes sedangkan guru laki-laki itu tidak mempunyai persiapan yang bagus dalam menyusun sebuah tes; kedua guru tersebut memutuskan bahwa nilai akhir itu diambil berdasarkan hasil UTS, UAS, ulangan harian, tugas, kehadiran dan sikapnya.

Kata kunci: kisi-kis tes, prinsip-prinsip tes, kompetensi dasar, sillabus.

Introduction

A test plays an important role in the teaching and learning process (Hills, 1991 in Sky Light Training and Publishing Inc: 1999, McNamara, 2000; Johnson: 2001, Pinter: 2006, Harmer: 2007a, 2007b).The reason why testing is importance for teaching and learning process is the teacher can know the progress of his/her students, can measure an idividual’s ability, knowledge, or performence. By a test, he/she can also see how students are getting on with the lesson, and how well they have understood what they have been taught. For the teacher himself, he wants to know not only how learner is progressing, but also how he is succeeding in his job. (Brown, 2001, 2004; Hughes, 2003; Harmer, 2007a, 2007b; Douglas, 2010; Khan, R.2010) Fulcher (2010) said that a test not only aims to place students into classes, to discover how much they have achieved, but also to diagnose difficulties that individual learners may have and to motivate the students.

If the teacher wants to construct a good test, he/she must consider to the principles of a test, including practicality, reliability, validity, authenticity, and washback. (Brown, 2004; Harmer, 2007b). Brown (2004) explored the principles. Practicality is not excessively expensive, stays within appropriate time constraints, relatively easy to administer, and has a scoring/evaluation procedure that is specific and time-efficient)., reliability (consistent and dependable), validity ( appropriate, meaningful, and useful in terms of the purpose of the assessment), authenticity (as natural as possible, items are contextualized, topics are meaningful for the learner, some thematic organization to items is provided, and tasks represent real-world tasks), and washback (the effect of testing on teaching and learning).

Before constructing a test, a teacher must draw a test specification. Drawing test specification is an integral part of the test construction process. (Bachman, 1990; McNamara, 2000). A test specification provides the official statement about what the test tests and how it tests it. The specifications are the blueprint to be followed by test and item writers, and they are also essential in the establishment of the test’s construct validity. A test specification comes from test syllabus. The developmnet and publication of test specifications and syllbuses is a central and important part of the test construction and evaluation process. They need to have clear statements about who the test is aimed at, what its purpose is, what content is to be covered, what methods are to be used, how many papers or sections there are, how long the test takes, and so on. (Alderson, Clapham, and Wall,1995).


The previous research was conducted by Paulina Rea-Dickins and Shelagh Rixon (1999) in Pinter (2006) showed that a great majority of primary English teachers in many parts of the world used ‘paper and pencil test’ as major tools of assessment. The sample test provided by the respondents revealed that they used a narrow range of grammar and vocabulary tests in single sentence exercise. It was found that the two skills that seemed to be tested extensively were reading and writing. The assessment of listening skill was not mentioned at all. Testing speaking was restricted to reciting rehearsed dialogue. This recent study focuses on how the teacher constructs a test for all skills and how the teacher gives the final score to the students.
Method

This study was conducted in two Junior High Schools, in Kuningan and Riau. For ethical reasons, the name of school was not mentioned. The reason for choosing the place is the teachers in the place is the accessibility of data. The participants in this study are two teachers from different school and city. A male teacher comes from Kuningan and a female teacher comes from Riau. The reason for choosing them as participant is the accessibility of data. To collect the data, the researcher used an interview to the teachers. The researcher interviewed to the teacher about how the teacher constructs a test for all skills, whether the teacher makes a test specification and how the teacher gives the final score to the students. The data was discussed in finding and discussion section.


Finding and Discussion

How the teachers construct tests for all skills.

To collect the information about how the teachers construct tests for all skills, the researcher interviewed to the two Junior high school English teachers coming from Kuningan and Riau. Firstly, the researcher discusses the information from the first teacher. This teacher comes from Riau, female, and married. She did not explain steps by steps how she constructs test, specifically he did not pay attention to the principles of test before constructing tests. If the teacher wants to construct a good test, he/she must consider to the principles of a test, including practicality, reliability, validity, authenticity, and washback. (Brown, 2004; Harmer, 2007b). She directly said that she made tests based on the standard competence learned, indicator, and the collection of valid quiz.



R : bagaimana ibu membuat test, baik itu uts atau uas?

T1 : untuk membuat test uts, saya buat berdasarkan SK/KD yang sudah dipelajari dan tujuan pembelajarannya atau indikator. soal UAS saya ambil dari kumpulan soal quiz yang sudah valid namun dirubah sedikit2.


R: how do you construct test, mid test or final test?

T1 : to construct mid test, I made it based on the standard competence that has been learned, the aim of learning or indicator. For final tests question, I took it from the collection of valid quiz but it is modified.

She does not draw a test specification for daily examination and midtest but it is still based on the standard competence and indicator. While for the final test, she draws it. Alderson, Clapham, and Wall (1995) stated that before constructing a test, a teacher must draw a test specification. A test specification leads teachers to have clear statements about who the test is aimed at, what its purpose is, what content is to be covered, what methods are to be used, how many papers or sections there are, how long the test takes, and so on.
R : sebelum ibu membuat soal, apa ibu membuat kisi-kisi soal tersebut?

T1 : kalau soal ulangan harian biasanya engga tapi tetap merujuk ke SK/KD dan indikator.. kalau soal ujian semester iya.

R : berarti untuk soal uts mah tidak dibuat kisi-kisi soal?

T1: kisi kisis secara formal dalam kertas gitu engga.
R: before constructing tests, do you draw a test specification?

T1: if for daily examination, I don’t make it, but it still refers to the standard competence and indicator. If for final examination, I make it,

R; so, for mid test, the test specification is not made?

T1: the test specification in formal format on the paper, I don’t make it.
In mid test, the type of test is multiple choice because it is easier in correcting, easy to make final test question (final test question is made based on the midtest question), make them habitual to the multiple choice format because national examination uses multiple choice format. In this format, it focuses on reading competence. For listening, speaking, and writing competence, the test is made in the process of teaching and learning. In listening test, the test consists on completion, short answer, MC, matching, and true false. And in speaking and writing test, the test uses the rubric.
R : dalam soal uts, bentuk soal yang ibu buat seperti apa?

T1 : multiple choice

R : kalau boleh tahu kenapa ibu hanya membuat bentuk soalnya MC?



T1 : ngajar 24 jam lumayan juga kalau memeriksa yang open ended atau short answer

dan juga biar gampang bikin soal UAS kan diambil dari situ juga

T1: juga membiasakan anak dengan format UN, format UN kan MC . bentuk MC bisa untuk soal yang mengetes reading dan listening competnce. tapi untuk productive skills seperti speaking dan writing ya beda lagi

T1 : kalau UTS itu biasa nya saya fokus ke reading saja karena yang mengawas guru lain. kalau untuk listening, speaking dan writing saya ambil selama process belajar, ga da test khususnya. formative assesment lah

R : untuk penilaian listening, speaking dan writing bagaimana bu?



T1 : listening lebih bervariasi, ada completion, short answer, MC, matching, true false. speaking dan writing penilaiannya pakai rubrik

R : kalau soal buat UAS, bentuk soalnya seperti apa bu?



T1 : MC
R: in mid test, what type of test that you make?

T1: Multiple choice

R: why do you use only MC?

T1: teaching 24 hours in a week is difficult to check open ended or short answer question, easier to make final test question (final test question is made based on the midtest question).



T1: And also make them habitual to the multiple choice format because national examination uses multiple choice format. Multiple choice format can measure reading and listening competence, but for speaking and writing competence are different.

T1: mid test focuses on reading because the person who controls is other teacher. If for listening, speaking, and writing, I take it when the process of teaching and learning is running. There is no special test. Like formative assessment.

R: for listening, speaking, and writing assessment, how do you decide?

T1: listening is varieties, there are completion, short answer, MC, matching, true false. speaking and writing use rubric.

R: if for final test, what type of test?

T1: Multiple choice.


The second teacher comes from Kuningan, male, and unmarried. He did not explain steps by steps how he constructs test, specifically he did not pay attention to the principles of test before constructing tests. If the teacher wants to construct a good test, he/she must consider to the principles of a test, including practicality, reliability, validity, authenticity, and washback. (Brown, 2004; Harmer, 2007b). He directly said that he made tests based on the standard competence, syllabus and the material that has been learned.

R ; Bagaimana bapak membuat test?

T2: saya membuat tes berdasarkan SKL, silabus,dan materi yang diajarkan

R: how do you construct tests?

T2: I make tests based on the standard competence, syllabus, and the material that has been learned.

He does not understand what a test specification is. He thinks that it is used for students to inform them what material that must be learned, what material that must be more focused. When the researcher explained what the meaning of a test specification, he said that he did not make it. Alderson, Clapham, and Wall (1995) stated that before constructing a test, a teacher must draw a test specification. A test specification leads teachers to have clear statements about who the test is aimed at, what its purpose is, what content is to be covered, what methods are to be used, how many papers or sections there are, how long the test takes, and so on.

R: apa bapak membuat kisi-kisi dulu sebelum membuat tes?

T2: kalau dirasa penting, maka perlu dibuat kisi-kisi. Untuk membantu siswa memahami sampai mana belajarnya . mereka bisa belajar tidak melampaui belajarnya, memfokuskan pembelajaranya mereka sampe mana. Jadi tidak melampaui dari apa yang diajarkan oleh guru. Siswa juga gampang belajarnya sampe mana gitu.

R: maksud saya, kisi-kisi dalam menyusun soal.

T2: Saya tidak membuatnya.


R: do you make a test specification before constructing tests?

T2: if it is important, it will be made. It is used to help the students to understand the material that has been learned. They do not study the material that has not been learned, focus on the material learned. The students are easy to learn the material.

R: I mean, it is for counstructing test.

T2: i don’t make it.


For the type of questions is depend on them, it can be from the example of national examination, comparing with other school by browsing in internet, from some books or student worksheet, but still based on the standard competence or syllabus, the teacher just develop them.
T2: Untuk model soal, itu tergantung kita, bisa berdasarkan contoh-contoh soal UN, atau membandingkan antara sekolah disini dg sekolah yang lain dengan bantuan internet, bisa dari buku atw LKS yang bisa kita rangkum atau ramu, tapi tetep itu semua rujukannya kepada SKL ataupun syalabus yang kita miliki dari pemerintah. Kita tinggal mengembangkan saja.
T2: for the For the type of questions is depend on us, it can be from the example of national examination, comparing with other school by searching in internet, from some books or student worksheet that can be summarized, but still based on the standard competence or syllabus from the government, we just develop them.
In midtest, the type of test is multiple choice which is similar with national examination format and it focuses on reading and writing. The reason for choosing multiple choice is because it is easier in correcting, more effective and efficiency. The teacher uses scanning in correcting. For listening and speaking competence, the test is conducted in the process of teaching and learning.

In final test, the type of test is multiple choice and essay. In essay. The teacher uses writing format, the students are asked to translate a paragraph, describe someone or something, using correct tenses in a sentence, etc.


T2: karena soal UTS itu hampir sama dengan soal UN dimana disana tidak ada materi speaking dan listening, hanya reading dan writing. Untuk soal listening dan speaking itu ketika proses belajar mengajar aja. Bentuk soal UTS hanya berbentuk multiple choice, sedangkan ketika UAS bentuknya multiple choice dan essay. Karena Efektifitas waktu dan efesiensi tenaga ketika menggunakan multiple choice. Disini kita menggunakan scan komputer jadi kita lebih mudah dalam mengoreksi.

R: bentuk soal essay seperti apa?

T2: bentuknya writing. Translate suatu paragraph atau eksplorasi paragraph atau mau belajar otak atik kata. Menggunakan past, present,(describing someone atau something).
T2: because the final test question is almost similar with the national examination question, which is without speaking and listening material, only focuses on reading and writing. For listening and speaking competence, the test is conducted in the process of teaching and learning. The type of mid test is only multiple choice, while in final test, it uses multiple choice and essay because of the effeciency of time and power. Here, we use computer scanning to make easier in correcting.

R: what kind of essay?

T2: writing format. Translating a paragraph, paragraph exploration, arranging words,using tenses (past, present, etc) or describing someone or something.
How the teachers give the final score to the students
The female teacher follows to the law of school in giving the final score to the students which decides that the final score consists on 70 % from the process value (daily examination, mid test, project) and 30 % from final test result. But she modifies by adding the score which comes from the attendance, the activity the effort, and the achievement in the school.
R : bagaimana ibu memberikan nilai akhir kepada para siswa?

T1: kalau ketentuan sekolah 70 % nilai proses (nilai ulangan, mid test, tugas,/projek) dan 30% nilai UAS tapi saya memodifnya sedikit. saya mempertimbangkan juga kehadiran siswa dan keaktifannya di kelas sebagai nilai tambah juga kalau dia mewakili sekolah untuk lomba bhs inggris juga bagaimana usahanya.
R: how do you give the final score to the students?

T1: if the role from school stated that 70 % from the process value (daily examination, mid test, project) and 30 % from final test result but I modify it. I consider to the students attendance, the activity in the classroom as additional score, if he represents the school in every English competition and also the effort.

The male teacher decides that the final score is taken from the whole result (mid test, final test, daily examination, project, and students attendance.).

R: bagaimana bapak memberikan nilai akhir kepada para murid?

T2: nilai UTS + UAS+ nilai ulangan harian, nilai tugas, nilai kehadiran.
R: how do you give the final score to the students?

T2: mid test score, final test score, daily examination, project. And the students attendance.


Both of them have almost similar in deciding the requirement in giving the final score to the students.

Conclussion

The result of this study showed that both teachers made a test based on the standard competence, syllabus and the material that has been learned; both teachers did not pay attention to the principles of a test before constructing a test; the female teacher was almost good in constructing a test , while the male teacher did not have a good preparation in constructing a test; both teachers decided that the final score taken from the result of mid test, final test, daily exam, project, attendance, and attitudes.



References

Alderson, J.C., Clapham, C. and Wall, D.(1995): Language test construction and evaluation. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.


Bachman, L.F. (1990). Fundamental considerations in language testing. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Brown, H.D. (2001). Teaching by Principles: An Interactive approach to language pedagogy. New York: Pearson Education.
Brown, H.D. (2004). Language assessment and principle classroom practice: New York: Longman.
Douglas, D. (2010). Understanding language testing. London: Hodder Education.
Fulcher, G. (2010). Practical language testing. London: Hodder Education.
Harmer, J. (2007a). The Practice of English language teaching. Malaysia: Pearson Education Limited.
Harmer, J. (2007b). How to Teach English. China: Pearson Education Limited.
Hughes, A. (2003). Testing for language Teachers .Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Johnson, K. (2001). An Introduction to foreign language learning and teaching. London: Longman.

Khan, R. (2010). English Language Assessment in Bangladesh: Developments and Challenges in Moon, Y & Spolsky, B. (Eds). (2010). Language assessment in Asia: local, regional or global?.Seoul: Asia TEFL.

McNamara, T. (2000). Langauge testing. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Pinter, A. (2006). Teaching Young Language Learners. Oxford: Oxford University Press



Sky Light Training and Publishing Inc. (1999).Teacher-Made-Tests.



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