Best Practice

What ingredients make for an effective test?

What elements make for an effective and reliable assessment? Test developer Catherine Kirkup outlines the key criteria that primary schools should consider when selecting their approaches to pupil assessment

As a test developer in NFER's Centre for Assessment, I am proud of the tests we develop for schools. As a researcher working to improve the learning and the lives of pupils, my primary concern is that schools choose valid and reliable tests. So what makes a good test? In this article, I will attempt to explain what questions schools should ask when they are considering purchasing any new tests.

The validity of a test is important because teachers draw conclusions about a pupil's attainment or progress based on those test results (alongside other classroom evidence such as homework, etc).

You may think that it goes without saying that a mathematics test will measure mathematical ability but unfortunately not all tests have good validity.

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