Diagnostic Test is a form of evaluation that allows a teacher to determine students’ individual strength, weakness, knowledge and skills prior to instruction. It is primarily used to diagnose students’ difficulties and to guide lesson and curriculum planning.
Steps of Constructing Diagnostic Test
The development of diagnostic tests involve the following steps-
Step-1. Identifying Learning Difficulties
Classroom tests, assignment etc. are the source for identifying the learning difficulties of students. A detail scanning of answer script of weak student provides clues to the teacher about the domain of their learning difficulties. Here, performance tests also serves the similar purpose to identify certain deficiencies which assignments may fail to provide correct response. Performance test is helpful in identifying students’ language problem like reading, communication, pronunciation, vocabulary and so on.
Step-2. Analysing the Errors
Error analysis helps the teacher to identify the frequency and nature of errors which may occur in more than one area. Here, it is neither desirable nor possible to cover all types of errors in a single test.
Step-3. Analysing the Learning Content
Through error analysis teacher gets an empirical evidence of learning difficulties of the students. Now the teacher has to make a detail analysis of content in respect of which the teacher feel the need to develop a diagnostic test. In the initial stage, the teacher may start with testing the lower level abilities followed by subsequent testing of higher order abilities.
Step-4. Identifying Learning Points to be Covered
Once the analysis of errors have done, the teacher has sufficient material to identify the learning points that can be included in the test.
Step-5. Selection of Format and Item Construction
Before writing the test items, it is necessary to decide about the test formats. Here, both the major format i.e. selection type and supply type have their own advantage. It is difficult to say which one is appropriate to a particular group of students in relation to specific content element to be covered.