________________ CM . . . . Volume XII Number 19 . . . . May 26, 2006


Smart Tests: Teacher-Made Tests That Help Students Learn.

Catherine Walker & Edgar Schmidt.
Markham, ON: Pembroke, 2006.
144 pp., pbk., $21.95.
ISBN 1-55138-166-4

Subject Headings:
Educational tests and measurements-Design and construction.
Achievement tests-Design and construction.


Review by Christina Pike.

**** /4


The work of instructing, assessing, and judging student learning is complex. Teachers' decisions have profound effects on students, and therefore decisions about how, when, and why to assess student learning must be thoughtful and confident.


Catherine Walker and Edgar Schmidt in Smart Tests: Teacher-Made Tests That Help Students Learn provide a practical guide to creating tests that do the job they are intending to do. With standardized assessments and evaluation practices being looked at carefully and accountability increasing, teachers need to have the skills to develop tests that show a clear picture of what students can and can not do. The book is divided into three parts. Part One: The Need for Smart Tests encompasses Chapter One and Two and discusses what constitutes a Smart Test and the steps to developing Smart Tests. Part Two: The Element of Smart Tests in the next two chapters goes through the nuts and bolts of different ways of organizing information and the types of questions. The third part, Using Smart Tests, highlights the characteristics of good questions and also offers ways to encourage students and parents to become actively involved in their preparation for tests. It emphasizes the importance of planning and also provides tips to taking tests. The last chapter, Reporting and Using Tests Results offers suggestions regarding sharing test marks with the home and also ways of ensuring that students continue to learn from the experience, i.e. by correcting their mistakes before the test goes home.

     In addition to providing a very thorough and careful examination of Smart Tests, Walker and Schmidt have also provided many examples of reproducible worksheets that can be shared with the students and parents as well as be used by the teacher during the testing process. There is also an extensive bibliography that can be assessed for further study. Although this book is written with a Grade 2-6 teaching audience in mind, teachers of all grade levels can gain valuable information form this resource. A “must-have” for any school.

Highly Recommended.

Christina Pike has been seconded to the Department of Education, Newfoundland and Labrador.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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