The purpose of this assignment is to describe the detailed development and application of the Table of Specifications for subject’s assessment. In this report, “Science” is chosen as the subject of evaluation since I was teaching this subject in school. Hence, short answer questions or structural questions are appointed rather than short essay questions for the subject’s evaluation as it is more practical in questioning Science which are often composed of a brief prompt that demands students provide a written answer that varies in length from one or two words to a few sentences. As we all know, “Science” evaluation typically used to test basic knowledge of key facts and terms, also used to display their overall understanding towards a topic, organize their thoughts and demonstrate their ability to think critically.
Utility of Assessment
The essence of teaching process is that educator affect specific interventions at specific moments to help learners in learning specific things after paying attention to the needs, experiences, and feelings of learners. Before teachers started creating lesson material for students, they must set goals, later than evaluate their instruction at the end of instruction. For that, assessment is important in the determination of whether the goals of education are being met. The results of the assessment will directly or indirectly influence decisions in different areas: achievement, progress, teaching needs and course outline. However, in the teaching process, teachers often face a series of doubts and problems, including what is the purpose of teaching, what areas should be covered, what resources are needed, how to structure courses, management courses and evaluate studies (Smith, M., 2018).
The effectiveness of teacher assessment remains controversial in the educational assessment process. In 1999, Brookharl mentioned that students often complained that their exams are completely or partially unrelated to what they have experienced or studied in the classroom activities because there is a real and perceived mismatch between the materials with the content examined at the end of the chapter or unit test (p. 2). Chan in 2006 also emphasized the issue discussed above is due to lack of attention by classroom teachers while designing or developing a valid and reliable assessment. Studies have manifested that there are two main reasons for affecting the problem mentioned above, which included an assessment that performed without a systematic approach and weak working knowledge of teachers on how to administer classroom assessments and how to analyse the information obtained from each assessment (as cited in Derrel, L. T., 2015).
Study conducted by Lei, Musah, Al-Hudawi, Tahir, and Kamil (2015) in three Chinese Primary Schools in Johor showed that although the teacher’s assessment of the students was effective in terms of content, yet, the study also proved that most teachers have less understanding of the specifications table and most of them declared that they have never participated in the curriculum regarding Table of Specifications, forasmuch they cannot establish a comprehensive specification table for the subjects they teach. This lack of reference to the specification table when constructing the evaluation tool indicates that teachers are lacking basic knowledge in designing the standard specification table, at the same time they also demonstrated lack awareness towards the importance of the table of specifications (p. 196-197). For as much, Alade and Omoruyi (2014) also argued that lacking coherence in curriculum evaluation neither provide strong evidence in exploring the broadness and depth comprehension of students’ knowledge nor allowing the teacher to make effective judgments about the student’s learning progress (p.1).
Table of Specifications (TOS)
Owing to the uncertainty of reliability and validity of the academic assessment issue, table of specification (TOS) is introduced as a strategy to alleviate the problem. A table of specification is serve as the scientific expression that specified by teachers to formulate test items. As a matter of fact, table of specification act as mirror mode on instructional process about content and intellectual procedure only because it is capable in revealed student’s aptitude towards what has been taught in the teaching and learning process. Table of specification can help the teacher match the number of hours spent on each goal with the level of instruction for each goal, helping the instructor determine the type of project they need to include in the test (Alade & Omoruyi, 2014, p.).
A table of specifications specified what items that the teacher must construct, it performed in the two-dimensional matrix, providing one dimension dedicated to content and another is dedicated to the learning process. In other words, cells in the matrix can specify a test item in accordance with particular content at a particular level of intellectual reasoning. The validity of content-process indicates that the level of intellectual reasoning used in the instruction tasks will find its way into the testing mode (Pascale, P. J., n.d., p. 6). Besides, table of specification also created in a manner so that it allows teachers to test students through fair distribution of difficult and easier questions and can be reviewed and revised effortlessly at time of need or when required (Ahmed, Nisa & Zarif, 2013, p. 354). Generally, the specification table is designed to construct and contrast questions specifically according to each layer of Bloom classification, hence it comprises of a variety of rows and columns, depending upon the topic and its difficulty level. Assessment can cover the nature of various questions, such as multiple-choice questions, true and false, short structural questions, essays; and subjects (Ahmed, A., Nisa, A. AND Zarif, T., 2013).
AERA, APA & NCME review in 1999 mentioned that for an effective classroom assessment, the emphasis is not on the test content itself, but on the inferences from the information or evidence gathered from the test results. When the teacher has a suspicion that the grades assigned to the students are accurate, they can support the teacher’s judgment of the students by reference to the evidence approved by the researcher or theorist in the educational measurement (as cited in Fives ; Barners, 2013, p. 2). Ughamadu review in 2006 professed that TOS act as a test blueprint that enables teachers to derive representative samples of teaching objectives and topics processed in the classroom. Therefore, once instructional objectives and the subject learning outcomes are clearly identified, a teacher then can prepare to relate both by constructed a specification table and at the same time decide the number of test items or questions be written depending on the emphasis given for each scope of the study and each level of the objective (as cited in Alade ; Omoruyi, 2014, p. 2).
Integrated curriculum specifications that compile by Ministry of Education solely is not sufficient to define a soundly and reliable assessment program in a school or institution, nor even the common core standard assessment such as PT3 or SPM hardly demonstrated secondary level students’ performance. Hence, it is disclosed that well-defined test specifications are necessary adapted to provide guidance to educators regarding what skills or knowledge that students should grasp and be able to do at various critical points in their education. When a national policy describes what should be taught, table of specifications must be developed in order to ultimately describe how to measure the student’s performance against these curriculum standards, thereby providing a reasonable level of assurance that the student’s assessment meets academic performance and curriculum standards (Borelli, Rozunick, Way & Weisman, 2010).