skip to main content


The Academy of Art University has a discussion of rubrics for Authentic Assessment.

Test Construction

The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga-Teaching Resource Center outlines the advantages and disadvantages of various test questions.

Cheung and Bucat present a good discussion of the construction of multiple-choice item writers as well as more general discussion of how to prepare better tests.

The IDEA paper by William Cashin contains information about strengths and weaknesses of essay tests.


  • Write the test items imply and clearly.
  • If an item represents a particular opinion, identify the author of the opinion.
  • Write clear and unambiguous directions for the test as a whole and for each specific section of the test.
  • Assemble items into a test according to some systematic plan, e.g., similar item-types grouped together.
  • Devise a system to facilitate scoring the test (e.g., a separate answer sheet and an answer key in the same format).


  • Don’t left a statement verbatim from a textbook.
  • Don’t provide clues in one item for answers to other items.
  • Don’t intersperse item-types on the test.
  • Avoid writing interdependent items such that the answer to one item is necessary to respond to the next item.
  • Avoid items dealing with trivia.
  • Avoid trick questions.
  • Avoid ambiguity in items.