Pencil and Paper Tests

Whether a test is open-book or closed-book, the items (or questions) selected for the test dictate the types of learning that are being assessed.  Each type of item on a test has implications for making scoring and grading useful to assessment.  For example, items that ask students to do open-ended problem-solving would be designed and scored like many problem sets, while an item that asks for an essay response to a question about the ethical issues involved in an engineering decision would be designed and scored like a writing assignment.

Principles for Designing Tests

  • Design "tests and assignments that both teach and test the learning you value most" (Walvoord & Anderson, 1998, p. 17).
  • "Check that...tests and assignments fit your learning goals and are feasible in terms of workload (Walvoord & Anderson, 1998, p. 17).
  • "How to Write Tests"

Making Scoring/Grading Useful for Assessment

  • General principles for making scoring/grading useful for assessment (rubrics)


Walvoord, B. E. & Anderson, V. J. (1998). Effective Grading: A Tool for Learning and Assessment.  San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.