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Achievement Test and Item Analysis

Achievement Test and Item Analysis

Achievement Test

Achievement test is an important tool in school evaluation and has great significance in measuring instructional process and progress of students in the subject area.

Achievement means one’s learning attainments, accomplishments, proficiencies etc. It is directly related to pupil’s growth and development in educational situations. Thus, to evaluate aspects of students, teachers, teaching methods, curriculum, etc. the achievement test is very helpful. Its use is not limited to education but it is used in other fields too.

Accurate achievement data are very important for planning curriculum and instruction and for program evaluation. Achievement test focuses specifically on how much a person knows about a specific topic or area such as Math, English or Science. It is not a measure or the potential to learn or the ability to learn.


According to Gronlund,

“A systematic procedure for determining the amount a student has learned through instructions.”

According to Thorndike and Hagen,

“The type of ability test that describes what a person has learned to do.”

According to R. L. Ebel,

“An achievement test is one designed to measure a student’s grasp of knowledge or his proficiency in certain skills.”

According to F.S. Freeman,

“A test of educational achievement is one assigned to measure knowledge, understanding or skills in a specified subject or a group of subjects.”

Objectives of achievement test

  • To identify and explain reasons for performing tests.
  • To understand testing terminology.
  • To communicate clearly with students and peers.
  • To evaluate a test’s validity, reliability, practicability, etc.
  • To select appropriate test and administer it properly.
  • To give educational guidance by assessing the capabilities of the students.
  • To expose the problematic areas of students and teachers help to overcome them.
  • To motivate the student to pick up a new assignment.
  • To assess how the student is performing in theory as well as practical.

Types of Achievement test

Achievement tests can be of various types based on form, purpose, time, method and subject area but in broad form they are of two types:

  1. Standardized test
  2. Teacher-made test

Standardized Test

Standardized tests are carefully constructed test which have uniformity of procedure in scoring, administering and interpreting the test results.

In the dictionary of education, C. V. Good, expressed his ideas about standardized test as follows:

“Standardized test is that which has been selected and checked empirically, for which uniform methods of administering and scoring have been developed and which we scored with a relatively high degree of objectivity.

  1. Standardization of the content: In this test due weightage is given to the content and objectives. The items with proper difficulty level and discrimination value are written. Reliability and validity coefficients are also calculated.
  2. Standardization of the method of administration: It provides standard methods of administration. It clearly states the time to be allotted, instructions to be given to the students, conditions under which it is to be administered.
  3. Standardization of scoring procedure: The scoring key must contain all the possible answers and must clearly state how the answers are to be scored.
  4. Standardization of interpretation: The test is to be administered over a large sample under standard conditions and adequate norms are to be provided.
  1. Planning the test
  2. Preparing the test
  3. Try-out of the test
  4. Item analysis
  5. Preparation of the final form of the test
  6. Evaluation of the test
  7. Scoring the answers with the standard methods of scoring.

Teacher-made Test

A teacher uses different terms of evaluation techniques in a classroom. It is one of the most valuable instruments in the hands of the teacher to solve this purpose. It is designed to solve the problems or requirements of the class for which it is prepared. It is prepared to measure the outcomes and content of local curriculum. It is very much flexible so that it can be adapted to any procedure and material. It does not require any sophisticated technique for prepared. It is easy to construct teacher made tests are prepared to measure the learning objectives in general so, it is necessary to prepare teacher made tests to suit the local objectives. In teacher made test, the test items, time-limit, instruction and procedure of scoring vary from test to test.

  • To measure pupil’s achievement.
  • To know how far the specific objectives have been fulfilled.
  • To know how far the learning experiences provided have been effective.
  • To diagnose the learning difficulties of the students.
  • To arrange specific remedial measures.
  • To award grades to the students.


  • It must have reliability i.e. the test taker will obtain the same score over repeated testing (other factors must not affect the score).
  • It must have validity i.e. it measures what it is intended to measure. It should produce consistent scores.
  • It is easy in administration i.e. instruction, language must be simple.
  • It should be cost effective and time saving.
  • It must have objectivity i.e. evaluators should not be judgemental.
  • Test items should be precise, clear so that the students can understand and answer well to score.
  • The test should cover the whole content.
  • There must be equilibrium and balance in context to the questions allotted to each of the objectives and teaching content.
  • A good achievement test should be acceptable to students. The questions should neither be too difficult nor too easy.
  • The questions in the test should be based on the objectives.
  • The test should be able to distinguish between intelligent and average students.
  • The achievement test must be such that which can help in achieving the objectives of teaching-learning process.

Importance or Merits

  • It gives impartial information about an individual.
  • Provides guidance to plan for change or modification in teaching strategies, methodologies, techniques, etc.
  • Provides motivation to students to improve their achievement.
  • Evaluates not only the students but also the teacher’s competencies.
  • Helps to decide the stream/course students must pursue.
  • On the basis of achievement test, teachers can guide and provide counseling to the students who need it.
  • It assesses whether the basic knowledge after the completion training or teaching has been acquired or not.

Limitations or Drawbacks

  • It may not be able to assess the actual potential of the student.
  • If not properly constructed, it may give incorrect result.
  • All aspects of evaluation may not be covered.
  • Negative pressures are built up on students, teacher and also on school.
  • Creativity, attitude and interests are not evaluated.
  • Subjectivity may hinder the purpose of the test.
  • Outcome may leave many students demotivated.
  • Teachers are only bothered about the completion of syllabus and assessment of the taught content only.

Types of Objective Type Questions

  • Multiple Choice- For a question, options are given and students have to choose the correct option.
  • Matching types- Two columns are given with equal items. The ‘A’ column is matched with answers from ‘B’ column.
  • True/False- The statements are given and test takers have to mark ‘true’ for correct and ‘False’ for incorrect statements.
  • Very short answers: This includes fill in the blanks, give one word and give phrase or simple statement as answer.

Item Analysis

Item analysis is a statistical technique which is used for selecting and rejecting the items of the test on the basis of their difficulty value and discriminated power.

Item analysis is done for:

  1. Difficulty value (DV)
  2. Discriminative Power (DP)
Difficulty value

The difficulty value of an item is defined as “the proportion or percentage of the examinees who have answered the item correctly”.

DV= ( RH + RL)/ (NH + NL)


RH= rightly answered in highest group

RL= rightly answered in lowest group

NH= no. of examinees in highest group

NL= no. of examinees in lowest group

Discriminative Power

“index of discrimination is that ability of an item on the basis of which the discrimination is made between superiors and inferiors”.

DP= (RH – RL)/ (NH or NL)

Objectives of Item Analysis

  • To select appropriate items for the final draft.
  • To obtain the information about the difficulty value of all the items.
  • To provide discriminatory index to differentiate between capable examinees for the items.
  • To provide satisfaction to be made in some of the items.

Process of Item Analysis

  • Award of score to each student is given.
  • Ranking in order of merit.
  • Identification of groups; high and low.
  • Calculation of the difficulty value of a question.
  • Calculation of the discrimination index of a question.
  • Critical evaluation of each question enabling a given question to be retained, revised or rejected.

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