Preparation and planning
- If you are administering the test, you will find it useful to look through the material in advance— especially the details of the directions. As the test will probably be given only once a year, a brief familiarisation session may be helpful for the staff who will be involved.
- Give students the kind of notice that is normally given for regular classroom testing, without indicating that the test will be anything out of the ordinary.
- Where possible, the tests should be administered in the students’ normal classroom, and preferably in the morning. Arrange the seating so that the students are not tempted to copy each other’s answers. Make sure that the room is well ventilated and that the supervising teacher can walk around the classroom without disturbing students.
- Check that there are enough copies of the test booklets and their matching answer sheets at the required levels. Use the printed answer sheets, not photocopies. They have been carefully prepared for either machine or hand marking; the quality of photocopies varies, and may affect the marking process.
- Have a supply of blue or black pens, some scrap paper for working, and a suitable watch or clock.
- Try to minimise disruptions during the test period. A notice saying “Testing in progress. Please do not disturb” can be hung outside the classroom door.
Table 3 can be used to help plan a suitable time allowance for tests. Younger students may not be familiar with the answer sheet system; you may need to allow more time to explain the answer format.
Table 3 Time allowances
Distribution of materials
Filling in name, age, etc.
Explanation of procedure and practice examples
Collection of test materials
Administering the tests
When the students are seated and quiet, ask them to remove all materials from their desks or tables except for a blue or black pen and blank paper for working. Calculators, rulers and protractors are not allowed.
Distribute the test booklets and answer sheets face up. Make sure that each student is given the correct level of the booklet and answer sheet. Ask students not to complete any details on the answer sheets until directed.
When everyone is ready, tell the students to fill in the date and their room number, year level, name, gender, and school in the spaces provided on the answer sheets. Explain how to fill in the spaces for their name, using one space per letter. Similarly, explain how to shade in the circles when selecting options for gender.
Giving directions for the test
Ask the students to open their test booklets and to look at the directions on the first page while you read them aloud. The instructions for completing each test are similar at all levels, but the sample questions are different for the primary, intermediate and secondary levels.
Read out the directions on the first page of the test to the class, slowly and clearly. Pause between paragraphs and accent important aspects. When the students complete the sample questions, check to see that they have all found the correct part of their answer sheets and have shaded the option for the second sample question appropriately. If necessary, draw a sample set of circles on the board and show them how it should be done.
Instructions to emphasise
- Students should attempt all questions, even when they are unsure of the answer.
- Students should choose the one option that they think is the best answer.
- If students change their minds after shading in a circle, they should cross out ( ) the shaded circle and fill in the circle for the new answer they have selected.
- More difficult questions are usually followed by easier questions. Students should be encouraged to keep on trying, even when they meet a harder question.
- Students have 45 minutes to complete the test. If they finish early, they should check their answers, close the book with the answer sheet inside, and wait quietly.
Supervising the tests
Move around the room unobtrusively and check that students are answering the questions in the correct place on the answer sheet and filling in the circles appropriately. You may not give the students any assistance to answer the questions. Some younger students, however, may need help to read a question or part of a question. You can help a child to read a question, but cannot give any help to clarify what it means. If a student has severe reading problems or experiences difficulty in understanding the instructions or questions, the test may not be suitable for them. If the student appears unusually stressed, stop them and make a note of it on their answer sheet.
After the test session
- Collect all booklets and answer sheets.
- Check to see that students have given their details accurately.
- Check that there are no markings in the booklets that could help or disadvantage a future test taker. Store the booklets for future testing.