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Test Item Analysis

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Test Item Analysis

Learn from your mistakes!

photo of person with magnifying glass and text: test item analysis, the only way to see what's going wrong on your tests—and fixing it

OK, you know you’re supposed to “go over” your test or exam after its over. But HOW do you do that . . . WHY should you do that . . . and WHAT SHOULD YOU BE GETTING OUT OF IT.

The reason you should do it is so that you can learn from your mistakes. Not only will you need those concepts you missed when you take the final exam, you’ll need them to understand the rest of the course. Besides, you’re going to have to identify and fix any problems with your test-taking skills.

If you just casually scan your test, then you may not get much out of it. You need to take a more organized, focused approach.

First, you want to make sure you have the correct answers. Either you’ll get those when you get back your exam, or you’ll have to find them on your own—and make sure they are correct.

Second, you want to understand why the correct answers are right. That is, just knowing what the answer should have been is is not enough—you have to understand why it was right.

Third, you want to analyze the patterns of what went wrong. You can use my chart (below) or use it as a model to make up your own chart. Identify the topic of each item that you missed, and check off which of the common mistakes you made on that item. For example, did you misread the question (or the choices offered), forget it when you took the test, get the order of things get mixed up, not study that topic because it wasn’t in your notes or you thought it was unimportant.

Fourth, list any patterns that you discover. Then search out strategies for fixing the recurring issues. Do you forget what you know when taking the test? Probably test anxiety. Develop ways to reduce that anxiety. Always misread items? Then make sure you double-check them a second time, being careful to find the meaning of each question.

Here’s a video running down how the test analysis process works.

Use my test analysis chart

Print this Test Analysis Chart on your printer and fill it in for the test you are analyzing.

Click here to download the Test Analysis Worksheet

Hopefully, a pattern will appear that will allow you to focus on areas that need improvement.

If you need any help filling this out, interpreting your results, or finding ways to improve, see your instructor.

To challenge any test item click here.

Last updated: September 6, 2021 at 17:44 pm