Dr Bassey A. Bassey & Eme O. I. Amanso
A good test, as a measuring instrument, has both technical and practical characteristics, qualities or criteria. The primary purpose of this paper is to identify and discuss the qualities or characteristics of a good measuring instrument (test) for schools. Technical characteristics discussed include test items, standardization, objectivity, validity, reliability, discrimination, and norms; while the practical qualities include usability, acceptability, adequacy, purpose, economy, meaningfulness of test scores, and comparability. Related concepts such as measurement, assessment and evaluation are also defined in this paper. The authors posit that all these characteristics and more are interdependent. That is, they are mutually causal and have direct bearing on each other and are not exhaustive. This paper concludes that for a test to be a good measuring instrument, among others, it must measure (validity) what it is supposed to measure, accurately and consistently (reliability); it must be fair to the examinees (objectivity) and be comprehensive enough to serve its purpose (adequacy); it must be easily utilized (usability); and able to pick out, the bright, average and dull students separately (discrimination); it should not result in objections (acceptability); and should be interpreted in terms of a common base that has natural or accepted meanings (comparability).