Generating scores for a test

Weighting items

The 'simple tally' method adds all the scores from the test questions, as we saw above. You may, though, want to make some of the test questions count for more in the final test score. Some items might be considered to be of greater importance, for example, or may have been more complex.

This is called 'weighting'.


Item weighting in tests

If you increase the weight of an item, the test-taker is awarded more marks for it in the final test result. Weights are defined at the level of the item, when you are authoring your test. They are applied, however, at the level of the test.

When a test containing weighted items has been scored, the individual item scores (i.e. the value of 'SCORE' listed for each item: for the first item ('Basic arithmetic') in the image below, this is '1') will not reflect the weight, as weights are only taken into consideration at test level. Instead, the weights will show in the list of test variables, as shown in the image.

Scores from a weighted test


As you can see, the value of SCORE_TOTAL_MAX is 3, as there were three items. The value of SCORE_TOTAL_MAX_WEIGHTED is 6, however (the three items had weights of 1, 2 and 3 respectively, making a total of 6).

The test-taker answered the first two questions correctly, but the third incorrectly. In the SCORE_RATIO, you can see that he/she got two out of three questions right, and therefore scores 2/3 on a simple tally. However, when the item weights are taken into consideration - as shown in SCORE_RATIO_WEIGHTED - you will see that the test-taker got 50%. This is because he/she scored 3 marks on the first two items (worth 1 and 2 marks respectively), and none on the last item (which was worth 3 marks).

Note: It is possible to define different weights for the same item, and then choose between them in different test scenarios. (This may be useful, if, for example, a test covers different topics and in one test a certain topic is considered more important.) 


Item weighting in categories

For tests which contain different categories, the weighting system can also be applied at the level of the category.

The image below shows the results (the test variables only) for a test containing the same items with the same weights as above, but this time the items have been assigned to two different categories. (This simple test containing just three items has been constructed for the purpose of this course, so one of the categories contains only one item. Normally, there would be more than one item in a category.)

Scores from a weighted test with categories


The test-taker gave the same answers in the original test which had no categories. As you can see, the value of SCORE_TOTAL_MAX is 3 and SCORE_TOTAL_MAX_WEIGHTED is 6, as before. The SCORE_RATIO still shows that the test-taker got 2/3 questions right, and the SCORE_RATIO_WEIGHTED shows that when the weights were applied, he/she got 50%.

Now, however, there is also a set of scores relating to each category. Let's have a look at the first category in more detail. These values tell you that there were two items in this category (SCORE_CATEGORY_MAX_CAT1 = 2) and that the test-taker answered them both correctly (SCORE_CATEGORY_CAT1 = 2). There were three marks available for this category (SCORE_CATEGORY_WEIGHTED_MAX_CAT1 = 3), and the test-taker was awarded all of them (SCORE_CATEGORY_WEIGHTED_CAT1 = 3).

By contrast, he/she got none of the marks (SCORE_CATEGORY_WEIGHTED_CAT2 = 0) of the three available (SCORE_CATEGORY_WEIGHTED_MAX_CAT2 = 3) for  the second category.

Note: It is possible to assign items to multiple categories, and then choose between them in different test scenarios. (This may be useful, if, for example, the emphasis of a test is category-based, and an item falls into more than one category.)

Details on how to configure weighting are given in the chapter 'Summary and configuration of scoring methods' below.