4.7 Scoring the Test
Test scoring methods will vary, depending on the purpose of the test. The most common
methods are self scoring, hand scoring, machine scoring, and unstructured test scoring.
Self-scoring is often used for tests where the results will not be collected by the instructor.
These tests are primarily self-instructional and inform trainees of their current abilities. Self-
scoring is also useful for personality, interest, or career planning inventories. Answers can
be provided at the end of the test, or a variety of techniques can be used to disclose the
correct responses. A variation on self-scoring is to have trainees exchange papers and
score them in class. This saves the instructor time and provides immediate feedback for
both the instructor and trainee.
Hand-scoring is the most common scoring technique. Usually a scoring key is created on a
strip of paper and placed next to the test form, or a blank test form is completed with the
correct answers. For multiple choice test items, separate answer sheets can be used. An
answer key can then be created by punching out the correct answers. The resulting overlay
allows rapid scoring. The overlay should be made of a transparent material (such as an
overhead transparency) so the instructor can easily detect omitted or multiple responses.
When a large number of structured response tests are to be scored, machine-scoring may
be useful. In addition to saving time, the ability to enter the results directly into a computer
test data base provides many other benefits. Trainee records can be updated, test analysis
data can be automatically computed to aid in test refinement and program evaluation, and
reports and records can be produced easily once the initial programming is complete.
Many tests are unstructured response format. These tests cannot be machine scored but
should be reviewed individually by the instructor; thus, scoring unstructured response
questions consumes a great deal of time and poses some unique challenges. It takes
diligence on the part of the instructor to prevent these test items from becoming subjective
test items. To minimize the subjectivity in scoring any unstructured response items, several
guidelines should be followed.