I would like to share with you my test designing experience.
In Croatian primary schools we have 4 categories to grade our students. It looks like this:
I think we could have a long discussion about these categories. We can't separate comprehension from any part of language teaching and learning, can we? But it is how it is in our class books, at least for now.
Why did I design the test in the first place? There are tests in teacher's books that I use but they all contain most of the categories and I am allowed to give only one grade. So I decided to design my own grammar test. It looked beautiful. I used all my computer skills and worked very hard. I came to school, proudly handed out the tests to my students. And what happened? What was supposed to last for 45 minutes lasted about 20. You could imagine my surprise when they started to give back my beautiful tests:)))
It is not easy to design a test, isn't it? And I learned my lesson. Here is what I should have done:
tried to do the test myself!
It is as simple as that. If I had done this I would have realized that the test was too short and would have given myself the opportunity to include more tasks which would have shown the students knowledge on a higher more precise level. To have someone else do the test is even better. You'll get another, objective view into the test.
There is one even more important issue than just timing and this is how to create meaningful tasks for the test paying attention to goals, relevance and variety.
What are your grading categories? Do you design your tests?