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Dr. Marciano B.



May 2013

A Table of Specifications is a twoway chart which describes the topics

to be covered by a test and the
number of items or points which will
be associated with each topic.

Kubiszyn & Borich, (2003)

emphasized the following
significance and components of TOS:
1. A Table of Specifications consists of a
two-way chart or grid relating
instructional objectives to the
instructional content.
The column of the chart lists the
objectives or "levels of skills" (Gredlcr,
1999) to be addressed;
The rows list the key concepts or content
the test is to measure.

According to Bloom, et al. (1971),

"We have found it useful to
represent the relation of content and
behaviors in the form of a two
dimensional table with the objectives
on one axis, the content on the

2. A Table of Specifications identifies not only

the content areas covered in class, it
identifies the performance objectives at each
level of the cognitive domain of Bloom's
Teachers can be assured that they are
measuring students' learning across a wide
range of content and readings as well as
cognitive processes requiring higher order

3. A Table of Specifications is
developed before the test is written.
In fact it should be constructed
before the actual teaching begins.

4. The purpose of a Table of

Specifications is to identify the
achievement domains being
measured and to ensure that a fair
and representative sample of
questions appear on the test.

Carey (1988) pointed out that the

time available for testing depended
not only on the length of the class
period but also on students' attention


A true-false test item takes 15

seconds to answer unless the
student is asked to provide the
correct answer for false questions.
Then the time increases to 30-45


A seven item matching exercise

takes 60-90 seconds.

3. A four response multiple choice test

item that asks for an answer
regarding a term, fact, definition, rule
or principle (knowledge level item)
takes 30 seconds. The same type of
test item that is at the application
level may take 60 seconds.

4. Any test item format that requires

solving a problem, analyzing,
synthesizing information or
evaluating examples adds 30-60
seconds to a question.

5. Short-answer test items take 30-45

6. An essay test takes 60 seconds for
each point to be compared and

If an individual can perform the most

difficult aspects of the objective, the
instructor can "assume" the lower levels
can be done.
However, if testing the lower
levels, the instructor cannot
"assume" the individual can perform
the higher levels.

The cornerstone of classroom

assessment practices is the validity
of the judgments about students
learning and knowledge.
A TOS is one tool that teachers
can use to support their professional
judgment when creating or selecting
test for use with their students.

In order to understand how to best

modify a TOS to meet your needs, it is
important to understand the goal of this
strategy: improving validity of a
teachers evaluations based on a given
assessment. Validity is the degree to
which the evaluations or judgments we
make as teachers about our students
can be trusted based on the quality of
evidence we gathered (Wolming
& Wilkstrom, 2010).

From the literatures we have known that

standardized tests are valid.
The question needs to he asked if GPAs
are a valid measures of student
GPAs are based in large measure on
teacher made tests. If teacher made
tests are not valid, how can a students
GPA be valid?
The use of a Table of Specifications
can provide teacher made tests
validity (Notar, Charles, 2004).

Lei, Bassiri and Schultz,(2001)

found that a college GPA was an
unreliable predictor of student
achievement. Since we assume that
norm referenced tests are valid
measures, the tendency is to put
more weight on those results
concerning student achievement.

According to Ooster (2003)

the faculty made tests will likely
have poor content validity,
"cause for concern because each
assessment instrument depends
on its validity more than on any
other factor."

A Table of Specifications benefits

students in two ways.
First, it improves the validity of
teacher-made tests.
Second, it can improve student
learning as well.

A Table of Specifications helps to ensure

that there is a match between what is
taught and what is tested. Classroom
assessment should be driven by
classroom teaching which itself is driven
by course goals and objectives.
Tables of Specifications provide the link
(University of Kansas, 2013)

Teachers can collaborate with students ,

teachers or colleagues on the
construction of the Table of Specifications:
what are the main ideas and topics,
what emphasis should be placed on each
what should be on the test?
Open discussion and negotiation of these
issues can encourage higher levels of
understanding while also modeling good
learning and study skills.