ESSAY OR FORCED-CHOICE TESTS? FACTORS DETERMINING INSTRUCTORS’ PREFERENCES IN DESIGNING TESTS FOR CORE CURRICULUM REQUIREMENTS IN THE COLLEGE OF BASIC EDUCATION IN KUWAIT (Published)
This research aims at exploring the factors determining instructors’ preferences in designing tests for Core Curriculum required courses at the College of Basic Education in Kuwait. For this purpose, a sample of 120 instructors was randomly chosen from a population consisting of 500 instructors teaching the Core Curriculum Program in the CBE. The sample of instructors responded to a 21-statement questionnaire. Furthermore, a sample of 12 instructors, selected randomly from the population, was interviewed. The results of the study were based on the instructors’ response to a questionnaire and the interview related to two Core Curriculum required courses (Science Education and Kuwait and Development) which fairly represent the Core Curriculum Program at CBE. The study has shown that the main factors determining the choice of one test over the other are external to the processes and steps used in test design, like the class size and the amount of time consumed in designing and scoring the tests. Such factors were prioritized by instructors mainly because of special circumstances related to CBE’s admission policies of accepting a large number of students without strategically planning for proper teacher-student ratio. The study also showed that the tests were limited to the lower-order thinking skills, knowledge, comprehension and retrieval of information, a shortcoming attributed to the course designers who limited the learning objectives to the lower levels of thinking.