Universiteit Leiden

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Teacher Professional Development in Higher Education


Testing policy, quality of testing and digital testing

Tests and testing policy are currently given top priority within universities and universities of professional education.

Within the new accreditation system, tests and realised final terms count as a ‘hard criterion’. If the test and examination policy is found to be unsatisfactory, the relevant study programme will not be accredited. This is why in the coming years, study programmes will have to formulate testing plans and a testing policy. A testing policy primarily should primarily focus on your own study programme. It can help you to organise teaching within your study programme as effectively as possible. The testing policy provides guidelines for teaching.

We have a wide experience in answering questions such as the following:

  • How can we make sure that our tests match our final requirements? 
  • What does a testing plan look like? 
  • The Faculty Board wishes to reduce the number of resits. How can we as a study programme deal with this change in a responsible manner? 
  • Should we give our students the opportunity to compensate for unsatisfactory test results? 
  • How can we use testing to increase our quality and return?

Developing a testing policy together with ICLON

We can help you to formulate a testing policy and testing plan. In this context, we focus on the practical and professional implications for lecturers and students. We can also help you to implement your testing policy. This might involve any of the following:

  • Calculating the effects of compensation measures.;
  • Implementing a quality assurance system for testing (see also Quality of tesing). 
  • Introducing variation in test formats, to match the final requirements and teaching methods used;
  • Supervising meetings on testing, decisions regarding cut-off points, compensation and resit periods.

Quality assurance of testing requires a lot of attention from study programmes. 

Responsible testing requires not only a transparent OER and clear test procedures, but also high quality tests. The new legislation requires Boards of Examiners to play a more important role in monitoring the quality of testing. 

We have a wide experience in answering questions such as the following: 

  • How can we demonstrate that we have at our disposal a testing system that meets the current quality norms? 
  • What support does the Board of Examiners need to fulfil their role as quality controller? 
  • How can we integrate testing in our quality assurance system? 
  • How can we determine whether a test is of the required level? 
  • How can we involve our students more in developing and assessing tests?

What our clients say

The LUMC’s request to our Higher Education department
In order to introduce lasting improvements in their teaching, the Medicine and Biomedical Sciences programmes wanted to further improve their testing. There was a need for quality assurance for all tests, in whatever form.

What we did
We appointed a Test Assessment Committee (TBC), in which we also took part. Our department taught the members of the TBC to assess tests and to make suggestions for improvement. We also coached individual lecturers in taking responsible and feasible decisions regarding their tests.

The results
It is now a common assumption within the LUMC that testing is not the sole responsibility of an individual lecturer. It is normal practice for lecturers to look at their colleagues’ tests. There is a system of peer assessment of tests and tests are discussed among lecturers.

Working on quality of testing together with ICLON

We can help you to monitor the quality of your testing and assessment, by creating quality criteria that can be measured, helping you to identify stumbling blocks, analysing the quality of your tests and examinations and supporting lecturers in formulating high-quality test questions and assignments. This might involve any of the following:

  • Implementing a cohesive quality assurance system for tests and examinations that can be justified externally;
  • Analysing your programme’s return in terms of tests and examinations;
  • Translating your final requirements and learning objectives into tests;
  • Providing test training programmes and other forms of promotion of expertise;
  • Analysing and improving existing examinations together with the lecturers involved;
  • Coaching the Board of Examiners in its role as quality controller;
  • Taking over the quality analysis of examinations (see also Test and examination service).

Do you want to determine the quality of your tests straight away?

To find out more, see our Test and examniation service.

Digital testing offers opportunities to conduct tests effectively and efficiently. Its use is increasing because digital testing means that lecturers no longer have to do the actual checking (in the case of multiple-choice questions), and that they no longer have to decipher illegible handwriting (in the case of open questions). Students are given immediate insight into whether they have a sufficient command of the study materials.

The possibility of filling item banks with test questions also means that it will soon be possible to generate examinations automatically. And we already have intelligent software that can do this. In addition, digital testing introduces new types of test questions, such as ranking, matching and hot spot questions. It makes it much easier to use images, video material and other supporting illustrations.

Furthermore, creating a new, digital version of a test provides a good opportunity to consider the quality and effectiveness of your existing test questions. In short: the new digital options also offer new opportunities in the field of testing! However, digital testing does require a different educational approach, and a clear investment on your part.

We have experience answering questions such as the following:

  • What are the advantages and disadvantages of digital testing, as compared to paper-and-pencil tests? 
  • When does it make sense to switch to a digital format for a given examination? 
  • Is digital testing also suitable for summative purposes? 
  • How can you create a test quickly and effectively on the basis of a digital item bank? 
  • Can you also test competences using a computer? 
  • How can you use digital testing in your study programme to support your quality assurance system?

Digital testing in collaboration with ICLON

We can support you in your decisions on digital testing, by clarifying the advantages and disadvantages of digital testing, mapping for you the technical, organisational and logistic preconditions that first have to be met, and by implementing digital testing as part of your quality assurance system (see also Quality of testing). In addition we can also develop digital tests, in collaboration with you, tests that are both of high quality and that make optimal use of the digital possibilities. Ideally, we want students to be actively involved in the development of tests. As part of our service, we focus on the practical and professional implications of digital testing for lecturers and students.

This might involve any of the following:

  • Coaching your through digital testing pilots;
  • Developing digital tests or versions of test in collaboration with the lecturers;
  • Supporting you in developing a digital item bank;
  • Promoting expertise in (digital) testing.

More information

dr. M.J.J.M. (Maarten) van de Ven

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