A Table of Specifications is a two-way chart which describes the topics to be covered in a test and the number of items or points which will be associated with each topic. Sometimes the types of items are described as well.

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.

As it is impossible, in a test, to assess every topic from every aspect, a Table of Specifications allows us to ensure that our test focuses on the most important areas and weights different areas based on their importance / time spent teaching. A Table of Specifications also gives us the proof we need to make sure our test has content validity.

Tables of Specifications are designed based on:

course objectives

topics covered in class

amount of time spent on those topics

textbook chapter topics

emphasis and space provided in the text

A Table of Specification could be designed in 3 simple steps:

1. identify the domain that is to be assessed

2. break the domain into levels (e.g. knowledge, comprehension, application …)

3. construct the table

The more detailed a table of specifications is, the easier it is to construct the test.

shortened yet well-explained

How specification table promotes validity when setting a test for secondary school learners

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