The quality of test construction depends largely on the part of the teacher. Every teacher is interested to know how far and wide he/she can facilitate, orient and guide his/her students with the knowledge, ideas, abilities, skills and attitudes that he/she wishes to build up in order to achieve his teaching objectives, and to make his/her students responsive to the changing needs of the society.

Unfortunately, there are some teachers who don’t know how to make a good exam. Some teachers make an exam for the sake of compliance purposes.

In this blog, allow me to share with you some of the advantages and disadvantages of essay test, as one of the types of traditional assessment, which I read from the book of Reganit et al entitled “Measurement amd Evaluation in Teaching and Learning.”

Essay test is a type of test that usually allows greater freedom of response to questions and requires more writing.

Advantages of Essay Tests

1. The essay examintion allows students to express their ideas with relatively few restraints.
2. It involves recall and there are no options to select from, therefore, guessing is eliminated. The student must suuply rather than select the good response.
3. Essay items are good for testing small numbers of students. However, as the number of student increases, the advantage of essay test decreases.

Disadvantages and Limitations of Essay Tests

1. Essay questions are time consuming to teachers and students. Students often spend much time answering only one or two essay questions. Teachers, on the other hand, also devote much time reading lengthy responses.
2. Essay responses are subject to bluffing. Essays eliminate guessing but not bluffing. Poorly prepared students desperately attempt to get a passing grade by answering something even if the responses are not related to the questions asked.
3. In practice, very few essays require originaltiy and most emphasize the lengthy enumeration of memorized facts.

Its up now to the teachers to carefully examine the advantages and disadvantages in giving essay questions during the exam. At the end of the day, what the teacher wanted during the assessment is to find out the students’ progress in the course.