2015 Users Conference Webcast - Writing Performance-Based Test Items

We have all been exposed to some sort of assessment in our lives. Think back to your school days – you would sit in class and then get a test on what you were supposed to know. Most times the test was just a regurgitation of rote memory. If you paid attention and read the assignments you probably would pass. How long did you remember the material after the assessment? You probably forgot most of it by the end of the day so you could cram more in your head for the next test. Did your score really demonstrate what you could actually do? All it did was test your knowledge and how well you could memorize.

Writing test items at higher cognitive levels is a challenge that most test writers are apprehensive about tackling. This session will explain how to write meaningful tests items at all levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy – Knowledge, Comprehension, Application, Analysis, Synthesis and Evaluation. Additionally, tips on writing items at various levels of complexity will be discussed.


  • James R. Parry, Test Development Manager, U.S. Coast Guard Training Center, Yorktown, VA, 
  • LT Carlos E. Schwarzbauer, IT Lead, US Coast Guard Force Readiness Command (FC-Tadl)