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Over the years, a measurable percentage of students who fail examinations are not students with low IQ. Sometimes, their failure can be attributed to inadequate preparation and some other immediate and remote factors. Hence, this model on Alternate Testing and Scoring:  A Model for Modern Measurement aimed to build a culture of adding extra examination items that are cheaper with lesser scores than the straight questions. Having alternate set of examination questions in a test will help inadequately prepared and low IQ students to attain minimum score that will guarantee a pass mark. This model can therefore be seen as a student oriented model.

Keywords: Alternate testing, Scoring, Grading, Modern Measurement

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Michael Jules

Michael Jules

Vocational Business Educator, Admissions and UTME Nigeria


Have you ever come in contact with students who are very intelligent yet failed certain subject/courses? Sure, this is a recurring phenomenon within the academic community, either in the primary, secondary or university environment. Students always read hard in their bid to pass examinations, but soon found themselves failing certain courses. Their failures however, may not be a consequence of their academic intellect, but may be due to the fact that they did not cover certain contents expected to be covered. In this regard, failure may be unavoidable.

Sometimes, educators are baffled by students’ performance. Students who are at the forefront of a class in performance may be performing very poorly in a particular course/subject. When this happens, educators do not close their eyes and feign ignorance but pry/investigate into/the student’s behaviour to ascertain what the cause may be. At the tail end, it may be that these students may not have read all the contents so expected of them. This may be caused by timing factors, late preparation and so on. However, the students not covering these aspects of the contents does not necessarily mean that the student lack knowledge on all aspects of the subject area. While failing in this area, the student must have had a very good knowledge on other aspect of the subject. This is why it is very possible to see students writing very well but out of point.

Granted, they wrote out of point, but the fact remains that even though written out of point, what they wrote may be excellent if they were to be measured in such area of the subject. Knowing fully well that students cannot know everything in a subject area because of individualized intellectual capacity, it has overwhelmingly become imperative to assess students with best methods aimed at ensuring that opportunities for failures are minimized if not eliminated.

Accordingly, this alternate testing and scoring model is aimed at ensuring that educators present students with alternative set of questions in any examinations in other aspect of the subjects or outside the subject area but may be related and relevant in the testing and grading system.

The Problem

Today, while academic failure has been associated with academically retarded students, other students who had earlier performed very well and are seen as intelligent have also had their fair share of failures. Academic failure can occur especially when a student prepare late to the examination or totally lack preparation. Even when students prepare for an examination, the fact that students may not adequately examine some aspects of the content can also lead to failure. Again, indirect questions can also trick students to fail.

In light of the above, it is hereby introduced that educators should apply/append additional/alternative questions to main questions in an examination. These questions may be cheaper and with lower marks attached. Appending alternate questions to the main questions in an examination will enable students who are unable to comprehend the main questions to vie for the alternate questions.

The alternate items will only come in after the examiner must have completed his/her questions. Once all the required items are attained, the alternate items can now come in. It should be noted that students who are capable of answering the main questions should not border to attempt the alternate questions.


The overriding purpose of this model is to ensure that educators record low academic failure across institutions of learning. With a mixture of difficult and less difficult questions, low IQ students can strive to succeed and meet up with at least, pass scores.

The Model

Although examination is a test of intellectual capacity, it should be carried out with several factors in mind. For one thing, the test takers are never of the same intellectual capacity, so, it amount to a huge fault on the part of educators to set same questions for everybody.

Although, it has never been deemed professional to segregate students in order of their IQ in administering examination, this model of alternate testing and scoring put into cognizance, the capacity of those with lower IQ in the exam. The model is aimed at adding extra cheaper questions to the main questions in an examination. Lower scores should be attached to these questions. Attaching lower test scores to the cheaper questions will drive the intellectually capable students to the questions and items with higher scores and the students with lower IQ to lower items. The grading system should be administered in such a way that any who attempts the alternate questions will automatically score lower than those students who attempted the straight questions.

This model will solve a whole lot of problem in the school system. This is because many students have this challenge of failing even subjects that they know. Where they come across unexpected questions and could not attempt the questions successfully, they can utilize the alternate questions that can at least, give them a pass mark to avoid failing. As educators, we teach for the outcome and not for the income. Hence, we do all we can to ensure that a good outcome is attained.

This model will also solve the problem of sorting. When students do not fail, the tendency to sort will die off automatically. Many educators have been caught up in this sorting system that has cause decay in the system. Other educators have been fingered to have administered very difficult questions with a negative intent to fail students to increase the rate of sorting. However, understanding students alternate testing and scoring model will aid educators to do more in ensuring that students pass at all cost with the level of efforts they are able to put in.

Other Parameters

Within the research community, authors had come up with various grading system aimed at improving grading. One of these is the correction score. This model was borne on the intent that many students can pass an examination by mere guess work. Thus, when an educator identify a low IQ student during grading, scoring above normal level, such educator adopt the correction score model so as to score the student according to his average performance.

Therefore, if educators understand the need to penetrate/investigate students who may have successfully cheated to bring them back to their previous levels, it will be corresponding enough to adopt models that supports students’ performance to optimum levels. While the correction score is aimed at discouraging cheating, the alternate testing models stand in apposition and tend to supports students’ efforts to succeed.


This model will aid educators in their bid to support the less intellectual students in the classroom. Students have often come across examination items that stress their capacity. While they may be capable to some extent, their level of preparation may have been limited from answering some questions. Hence, adding some general questions, questions that the examiner believe all students in the class, irrespective of their IQ will understand, will help the students to succeed in their academic endevour.


Based on the model parameters above, the following are suggested:

  1. Institutions should adopt the alternate testing and scoring model as an institution-wide model for its educators to ensure that better performance are recorded.
  2. The alternate testing and scoring model should be used especially in settings where performance is low.
  3. The alternate questions, though cheaper, should also be valid questions. The validity of the questions should not be tampered with even as they are cheaper.


This material should be cited as follows:

Michael, O. J. (2019). Michael Jules alternate testing and scoring. Retrieved from