Major Field Achievement Test (MFAT) in Mathematics
The Major Field Test in Mathematics consists of about 50 questions, some of which may be grouped in sets and based on such materials as diagrams and graphs. The questions are drawn from the courses of study most commonly offered as part of an undergraduate mathematics curriculum.
Test Description from the ETS website
Sample test questions from the ETS website
Spring 2013: Friday, April 26th, 2:00-4:30, Kayser Hall Computer Labs 541/543
Major Field Tests Description
(from the Program Manual, ETS Higher Education Assessment, Educational Testing Service, Princeton, NJ, 1994, pp.5-7)
Assessing student outcomes in higher education has received increasing emphasis and attention in recent years. Outcomes assessment has been defined in variety of ways, from measuring student progress in general education programs to assessing learning at graduation to evaluating postgraduate activities and trying to relate success in career goals and objectives of a college or university. No matter how broad the definition of outcomes assessment, a key element for most institutions is that it is a way to evaluate student academic achievement and growth. It was in response to these concerns--specifically, the need voiced by undergraduate institutions for valid, reliable measures of the outcomes of instruction in the disciplines--that Educational Testing Service (ETS) and the Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) Board developed the Major Field Tests.
Background and Development:
The Major Field Tests are objective, end-of-program tests in 14 disciplines. Based on the Graduate Record Examinations Subject Tests, they have been shortened to two hours each, made less difficult than the GRE tests, and revised to reflect undergraduate programs and to be appropriate for all seniors majoring in a field, not just those planning graduate study. (Since there is no GRE Subject Test in Business, the Major field Test in Business is based on a complete revision of the Undergraduate Assessment Program Business Test.) Scores on these tests provide useful information for institutions seeking outcomes measures, for departments in evaluating their curriculum, and for faculty in measuring the progress of their students and considering curriculum changes. The major Field Tests provide reliable data for individual and group measurement at the undergraduate level by assessing student learning in major fields of study. Major Field Tests are available for the following disciplines: biology, business, chemistry, computer science, economics, education, history, literature in English, mathematics, music theory and history, physics, political science, psychology and sociology.
The content specifications for the Major Field Tests reflect the basic knowledge and understanding gained in the undergraduate curriculum. They have been designed to assess the mastery of concepts, principles, and knowledge expected of students at the conclusion of a major in specific subject areas. In addition to factual knowledge, the tests evaluate students' ability to analyze and solve problems, understand relationships, and interpret material. They contain questions that call for information as well as questions that require interpretation of graphs, diagrams, and charts based on material related to the field.
The Major Field Tests were constructed according to specifications similar to the specifications for the current GRE Subject Tests, which are developed and reviewed by committees of experts in each subject area. ETS test development specialists assembles the Major Field Tests using questions that had been used in GRE Subject Tests and other questions written by subject matter experts. The complete tests and the specifications were then reviewed by selected experts in appropriate subject matter areas both during the development process and before the pilot testing. The test development process included an extensive review of each test to eliminate language, symbols, or content considered to be potentially offensive, inappropriate for any subgroups of the test-taking population or serving to perpetuate any negative attitudes that may be conveyed to these subgroups. After the tests were administered during pilot administrations, each test underwent a rigorous statistical analysis to see whether each question yielded the expected result. Such an appraisal sometimes reveals that a question is not satisfactory. A question that proves to be ambiguous or otherwise unsuitable is not used in computing scores. The tests will be reviewed periodically for currency, and they will be revised and updated with the aid of expert consultants, as required. Statistical properties of each question, such as difficulty level and degree of correlation with the total score, are on record or are computed when new or revised test forms are first administered to help ensure that each question contributed meaningfully to the test results. For each test, the aim is to provide an instrument that measures the subject matter and skills a student is expected to have mastered in the undergraduate program.
Three types of scores are provided for the Major Field Tests: