What Makes a Good Multiple Choice Item?
A good multiple choice item presents either a problem or a question at the stem of the item. This calls for finding the best solution or option. All the possible solutions consist of the correct solution and other distractors.
The main task behind the multiple-choice questions is to single out learners without knowledge of the concept. It also gives a learner with knowledge a challenge to understand the concept deeply to get at the solution.
Some of the properties of a good multiple-choice test quest include:
- Statement of the problem in the stem
- Inclusion of correct or defensible solutions
- Add distractors with a close relation to the solution.
Some of these properties include the use of clichés that strike the mind of the learner at first. A good item consists of common misinformation among people. This can be hearsay or notable quotes without any basis. A good item consists of partial answers that are not complete. A good item also includes the use of technical jargon.
How to Make a Good Stem
A good stem is the main ingredient in making the test questions tricky for a student. Here are tips in how to form a good stem:
- Jot down ambiguous questions that give a test to the concept examined without giving a hint to the solution.
- Start by giving all the problems and qualifications that make the stem. It is recommended to include a verb as part of the statement.
- Part of the items should measure the level of comprehension of the students when it comes to applying concepts. It should also be a measure of recall for the learners.
- Get rid of excessive information in the item that is irrelevant.
A stem should not represent a clear problem. It should test the ability of the reader to draw references from descriptions. It should not act as a gauge for the learning outcome for the learners.
How to Create Options in a Test
In most cases, it comprises of one right answer amid distractors. The distractors present should be plausible and offer attractive solutions to the possible. This leaves the learner to depend on their recall in finding a solution.
All the options in the test should be precise and concise. Having a wordy alternative only tests the learner’s reading ability compared to testing the overall objective of the learning outcome. It proves that the learner, apart from having recall, has a total understanding of the concept.
It is important to make the options mutually exclusive. Avoid overlapping content that forms part of eroding the testing process. Furthermore, the nature of the presentation of the options should follow a chronological order. This prevents the use of bias in specific points in the testing process.
Part of the testing process is avoiding giving clues to the learners. Therefore, each option should be independent without reference to any clues. The option should divert from the correct solution in terms of:
There is a lot of psychology that goes into writing a good multiple-choice test question. Overall, reflect on the options you give and base them around a stem.