Developing and validating multiple choice exam items

In addition, the objective scoring associated with multiple choice test items frees them from problems with scorer inconsistency that can plague scoring of essay questions.Validity is the degree to which a test measures the learning outcomes it purports to measure.

In either case, students can use partial knowledge to arrive at a correct answer. Plausible alternatives serve as functional distractors, which are those chosen by students that have not achieved the objective but ignored by students that have achieved the objective.

There is little difference in difficulty, discrimination, and test score reliability among items containing two, three, and four distractors. , in which some or all of the alternatives consist of different combinations of options.

As with “all of the above” answers, a sophisticated test-taker can use partial knowledge to achieve a correct answer. Savvy test-takers can use information in one question to answer another question, reducing the validity of the test.

If a significant learning outcome requires negative phrasing, such as identification of dangerous laboratory or clinical practices, the negative element should be emphasized with italics or capitalization. A question stem is preferable because it allows the student to focus on answering the question rather than holding the partial sentence in working memory and sequentially completing it with each alternative (Statman 1988).

The cognitive load is increased when the stem is constructed with an initial or interior blank, so this construction should be avoided.

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