Multiple Choice

1. Question Type:
· Multiple Choice

2. Definition and Characteristics:
· Multiple choice questions are a form of assessment in which respondents are asked to select the best possible answer out of a list of choices. The multiple choice question consists of a stem (the body of the question) and set of answer options. The student must pick the best option as his or her answer. The correct answer is called the “key” and the incorrect answers are called “distractors”.

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3. Advantages and Disadvantages:
· Can efficiently assess learning for a large number of objectives
· Scoring can be automated
· Items can be automated
· Items can be randomized to help prevent cheating
· Can test knowledge and comprehension
· Can also test application and analysis
· Very low likelihood of teacher bias
· Creative effective questions can be difficult and time-consuming
· May encourage students to guess
· Provides no opportunity for students to elaborate or explain their answers.
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4. Tips on creating a question
· Ensure the body of the question contains one clear statement or question and is not too complicated.
· Frame the question to test what you want to test and only what you want to test.
· If testing recognition of terms or ideas, the key and distractors should be the same length and parallel in structure.
· Put the options in order (chronological, numerical or conceptual). This makes it easier to read and respond to.
· Keep in mind the time required for each question and manage the length of the test accordingly.
· Each student should be completing 2 to 5 questions per minute.

· Stem construction tips
o Stems can be phrased in either question form or completion form. The blank in completion form should always be at the end of the stem.
o Word the stem positively. Avoid negative words like ‘not’ or ‘except’. If unavoidable, the negative part of the phrase should be highlighted.
o Avoid giving clues like linking the stem to the answer.

· Distractor writing tips
o Only have 3 to 5 distractors and ensure they are plausible
o Incorporate common errors of students in distractors
o Use true statements that do not correctly answer the question.
o Avoid the use of humour when developing options.
o Try not to use ‘all of the above’ or ‘none of the above’.
o Keep in mind that an ideal question will be answered correctly by 60-65% of the writers.

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5. Examples
Good Example
Which of the following correctly matches an organelle with its function?
a) Mitochondria- photosynthesis
b) Nucleus- cellular respiration
c) Ribosome- manufacture of lipids
d) Lysosome- movement
e) Central vacuole- storage

Which of the following clues would you give in order to differentiate between a prokaryotic and eukaryotic?
a) The presence or absence of a rigid cell wall
b) Whether or not the cell is partitioned by internal membranes
c) The presence or absence of ribosomes
d) Whether or not the cell carries out cellular metabolism
e) Whether or not the cell contains DNA

This question display how multiple choice questions can be used to
assess an individual's knowledge and comprehension. Alternative forms
of multiple choice questions can be included in order to evaluate application and analysis as well.
Bad Example
Cell fractionation is the most appropriate procedure for preparing __ for study.
a) isolated cells which are normally found tightly attached to neighbouring cells
b) cells without a functional cytoskeleton
c) isolated organelles
d) the basic macromolecules
e) bone and other similar cells which are situated within a mineral framework

This is a bad example as the blank was not at the end of the sentence
and the possible answers are not of similar length. The variance in distractor length can lead to giving hints regarding the answer.
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6. You can accommodate identified students by:
· Reducing the number of distractors
· Reading the questions to the students
· Changing the wording for students with English difficulties (changing negatives or statements with cultural context)
· Underline or bold key words such as all, none, sometimes, most, etc.
· Having student give vocal response if they have motor difficulties.
· Having students write their answers on the test rather than scantron card.

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