HowTo: develop multiple choice questionnaire

Nine primary guidelines at Tomorrow’s Professor Blog — here is the intro:

Multiple-choice items have a number of advantages. First, multiple-choice items can measure various kinds of knowledge, including students’ understanding of terminology, facts, principles, methods, and procedures, as well as their ability to apply, interpret, and justify. When carefully designed, multiple-choice items can assess higher-order thinking skills as shown in Example 1, (below) in which students are required to generalize, analyze, and make inferences about data in a medical patient case.

Multiple-choice items are less ambiguous than short-answer items, thereby providing a more focused assessment of student knowledge. Multiple-choice items are superior to true-false items in several ways: on true-false items, students can receive credit for knowing that a statement is incorrect, without knowing what is correct. Multiple-choice items offer greater reliability than true-false items as the opportunity for guessing is reduced with the larger number of options. Finally, an instructor can diagnose misunderstanding by analyzing the incorrect options chosen by students.

A disadvantage of multiple-choice items is that they require developing incorrect, yet plausible, options that can be difficult for the instructor to create. In addition, multiple-choice questions do not allow instructors to measure students’ ability to organize and present ideas. Finally, because it is much easier to create multiple-choice items that test recall and recognition rather than higher order thinking, multiple-choice exams run the risk of not assessing the deep learning that many instructors consider important.

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