The Multiple-Choice Exam on Creating Multiple-Choice Exams

This exam has been designed to demonstrate best practice when creating multiple-choice (MC) questions, as well as illustrating the different types of learning that such questions can assess. These can be classified using a simplified taxonomy as Definition, Algorthimic, and Conceptual problems. In addition to answering the following questions, classify each one according to this taxonomy. If you feel the need to study for this exam, suggested texts include:

Note: Throughout this exam, the abbreviation ‘MC’ is used for “multiple-choice”

  1. The first part of a MC question is called the:
    1. item
    2. leaf
    3. node
    4. stem
  2. Each choice in a MC question is called a(n):
    1. item
    2. leaf
    3. node
    4. stem
  3. The incorrect choices in a MC question are called:
    1. attractors
    2. confusors
    3. distractors
    4. effectors
  4. Consider a MC exam consisting of 10 questions, with four options each. The probability of a student guessing all 10 questions correctly is:
    1. 1 in 4
    2. 1 in 40
    3. 1 in 400
    4. 1 in 410
  5. The best way to present the choices in a question is:
    1. in a logical choice order
    2. in a random choice order
    3. so the first choice is incorrect
    4. so the middle choice is incorrect
  6. You should avoid using a negative in a MC question except:
    1. when the choices are also negative expressions
    2. when the negative occurs at the end of the statement
    3. when you need to achieve a low class test average
    4. when you need to assess students’ test-taking ability
  7. This question is not an example of a good MC question because it:
    1. has a negative in the middle of the question
    2. avoids not using double negatives
    3. contains logically inconsistent items
    4. none of the above
    5. all of the above
  8. The preceding question additionally:
    1. contains a cue to another question
    2. contains an excessively long choice
    3. contains several spelling mistakes
    4. contains too many answer choices
  9. The choices in a MC question should ideally:
    1. be irrelevant
    2. change stylistically
    3. be of a similar nature
    4. vary considerably in length between choices
  10. Consider the following three statements concerning MC exams:
    1. They are good for assessing factual knowledge
    2. They are good for assessing calculation skills
    3. They are good for assessing student understanding
    1. Only statement (i) is true
    2. Only statement (ii) is true
    3. Only statements (i) and (ii) are true
    4. All three statements are true

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