The current article contains basic information about underrated tasks like multiple choice questions. Of course, it is not as interesting as 3D learning environment. However, this information is equally important for each and every instructor and student. Every instructor wants to reduce the number of mistakes while using the test assignments. That is why only reliable items should be used in it.
As a result, you will be able to interpret your questions in a proper manner and provide clear answer options. Below we will explain terminology related to multiple choice questions.
The anatomy of multiple choice questions includes the question stem. For example, the acronym SMS represents:
The correct answer is 'b' while 'a' and 'c' are considered to be distracters.
In case you have new ideas, please add them in the comments below.
Critical thinking and comprehension of the test
Often, multiple choice questions tests become the subject of criticism since some people consider that they are used to test the recall of general knowledge. That is why it is recommended to avoid such an approach and task students with facts interpretation, situations evaluation, causes and effects explanation and results prediction.
Clear and precise wording as well as simple sentences structures
Test questions should be written using simple sentences that are easy for comprehension. It is also recommended to be careful with the word choice. Remember that one word may have various meaning depending on the context.
Include more words in your question stem
In case you decided to use question stem instead of the full question, make sure that more words are given in the question stem. Consequently, the answers will be shorter and less confusing for students.
Make sure that the distracters you offer are plausible
You have to give completely reasonable wrong answer options. Sometimes, it may seem to be impossible to complete such task. However, you should avoid giving unreasonable distracters because the test will lose its sense.
Make sure every answer choice is of the same length
It is not always easy to achieve such result. However, experienced test-takers may use the length of the answer as a tip to the right answer. In most cases, the longest answer is the right one. If the same length is impossible to reach in your case, make two answers short and other two long.
Do not use double negatives
It is incorrect to use combinations of negatives in one sentence: no, not, nor and prefix -un or -in, etc. for instance, such question type will confuse students: 'What comment from the list below will NOT be inappropriate in the working environment?' You have to flip it and use a positive form: 'What comment from the list below will be appropriate in the working environment?'
Do not use the same positions for the correct answers. For example, using only 'b' or 'c' positions for all correct answers. Provide correct answer options in random order. Expert test-takers can detect such pattern easily. When you finished the test, recheck it and reorder the correct answers in case such need arises.
Have you ever been in a situation where you had to convince an SME that answer options that reach 'h' in one question and 'c' in the other question are impossible? Sometimes, it can be an issue of the user interface. If you keep the answer options consistent, your students will not be stressed since they will know what to expect. Personally speaking, four answer options seem to be a fair approach.
It is a commonly known fact that tests are created to evaluate the level of one's knowledge. It is not recommended to use answers or questions that can confuse or trick students. Try to find the way to rewrite confusing questions and answers that may have double meaning.
Use the word combinations like 'none of the above' or 'all of the above' carefully
'none of the above' or 'all of the above' can be helpful when you run of possible distracters. However, they may destroy your test if you overuse them. Such word combinations can hint the correct answer easily. Moreover, if the correct answer is 'none of the above' or 'all of the above', it will not help you to understand whether test-taker knows real answer.