Multilevel Choice Questions

Multilevel Choice Questions

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Term2.png Multiple Choice Questions


Multiple choice questions are efficient and effective ways of assessing learning outcomes. Multiple choice questions have a general structure containing the following elements:

• The stem, which is the problem/question;

• The alternatives (options), which are suggested solutions to the problem.The correct or the best alternative is called the key response. The incorrect alternatives are called distractors.

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Toolkit.png Guidelines for Constructing Multiple Choice Questions
       Guidelines for constructing effective stem:

1. It should be meaningful and present a well-defined problem;

2. It should not enclose irrelevant material;

3. If negatively stated (although avoid that), the negative element has to be highlighted;

4. It could be either a question or a partial sentence.

5. It could be independent questions or based on case studies. In this way one can assess a higher level of cognition.

       Guidelines for constructing effective alternatives:

1. They should be stated clearly and concisely;

2. They should not contain overlapping content;

3. They all should be homogenous in content so they cannot provide clues to test takers;

5. The forms “all of the above” and “none of the above” should not be used;

6. They should be presented in a logical order;

7. Their number can vary (4 or 5) as long as they are all plausible.


       Advantages of using multiple choice questions:

• It can be used in a variety of areas and measure knowledge to more complex levels (comprehension, application, analysis)

• It gives the possibility to test a broader section of course content in a shorter time interval.

• It is less prone to guessing than true/false questions and it offers a much more consistent score than essay questions.

• It offers the possibility of a rapid scoring.

       Disadvantages of using multiple choice questions: 

• It cannot measure certain learning outcomes as delivering explanations, deliver original ideas, give examples etc.

• It is time-consuming and skill-requiring when constructed.

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Term2.png The usability of Multiple Choice Questions


In principle a multiple choice question is a question that requires the learner to choose the correct answer from a set of options. However, formulated accordingly, a multiple choice question can assess high levels of cognition. For instance, multiple choice questions can assess even the procedural level. This can be achieved through case studies. Thus if the case study (scenario) is strong enough one can ask several questions based on it. Multiple choice questions can be used within both, formative and summative assessments. Used within the formative assessments (during the learning process) they have the purpose to provide the learners with constant feedback and track their learning. Used within the summative assessments they assess whether the learning objectives have been achieved or not.

Refined forms of multiple choice questions are: true/false, matching questions, and fill in the blank questions.


References

  1. http://www3.fed.cuhk.edu.hk/chemistry/files/constructMC.pdf
  2. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Multiple_choice
  3. http://cft.vanderbilt.edu/guides-sub-pages/writing-good-multiple-choice-test-questions/
  4. http://www.click4it.org/images/b/b1/Writing_Questions_for_Training_Programmes_Bryan_Hopkings.pdf