MCQ_basic_tips - Basic Tips for MCQs (July 20, 2006) Basic...

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Basic Tips for MCQ’s (July 20, 2006) Page 1 of 4 Basic Tips for Writing Effective Multiple Choice Questions (MCQ’s): A Compilation of the Most Useful Advice Jennifer Murdock, Department of Economics, U of T To define terms, here is a sample multiple choice question where the correct answer is (E): (1) List the alternatives vertically and in a logical order. These two points are illustrated by the sample multiple choice question above. Students who know the correct answer can quickly find it. Also, a jumbled order can be distracting to some students. (2) Make the question as direct and clear as possible. Questions can degenerate into a test of logic if you use double negatives and complex structures. (3) Make sure there is only one unambiguously correct response. (4) Create plausible distracters that would sound right to an incompetent student but are clearly wrong. You can include common misconceptions, common mistakes, and technical jargon to make distracters more effective. (5) Instruct students to choose the “best answer” rather than “the correct answer.” This helps avoid argument and allows you to skip specifying rounding conventions (for example, the answer to the sample question above was 23.1678…). (6) Write the question stem such that students can quickly and easily deduce what the question is asking. Students should not have to read all of the alternatives to figure this out. When possible, write stems as you would an open-ended question such that if a proficient student were given the question stem s/he could write out the correct response. (7) Don’t get too fancy with your English and the subtleties of the English language. If you do, students who do not have English as their first language may get your question wrong even though they knew the concept you were trying to test. (8)
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MCQ_basic_tips - Basic Tips for MCQs (July 20, 2006) Basic...

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