Multiple Choice (MC) I & II
The table on pages 4–6 gives the name of each multiple choice unit in order on the MC subtest, the
keyed response for each item, and the common curriculum elements tested in each unit. The table on
page 7 gives average facilities for each unit, and the average facility for the MC subtest as a whole.
The MC testpapers
In 2005 the MC subtest consisted of 100 items divided evenly across two testpapers, the first with 11
units, the second with 12 units. A wide variety of common curriculum elements was assessed, including
a handful more common on the SR subtest but here tested at ‘second order’ (e.g. graphing, gesturing).
Equally diverse were the areas covered by the units, which included English language and literature
(units 2, 5, 6, 15 and 18), history (units 10 and 20), the physical sciences (physics–unit 21, biology–unit 4,
geography–unit 3, psychology–units 8 and 12, chemistry–unit 13), applied sciences (economics–unit 17,
forensics–unit 19), popular culture (units 8, 10 and 22), pure mathematics (units 7 and 16), as well as
applied mathematics (units 9, 11 and 23). These areas were broached through a variety of formats,
including novels, poems, extracts from newspapers, magazines and non-fiction books, diagrams,
illustrations, cartoons, graphs, tables and maps.
These areas and formats were used in assessing a range of verbal, quantitative and spatial
understandings. Sometimes more than one of these categories was tested in the same unit. Amongst the
units that tested mainly verbal understandings were 2 (Paradise), 5 (Writing Style), 6 (Tradition), 10
(Primitive Cinema), 15 (Brisbane), 18 (Tereza), 20 (Napoleon) and 22 (Cool). In addition, units 1 (Justice
System) and 12 (Faces/Feelings) tested verbally contextualised spatial understandings. Units that tested
mainly quantitative understandings included 3 (Surface Area), 7 (Hypocycloid), 11 (Change Ringing), 13
(Equilibria), 16 (Narcissistic Numbers), 17 (Interest Rates) and 21 (Quarks). Some units tested spatial
understandings within a predominantly quantitative environment: 14 (Old Age), 19 (Fingerprints) and 23
(Desk). Units that tested verbal, quantitative and spatial understandings included 4 (Caecilians), 8
(Shopaholics/Stress) and 9 (Train Set).
Justice System (Unit 1) was the only cartoon on the testpapers, and students found it only moderately
challenging. Paradise (Unit 2) was the harder of the two extracts from novels on the testpapers, with an
average facility of 53.6 per cent. Many of the items in this unit involved implied meanings and linguistic
subtleties, which students traditionally find quite challenging. Surface Area (Unit 3) required students to