Multiple Choice Questions - Center for Teaching Learning

Multiple Choice
Bloom’s Taxonomy
Ranked thinking skill
When should you use multiple choice?
Low Level Questions
Specific Objective
Quick Feedback
Build Student Confidence
Practical Option
High Level Questions
Analyze situations
Make inferences from data
Interpret data
Solve problems
When shouldn’t you use multiple choice?
Recall vs. Learning
Large Concepts
Guessing vs. Learning
Keep in mind there are lots of
test format options!
What are the parts of the question?
All potential answers (a-e) are called the Alternatives
Example From:
Tips on Writing the Problem/Stem
● Keep in mind your learning objectives
● Ensure stem can stand alone (provides context
for the problem)
● Only include relevant information
● Avoid negative phrasing
Tips for the problem (stem):
Which statement is true?
A. All rats have red eyes
B. Rats can’t climb
C. Pet rats are called Fancy Rats
D. Rat teeth are soft and delicate
What are pet rats called?
A. Feeder Rats
B. Fancy Rats
C. Friendly Rats
D. Fuzzy Rats
What’s wrong with this question?
Ratatouille is a fun movie about a little rat that
wants to become a chef. What is the actual
cause of the bubonic plague?
Sour Milk
Negative Phrasing
● Which of the following is not true…
● All of the following are true except…
o Don’t confuse the students
● If you believe this to be the only way to discern
student mastery - be sure to EMPHASIZE the
word “not” or “except”
What do you think?
Tips on Writing the Alternatives
● Be certain there is only one right answer
● You can increase the level of difficulty by
using the terminology “best” answer
● List answers logically
● Don’t give clues on stems or alternatives
What’s wrong with this
Who is the main character of the the movie Ratatouille?
A. Remy
B. George Washington
C. Scooby Doo
D. Frank
Clear and Concise
● Don’t be too wordy!
Mutually Exclusive
Who is the main character of
could be
A. Remy
B. Linguini
C. Frank
D. Loyd
No Clues
Use homogeneous content
Watch grammar (“A” vs. “An”)
Parallel form
Similar in length - and when this
isn’t possible make sure there are 2
shorter and 2 longer responses
“All of the Above”
“None of the Above”
● If test takers can identify one answer as
incorrect/correct then they can also
discount the none of the above answers
● All of the above can be used - but do so
Logical Order
● Alphabetical
● Numerical
● Avoids bias
Complex Choices
What is the reason the restaurant closed in the end
of Ratatouille?
The health inspector found rats
Chef Skinner’s evil plot succeeded
Anton Ego’s review was scathing
A and B are correct
A, B, and C are correct
B and C are correct
Other Considerations
● Cultural Considerations
o Testing Center Examples:
 Common words (horizontal)
 Don’t assume understanding (+/-)
Suggested Solution: make partnerships with
other organizations on campus who focus on crosscultural assistance
Higher Order Questions
● Can create a large/detailed Stem
● Have several follow up questions that
refer to the Stem, this allows for deeper
Higher Order Recipes
● Turn essay question into a M/C question
o Consider elements of correct answer
o Make one of those elements the correct
o Turn non-essential elements of the essay
into the distractors
Recipe 1 Example as Essay ?
There were several Generative Approach
suggestions presented in class for teaching
melody. A) In this theory, what are the
important aspects to employ when planning
a melody lesson for 1st graders? B) What is
the preferred progression for teaching
melody sub-elements?
Recipe 1 M/C Example
Jerome Bruner’s learning theory could best be applied
to a music setting in which of the following scenarios?
A) Students begin to develop an understanding of pitch
by using sol-fege hand signs. Ks learn only sol, etc.
B) Students begin to develop an understanding of
rhythm by walking to/tapping a steady beat in K, using
bars for duration in 1st/2nd, notes in 3rd, etc.
C) Students learn pitch and matching by hearing/
echoing a teacher in K. By 3rd they learn by note.
Recipe 2
● As with all assessments, ensure
assessments are aligned with
objectives and instruction
● Use some means for students to
problem solve
o Scenario
o Graph/Chart
Recipe 2 Example - Scenario
Mrs. Liu’s students completed research papers on life in colonial times.
The students worked on their papers for several weeks and turned in
their final versions at the end of the marking period. Mrs. Liu evaluated
the papers and used the scores she assigned to help determine the
students’ report card grades for that marking period.
This is an example of what type of assessment?
Recipe 2 Example - Diagram
In the diagram above, parallel light rays pass through a convex lens and
converge to a focus. They can be made parallel again by placing a:
a. concave lens at point B.
b. concave lens at point C.
c. second convex lens at point B.
d. second convex lens at point C. **
Time to Write Your Own
Questions for us?
Our next workshop on Test
Question Writing
September 24th
3 PM
Where?: 301, RFH