Overheads for Unit 5--Chapter 8 (Multiple Choice)


OH 1
Multiple Choice: Format and Uses


  1. Knowledge outcomes
  2. Understanding and application


OH 2
Multiple Choice: Advantages and Limitations


    1. Learning outcomes from simple to moderately complex can be measured
    2. Highly structured and clear tasks are provided
    3. Broad sample of achievement can be measured
    4. Relatively free from response sets
    5. Incorrect alternatives provide diagnostic information
    6. Scoring is easy, objective, and reliable
    7. Compared to short-answer, less likely to be vague and ambiguous
    8. Compared to true-false, more reliable
    9. Compared to matching, requires less homogeneous material


OH 3
Multiple Choice: Advantages and Limitations


  1. Time consuming to construct good items (but higher quality for time spent)
  2. Often difficult to find plausible distracters
  3. Ineffective for measuring some types of problem solving, ability to organize and express ideas (because require selection, not production)
  4. Abstracted from factors in natural settings
  5. Scores can be influenced by reading ability


OH 4
Multiple Choice: General Suggestions for Constructing Them



For the stem:

  1. Present a single clearly formulated problem.
  2. Use simple, clear language and no irrelevant material.
  3. Put as much of the wording of the item as possible in its stem.
  4. State in positive form, whenever possible.
  5. Highlight any negative wording.

For the alternatives:

  1. All are parallel and grammatically consistent with the stem.
  2. Intended answer is correct or clearly best.
  3. Avoid verbal clues (e.g., verbal associations).
  4. Keep relative length from becoming a clue.
  5. Distracters are plausible and attractive to the uninformed.
  6. Minimize or avoid use of "none of the above" and "all of the above."
  7. Vary position of correct answer in a random order.


  1. Understanding items must have some, but not too much, novelty.
  2. Donít use multiple choice when other item types more appropriate.


OH 5
Ideas for Good Distracters

  1. Draw from studentsí most common errors
  2. Use important sounding words (sometimes)
  3. Include verbal associations with the stem
  4. Use textbook language
  5. Think of the most likely misunderstandings
  6. Keep alternatives parallel in form and grammatically consistent with the stem
  7. Keep alternatives homogeneous in content
  8. Keep alternatives similar in length, vocabulary, complexity, structure


OH 6
Multiple Choice Items: Do you know when to use them?

When are multiple choice items more appropriate or less appropriate than the following item types?


OH 7
Illustrative Stems for Multiple Choice Knowledge Items

(Source: Gronlund, 1998, Assessment of Student Achievement, p. 57)

  1. Knowledge of terminology
  2. Knowledge of specific facts
  3. Knowledge of conventions
  4. Knowledge of trends and sequences
  5. Knowledge of classifications and categories
  6. Knowledge of criteria
  7. Knowledge of methodology
  8. Knowledge of principles and generalizations
  9. Knowledge of theories and structures


OH 8
Illustrative Stems for Multiple Choice Comprehension and Application Items

(Source: Gronlund, 1998, Assessment of Student Achievement, p. 58)