Creating Good Multiple Choice Questions

View the full schedule and past presentations on the Emerging Trends in Educational Technology page.

On Friday, October 12, 2018, Dr. Lindsay Schwarz from the UH College of Pharmacy presented to faculty at the Emerging Trends in Educational Technology series on how to create good multiple choice questions. In her presentation, she discussed the importance of writing questions from course objectives, the role of psychometric analysis for improving question writing, the parts of a multiple choice question, and best practices for creating reliable, consistent and valid questions.

A Few Takeaways

  • Creating multiple choice tests that really assesses student comprehension and competencies takes work! Time should be set aside for drafting, revising, and revisiting questions after each exam.
  • Tests shouldn’t be able to be “figured out” from the test material itself. All answer choices must be balanced, similar in length and appearance, and contain the same amount of information.
  • The cognitive load of the student should be directed toward the content the test seeks to assess, rather than the test itself. As such, questions should be direct and not overly narrative, answer choices should be short and specific, the ordering of the answer choices should not be burdensome for the students, and likewise student’s should feel like the instructor is trying to “trick” them.

Watch the Full Presentation

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Featured image by Ben Mullins

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