Benefits and drawbacks of various kinds of Test Questions

Benefits and drawbacks of various kinds of Test Questions

It’s good to regularly review the benefits and disadvantages of the most commonly used test questions while the test banks that now frequently provide them.

Multiple-choice questions

  • Easy and quick to score, by hand or electronically
  • May be written so they test a wide variety of higher-order thinking skills
  • Can cover a lot of content areas on a exam that is single still be answered in a course period
  • Often test skills that are literacy “if the student reads the question carefully, the clear answer is not hard to acknowledge even when the student knows little concerning the subject” (p. 194)
  • Provide students that are unprepared opportunity to guess, sufficient reason for guesses that are right, they get credit for things they don’t know
  • Expose students to misinformation that can influence subsequent thinking about this content
  • Devote some time and skill to make (especially good questions)

True-false questions

  • Easy and quick to score
  • Regarded as “one of the most unreliable kinds of assessment” (p. 195)
  • Often written to ensure the majority of the statement holds true save one small, often trivial bit of information that then helps make the whole statement untrue
  • Encourage guessing, and reward for correct guesses

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