It’s good to regularly review the advantages and disadvantages of the very most widely used test questions and the test banks that now frequently provide them.
- Quick and easy to score, by hand or electronically
- Could be written in order that they test a range that is wide of thinking skills
- Can cover lots of content areas on a single exam and nevertheless be answered in a class period
- Often test skills that are literacy “if the student reads the question carefully, the answer is not hard to acknowledge even if the student knows little in regards to the subject” (p. 194)
- Provide students that are unprepared possibility to guess, sufficient reason for guesses which can be right, they get credit for things they don’t know
- Expose students to misinformation that can influence thinking that is subsequent the information
- Devote some time and skill to construct (especially good questions)
- Easy and quick to score
- Considered to be “one of the very unreliable kinds of assessment” (p. 195)
- Often written so that all of the statement holds true save one small, often trivial bit of information that then makes the whole statement untrue
- Encourage guessing, and reward for correct guesses
- Easy and quick to grade
- Fast and simple to write
- Encourage students to memorize terms and details, to ensure that their knowledge of this content remains superficial
- Offer students an opportunity to demonstrate knowledge, skills, and abilities in many ways
- Could be used to develop student writing skills, particularly the ability to formulate arguments supported with reasoning and evidence
- Require extensive time to grade
- Encourage usage of subjective criteria when assessing answers
- If found in class, necessitate quick composition without time for planning or revision, which can lead to poor-quality writing
Questions given by test banks
- Save instructors the hard work associated with writing test questions
- Use the terms and methods which can be found in the book
- Rarely involve analysis, synthesis, application, or evaluation (cross-discipline research documents that approximately 85 percent of this relevant questions in test banks test recall)
- Limit the scope regarding the exam to text content; if used extensively, may lead students to close out that the material covered in class is unimportant and irrelevant
We tend to believe that they are the only test question options, but there are some interesting variations. The article that promoted this review proposes one: focus on a concern, and revise it until it can be answered with one word or a phrase that is short. Try not to list any answer choices for that question that is single but put on the exam an alphabetized a number of answers. Students select answers from that list. A number of the answers provided may be used over and over again, some may possibly not be used, and there are many answers listed than questions. It’s a ratcheted-up version of matching. The test is made by the approach more difficult and decreases the possibility of getting an answer correct by guessing.
Remember, students do must be introduced to any new or altered question format before they encounter it on an exam.
Editor’s note: the menu of benefits and drawbacks will come in part through the article referenced here. It cites research evidence strongly related a few of these advantages and disadvantages.
Reference: McAllister, D., and Guidice, R.M. (2012). This might be only a test: A machine-graded improvement into the multiple-choice and true-false examination. Teaching in Higher Education, 17 (2), 193-207.
Reprinted from The Teaching Professor, 28.3 (2014): 8. © Magna Publications. All rights reserved.