Alternate Choice Test Items



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Alternate Choice Test Items

  • Easy to write (?), easy to grade, guessing is high
    • Good alternate choice tests are actually difficult to write
  • Many objectives can be tested quickly
  • Write items definitely
  • Use short statements
  • Avoid absolutes (always, all, never, only)
    • Alternatives: tend, generally, usually
  • You may require revision of false statements (underline & revise)

Alternate Choice Test Items

  • Trick questions are seldom appropriate
  • Avoid double negatives
    • Highlight or emphasize negatives
  • Avoid double-barreled items
  • Write approximately equal numbers of each alternative
  • Keep statements the same approximate length
  • Avoid a systematic order
  • Avoid taking statements directly from the text and placing them out of context
  • Use other symbols other than T/F, G/O, O/Q, N/M

Alternate Choice Test Items

    • T F - High IQ children always get high grades in school
    • Guns should not be outlawed unless they are never fired
    • The Duroc is a red breed of swine with erect ears

Matching Test Items

  • Easy to grade
  • Appropriate for associations between facts
  • Emphasize facts and memorization
  • Problems when using many scan sheets
  • Keep the list and descriptions short (8-12) & homogeneous
  • Arrange in a logical order

Matching Test Items

  • Use plausible distractors
  • Descriptions should be in the left column and longer
  • Lists should be in the right column and short phrases, words, or symbols
  • Descriptions should be numbers, lists lettered
  • Include more options than descriptors & instruct as such

Completion Test Items

  • Easy to write, easy to grade, guessing is low
  • Many answers could be correct
  • Refer to alternate choice rules
  • Avoid grammatical clues
  • Write items so there is a single word answer
  • A question is usually better
  • Omit only key words from statements
  • Avoid awkward sentences
    • Word so that the blank is near the end of the sentence

Essay/Short Answer Test Items

  • Easy to write, bears to grade, guessing is low, bluffing is high
  • Also measure communication skills
  • Write the items for specific answers
  • Grade on evidence instead of opinion
  • Avoid giving students options in answering
  • Establish reasonable time & page limits
  • Grade using a scoring scheme
    • Rubric

Multiple Choice Test Items

  • Hard to write, easy to grade, guessing is reasonable
  • Like alternate choice, items can become tricky
  • Use longer stems than choices
  • Use only one correct answer
  • Use plausible distractors
  • Avoid grammatical clues & double negatives
  • Avoid negative statements
    • If used … emphasize the negative
  • Include 4-5 options … Put in logical order
  • Avoid “None of the Above” and “All of the Above”

Multiple Choice Test Items

  • Red pigs with droopy ears are __________
  • A. Hampshire
  • B. Yorkshire
  • C. Duroc
  • D. Hard of hearing
  • E. None of the Above
  • F. All of the Above

Quantitative Item Analysis

  • A numerical method for analyzing test items (usually alternate choice, matching, or multiple choice)
    • Difficulty Index (P) – The proportion of students who answered the item correctly
    • Discrimination Index (D) – Measure of the extent to which a test item differentiates between students who do well and those who do not do well

Quantitative Item Analysis

  • The Discrimination Index
    • Positive – Those who did well chose the correct answer more than those who did poorly
    • Negative – Those who did poorly chose the correct answer more than those who did well
    • Zero – No discrimination between those who did well and poorly

Qualitative Item Analysis

  • Are the items based on the objectives?
  • Do the distracters distract?
  • Is there only one correct answer?
  • Or do the students have to find the “MOST” correct answer?


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