Developing and validating multiple choice test item minute speed dating

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The key to taking advantage of these strengths, however, is construction of good multiple choice items.

A multiple choice item consists of a problem, known as the stem, and a list of suggested solutions, known as alternatives. A stem that presents a definite problem allows a focus on the learning outcome.

A stem that presents a problem that requires application of course principles, analysis of a problem, or evaluation of alternatives is focused on higher-order thinking and thus tests students’ ability to do such thinking.

There is little difference in difficulty, discrimination, and test score reliability among items containing two, three, and four distractors. , in which some or all of the alternatives consist of different combinations of options.

This book explains writing effective multiple-choice test items and studying responses to items to evaluate and improve them, two topics that are very important in the development of many cognitive tests.

Multiple choice test items can be written to assess various levels of learning outcomes, from basic recall to application, analysis, and evaluation.

Volumes devoted solely to mc item writing and validation are rare.

Several writers have commented about the lack of research on item writing (e.g., Cronbach, 1971; Haladyna & Downing, 1989a, 1989b; Nitko, 1985).

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