Pros and cons of Different Types of Test Questions

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

Multiple-choice questions

  • Quick and easy to score, by hand or electronically
  • Can be written in order that they test a range that is wide of thinking skills
  • Can cover plenty of content areas on a single exam and still be answered in a course period
  • Often test skills that are literacy “if the student reads the question carefully, the answer is not difficult to identify regardless of if the student knows little about the subject” (p. 194)
  • Provide students that are unprepared opportunity to guess, sufficient reason for guesses which are right, they get credit for things they don’t know
  • Expose students to misinformation that may influence subsequent thinking about this content
  • Take some time and skill to construct questions that are(especially good

True-false questions

  • Easy and quick to score
  • Regarded as “one of the very most unreliable forms of assessment” (p. 195)
  • Often written to make certain that most 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

Short-answer questions

  • Quick and easy to grade
  • Quick and easy to write
  • Encourage students to memorize terms and details, making sure that their comprehension of this content remains superficial
  • Offer students an opportunity to demonstrate knowledge, skills, and abilities in a variety of ways
  • Enables you to develop student writing skills, specially the capability to formulate arguments supported with reasoning and evidence

  • Require time that is extensive grade
  • Encourage usage of subjective criteria when assessing answers
  • If found in class, necessitate quick composition without time for planning or revision, which can end in poor-quality writing

Questions provided by test banks

  • Save instructors the right time and energy involved in writing test questions
  • Use the terms and methods that are used in the book
  • Rarely involve analysis, synthesis, application, or evaluation (cross-discipline research documents that approximately 85 percent regarding the relevant questions in test banks test recall)
  • Limit the scope for the exam to text content; if used extensively, may lead students to close out that the material covered in class is irrelevant and unimportant

We tend to think that they are the only test question options, but there are interesting variations. This article that promoted this review proposes one: Start with a concern, and revise it until it may be answered with one word or a phrase that is short. Do not list any answer choices for that single question, but put on the exam an alphabetized a number of answers. Students select answers from that list. Some of the answers provided works extremely well more than once, 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 should be introduced to your new or altered question format before they encounter it on an exam.

Editor’s note: The list of pros and cons is available in part from the article referenced here. It also cites research evidence relevant to a few of these benefits and drawbacks.

Reference: McAllister, D., and Guidice, R.M. (2012). This will be only a test: A machine-graded improvement to the multiple-choice and examination that is true-false. Teaching in advanced schooling, 17 (2), 193-207.

Reprinted from The Teaching Professor, 28.3 (2014): 8. essay writer © Magna Publications. All rights reserved.

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