Alternatives should be mutually exclusive. Alternatives should be homogenous in content. Alternatives that are heterogeneous in content can provide cues to student about the correct answer. Alternatives should be free from clues about which response is correct. Sophisticated test-takers are alert to inadvertent clues to the correct answer, such differences in grammar, length, formatting, and language choice in the alternatives.
In either case, students can use partial knowledge to arrive at a correct answer. The alternatives should be presented in a logical order e. The number of alternatives can vary among items as long as all alternatives are plausible.
Plausible alternatives serve as functional distractors, which are those chosen by students that have not achieved the objective but ignored by students that have achieved the objective. There is little difference in difficulty, discrimination, and test score reliability among items containing two, three, and four distractors.
Avoid complex multiple choice items , in which some or all of the alternatives consist of different combinations of options. Keep the specific content of items independent of one another. Savvy test-takers can use information in one question to answer another question, reducing the validity of the test.
Finally, designing alternatives that require a high level of discrimination can also contribute to multiple choice items that test higher-order thinking. Retrieved [todaysdate] from https: Multiple choice test items have several potential advantages: Constructing an Effective Stem 1. Constructing Effective Alternatives 1. Additional Resources Burton, Steven J.
Guidelines for University Faculty, Cheung, Derek and Bucat, Robert. How can we construct good multiple-choice items? Developing and validating multiple-choice test items, 2 nd edition. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Validity of a taxonomy of multiple-choice item-writing rules. Applied Measurement in Education , 2 1 , , Morrison, Susan and Free, Kathleen.
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