A Chaotic (But Useful) Guide To Making Multile-Choice Questions

We’ve done somewhat of an inadvertent series of posts recently on multiple choice assessments. With so many tools out there that aid teachers in assessing what their students know and are learning, many have started questioning the long used methods of assessment and looking at how they’re changing along with the ever reshaping landscape of our classrooms and learning tools.

The handy infographic below is a fun look at making useful and targeted multiple choice questions, and while it is fun to look at, it points out a few important tidbits that struck me as being important to remember whether you’re using technology to assess your students or whether you’re doing it the old fashioned way. Keep reading to learn more.

Multiple Choice Assessments

  • Questions in a multiple choice assessment are called the “Stem”.
  • The stem should be long, relevant, and topical.
  • The answer options should be shorter.
  • For each question, there is a key answer, and distractors.
  • The distractors should be plausible answers, true statements (when possible) , and about the same length as the key.
  • Using options like ‘all of the above’ or ‘none of the above’ are less effective distractors – they don’t force the student to actually know the answer.
  • Negation, idioms, and trick questions are more likely to be answered incorrectly by an A student, but more likely to be answered correctly by a C student – so use real questions!
  • Multiple choice assessments can measure (generally) all but one level of thinking from Bloom’s Taxonomy: Creating.
  • Multiple choice assessments are excellent at measuring the other five levels of thinking: Remembering, Understanding, Applying, Analyzing, and Evaluating.

multiple choice graphic