How to create multiple-choice questions

  • The stem includes unnecessary information at the beginning which is only distracting the attention, actually.
  • One needs to be very cautious not to pick the wrong combination of letters. Do we want to know who remembers the name of the author or is this a visual acuity test?
  • There are two options that very few people will select: the last two. They are so easily discarded that are useless. Incorrect options — distractors, are they are called in Psychometry settings — must have a plausible appearance. If they don’t survive a quick scan of the options, we are doing it wrong.
  • A and C are correct: If A and C refer to different concepts, putting the two in the same answer is like asking about both concepts at the same time. Two birds same rock, right? Well, since A and C are separate concepts, wouldn't it be better to split it into two questions? If we analyze the responses afterwards and we see that this item (question) has problems (for example, everybody gets it right or wrong), how could we distinguish the concept that is causing confusion from the one that it isn’t? Our measurement instrument must be as precise and clean as possible. I believe people use this structure because it saves time and the effort of having to come up with more distractors and questions.
  • All of the above: The slack about writing additional questions and distractors taken to the utmost extent.

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