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A couple rules for creating better choice options

Question stems
  • Focus on the correctness: Avoid questions that ask learners to identify incorrect information from a list of correct.
  • Construct each question to assess a single written objective.
  • Base each question on a specific problem stated clearly in the stem.
  • Do not include irrelevant material in the question stem.

Alternative choices

Multiple choice Alternative golden rule:
You are testing the test takers knowledge, not their ability to understand your question.

  1. Use plausible distracters that are functional. Common misconceptions normally work best.
  2. Word the alternatives clearly and concisely.
  3. Keep the alternatives mutually exclusive.
  4. Keep the alternatives homogeneous in content.
  5. Keep the alternatives free from clues as to which response is correct.
  6. Keep the grammar of each alternative consistent with the stem.
  7. Keep the alternatives parallel in form.
  8. Keep the alternatives similar in length.
  9. Avoid textbook, verbatim phrasing.
  10. Avoid the use of specific determiners such as never, always and only.
  11. Avoid including keywords in the alternatives.
  12. Avoid the alternatives “all of the above” and “none of the above”
  13. Include one and only one correct or clearly best answer in each item.
  14. Present the answer in each of the alternative positions approximately an equal number of times, in a random order. (The system handles this one for you.)
  15. Avoid using unnecessarily difficult vocabulary.
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