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Multiple-Choice Tests: Revisiting the Pros and Cons

Given class sizes, teaching loads, and a host of other academic responsibilities, many teachers feel as though multiple-choice tests are the only viable option. Their widespread use justifies a regular review of those features that make these tests an effective way to assess learning and ongoing consideration of those features that compromise how much learning they promote.

What multiple-choice testing has going for it.

Potential benefits of multiple-choice test questions when done right.

What’s problematic about multiple-choice testing.

If you regularly use multiple-choice tests, you ought to have a good working knowledge of the research associated with them. That can be acquired with one well-organized and easily understood “Teacher-Ready Research Review.”

Xu, X., Kauer, S., and Tupy, S. (2016). Multiple-choice questions: Tips for optimizing assessment in-seat and online. Scholarship of Teaching and Learning in Psychology, 2 (2), 147-158.

An article highlighting the research covered in the Xu, et al. appeared in the November 2016 issue of The Teaching Professor.

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