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Peer Review

Writing Multiple Choice Test Items

by Thomas Dohm


Overall Numeric Rating:

4 stars
Content Quality: 4.5 stars
Effectiveness: 3 stars
Ease of Use: 4.5 stars
Reviewed: May 09, 2005 by Teacher Education
Overview: This tutorial from the University of Minnesota Office of Measurement Services is
written for UM faculty to assist them in creating course exams using multiple
choice test items. Multiple-Choice (MC) items have many advantages that make
them widely used and highly regarded. They also have disadvantages, some of
which can be reduced by careful attention to good item-writing and item analysis

Type of Material: Tutorial
Recommended Uses: Guideline for developing Multiple Choice test items for evaluation of teaching
and learning. Teacher preparation classes might use the material on multiple
choice testing for the teaching of assessment. College and high school
instructors could use the information on creating strong test items.
Technical Requirements: None
Identify Major Learning Goals: Provide the reader with information to appropriately construct a multiple choice
(MC) test item.
The reader will identify the advantages and disadvantages of a multiple-choice
test item, and capitalize the advantages by following the easy to follow guides.

Target Student Population: Pre-service and in-service teachers as well as university faculty. This is
appropriate for undergraduate, graduate, and faculty development activities.
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills: None

Evaluation and Observation

Content Quality

Rating: 4.5 stars
Strengths: Content is accurate and reflects best practices currently in use by educational
Content is appropriately sequenced.
Concerns: The learning object could be improved by providing examples of best, good, and
poor items. A discussion of each example would make the material much clearer.

Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool

Rating: 3 stars
Strengths: Clear, sequential in the layout of construction beginning with advantages and
ending with guidelines for writing the stem and the distractors. The site could
be used as a resource for potential teachers. As well, the materials might be
useful for research and assessment classes.
Concerns: Just another read. This information can be found in most any textbook on
educational assessment. It does not seem to provide anything new, and lacks
appropriate examples that would make the narriative easier to understand and

Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty

Rating: 4.5 stars
Strengths: Easy to read, it is just a matter of scrolling down the page with no
Concerns: Because there is no interaction with the learning material, viewers could easily
pass this object.
There are other areas on the page that would take the reader into a very
different direction. This learning object appears to be part of a faculty
development project at the Univesity of Minnesota, but the items on the right
side of this page draws the viewer to explore and may in-fact take away from the
impact of this object.

Other Issues and Comments: