A new study argues that some of the most common practices within a multiple choice test are not actually good for measuring learning.
For those of us who hate standardized tests, we may suspect that multiple choice questions are designed more to trip us up than to actually help us learn. And we may be right. Multiple choice tests are a popular assessment tool used to test the knowledge of students and professionals. But a new study argues that some of the most common practices within a multiple choice test are not actually good for measuring learning.
For the Journal of Applied Research in Memory and Cognition, Andrew Butler of Washington University in St. Louis reviewed the literature of test-taking and came away with evidence-based tips of what does and does not work. Top of his list of don’ts: complex question formats. He found that complex question-and-answer formats confuse participants and question formats should “challenge students but allow them to succeed often, and target specific cognitive processes that correspond to learning objectives.”