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Writing MCQ

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					                  Georgetown University

       Center for New Designs in Learning & Scholarship and Office of
                                        Faculty and Academic Affairs
      Writing Multiple Choice Questions

                                           Aviad Haramati, PhD
                                       Peggy A. Weissinger, EdD
                                          Georgetown University
                                             School of Medicine


9/14/2011                     CNDLS & OFAA                              1
                            Georgetown University
                     Congruence!

             Objectives




Activities                Assessment
                                                  2
                     Adapted from Felder & Brent ( 1991)
                        What am I testing?
Core Principles:
 Decide exactly what you want to test.
 Eliminate as many ambiguities as possible.
 Create distractors based firmly on what you want to
  test.
 After it is over, use it as a learning opportunity!
   – Give feedback for your distracters which explains
     why they’re wrong.
   – Give feedback for the correct answer explaining
     why it’s right.

       Adapted from http://hotpot.uvia.ca/howto/mcquestion.htm
                     TLISI - Georgetown University               3
                                  Technical Flaws

Issues Related to Irrelevant Difficulty
 Options long, complicated, or double
 Numeric data not stated consistently
 Terms in options are vague
 Language in options not parallel
 Options in non-logical order
 Stems are tricky or unnecessarily complicated


   Reference: Case & Swanson (NBME) Constructing Written Test Questions
                       TLISI - Georgetown University                      4
                                                   Item Shape
Appropriately Shaped Item

Long Stem

 a.
 b.
 c.
 d.
 e.

Poorly Shaped Item
Short Stem
a.
b.
c.
d.
5/21/08                 TLISI - Georgetown University       5
e.
               When Writing Options...

…make sure that they are:
 Homogenous in content
 Incorrect or inferior to the correct answer
 Plausible and attractive to the uninformed
 Similar to the correct answer in construction
 Grammatically consistent and logically
  compatible with the stem



   Reference: Case & Swanson (NBME) Constructing Written Test Questions
                       TLISI - Georgetown University                      6
                          General Guidelines
 Bulk of question in the stem.
 Try “cover-the-options” test.
 Avoid superfluous information.
 Avoid “tricky” and overly complex items.
 Write grammatically consistent options.
 Avoid absolutes! (e.g. always, never, all)

And most important: Focus on important
  concepts. Don’t waste time testing trivial facts.

   Reference: Case & Swanson (NBME) Constructing Written Test Questions
                       TLISI - Georgetown University                      7
                  Pulling it together!

Summary:
 Decide what you want to test.
 Well-written objectives make the job easier.
 Use guidelines for writing quality MCQ.
 Local resources here to help!




                                                 8
                  Contact information



   Aviad Haramati                   Peg Weissinger
   haramati@georgetown.edu          paw33@georgetown.edu
   202-687-1021                     202-687-4556




9/14/2011             CNDLS & OFAA                         9
                    Georgetown University

				
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