[Posted for the Kerala University English Teacher Educator’s Forum - KUETEF]
The Government College of Teacher Education, Thiruvananthapuram hosted a Creative Workshop on preparation of Multiple Choice Questions (MCQ’s) on 09 March 2016. Dr.G.R.Santhosh Kumar welcomed the Resource Person Prof. Reghunatha Pillai. Guidelines to be followed while preparing MCQ’s were provided with illustrative examples. Subject convenors of the revised BEd Curriculum and several other invited teacher educators from different colleges in the State, participated in the Workshop.
The following are based on notes prepared during the Workshop.
* The focus should be on preparation of questions based on conceptual, theoretical and pedagogical aspects of the BEd course.
* Reduce to the minimum questions which merely checks memory (Eg; Who is the author of……?)
*Prepare more questions which involves application of theoretical knowledge.
*A question will have a stem and it should have only one correct answer. All the other distractors should give the impression that they are correct too.
*While preparing an MCQ, assume the role of a judge…overcome the urge to punish the learner.
*The stem should be simple….No attempt should be made to make the stem display the knowledge of the question setter…Long quotations from books if used as stem would make it look pedantic.
*The distractor must be real, sensible and plausible.
*None of the distractors should give the student a clue about the correct answer.
*All distractors should be of the same length(Number of words used in each distractor should be more or less the same.)
*If the distractor contains ‘Year’, arrange them in chorological order.
*If the distractor contains ‘Names’ , arrange them in alphabetical order.
*If distractors contain names of people, all the names should be full.( Avoid ‘Tagore’ for Rabindranath Tagore)
*Do not include questions that display bias. (Eg; The best work of Tagore is Gitanjali. Here a dramatist or a novelist might regard a play by Tagore as the best work!)
Lapses commonly found in MCQ’s
*Check agreement of subject and verb in the stem. (Boys like Soccer ü The boy like Soccer X)
*Check for correct use of comma.
*For a statement ending with a blank, do not put question mark.
Do’s and Don’t
*Give proper instruction.. An instruction such as : ‘Select the most appropriate answer from the brackets’ is not appropriate because four distractors A,B,C,D are given.
*Avoid humourous statements as distractors.
*Be impartial. Avoid questions that hurt religious or political sentiments.
*Follow a pattern. If for the first letter of the first word of a distractor capital letter is used, follow the same pattern for all the other distractors of the same question.
*Double check answers. Some answers might give a different idea related to the question for the student.
*Avoid stems that begin :Which of the following is not a….. If forced to use ‘not’ make it bold …not .
*As far as possible begin a stem with a question word. Where this is not possible go for a statement.
*Since the computer will be shuffling distractors, never include a distractor such as ‘None of the above’ or ‘All of the above’.
Notes prepared based on material on MCQ emailed to participants before the Workshop:
*The goal in preparing a MCQ is to test the student’s expertise.
*As far as possible avoid repeating in the distractor the same words used in the stem.
*Avoid using ‘never true’ or ‘always true’.
*Remember: Questions that are clear to one person often are imprecise to another. Find a friend or colleague who is willing to review your questions.
*Start by writing the stem first. Aim for a stem that presents a single problem and make it a problem related to a significant content in the course. Using a verb in the stem helps ensure it presents a problem clearly.
*Check for grammatical consistency between the stem and the options. If a distractor isn’t grammatically correct, students usually guess that the distractor is not the correct answer.
*Remember: It is easy to prepare questions based on Bloom’s level 1 and 2-Knowledge and Comprehension. Only a truly professional test question writer can prepare a well designed multiple choice items that can test high levels of student learning.
Dr. C. Praveen
Former Secretary, KUETEF and
Convenor, Curriculum Revision Two-year BEd (English)
University of Kerala