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Multiple-Choice Test Item Development - 14300_85
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Multiple-Choice  Stem  Formats
Phrase   the   stem   positively. If  you  must  use  a  negative,  highlight  it  (in  caps  or  underlined)  so  that  the  student  will notice   it   and   interpret   the   item   correctly. Use  clear,  unambiguous  wording  so  that  only  one  answer  is  correct. Include  words,  phrases,  and  so  on,  that  pertain  to  all  alternatives  rather  than  repeating them  in  the  alternative. Omit   information   not   essential   to   the   interpretation   of   a   test   item. If  the  test  item  uses  an  illustration  on  a  separate  illustration  form,  refer  to  the  illustration in  the  stem  by  figure  number. Use  complete  sentences  for  test  items  in  the  form  of  questions  and  end  them  with  a question   mark. Position   the   completion   of   an   incomplete   statement   test   item   near   or   at   the   end   of   the stem. Avoid  the  use  of  more  than  one  completion  position. Use  the  question  form  over  the  incomplete  statement  form  except  when  it  would  make  the test  item  grammatically  clumsy  or  difficult  to  understand. Test   only   one   idea   or   central   thought. Alternative    Construction You   must   exercise   care   when   designing   the   alternatives   for   multiple-choice   test   items.   Make sure   the   alternatives   are   plausible   and   fit   well   with   the   stem.   The   difficulty   of   the   item   will depend   largely   upon   the   alternatives.    The   more   closely   related   the   alternatives   are,   the   more difficult   it   is   for   students   to   select   the   correct   answer.   A   good   rule   is   to   develop   alternatives based  upon  common  misconceptions  by  students  and  inexperienced  job  incumbents.  You  may prepare   alternatives   based   on   how   students   might   incorrectly   manipulate   terms,   symbols,   and the  like.  An  additional  rule  is  to  look  at  the  correct  answer  and  determine  how  you  may  make it   incorrect.   Observe   the   following   requirements   in   developing   multiple-choice   alternatives: n  Include  only  one  correct  answer. n   Use   closely   related   alternatives. n  Use  alternatives  that  are  meaningful  and  not  subject  to  automatic  elimination  because  they are  irrelevant  or  unrelated  to  the  question. n  Do  not  use  interrelated  answers  (e.g.,   “c”  is  true  if  “a”  and  “b”  are  false). ~  Use  terms  with  which  students  are  familiar  or  that  you  can  explain  within  the  limits  of  the test  item. ~  Make  all  alternatives  approximately  the  same  length  and  of  the  same  complexity. n   Do   not   use   the   words   “always”   or   “never.” n  Do  not  use  alternatives  of  “all  of  the  above”  and  “none  of  the  above. 74

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