Avoid using negative wording. However, if you must use negative wording, highlight it
(e.g., in caps or underlined).
Punctuate alternatives to conform grammatically with the structure of the item stem.
If the stem is a question (i.e., a closed-stem) and the alternatives are complete sentences,
begin each alternative with a capital letter and end each one with a period.
If the stem is a question and the alternatives are incomplete sentences, begin each
alternative with a capital letter and use no end punctuation.
If the stem is an incomplete sentence (open-stem) with the response position at the end of
the stem, begin each alternative with a lowercase letter (except for proper nouns) and end
it with a period.
With the incomplete sentence test item,
make the wording of the alternatives
grammatically related to that of the item stem.
Randomly select the position of the correct answer among the alternatives to avoid any
patterns that may bias the test.
In items that involve numerical answers, arrange the alternatives in ascending or
Multiple-Choice Stem Formats
You will use two formats to construct the stem of multiple-choice test items; the closed and
Closed stem format. You may write closed stem items as a complete statement or incomplete
statement. The following is an example of a complete statement format:
EXAMPLE: Which of the following actions is required to remove a hinged
type 2 module on the MTRE Mk 7 Mod 2/4?
(a) Disconnect plates from the type 2 module.
(b) Insert T handle into quick release fasteners.
(c) Remove all Type 3 modules and connectors.
(d) Rotate hold down clamps to a vertical position.
The complete statement format has the advantage of forcing you to state the problem clearly
in the stem. It also reduces the possibility of giving students grammatical clues. A disadvantage
is that it may require lengthier responses.
The following is an example of an incomplete