Tips for developing and administering multiple-choice tests

by Antionette Rollins
Master’s student, University of Florida

While multiple choice testing is not an ideal form of testing, it may be the only option for educators in some cases—especially when teaching a large lecture course. Although these tests have their disadvantages, such as encouraging guessing and emphasizing recognition skills, they allow teachers to test a large number of students at once and are usually easier to grade than more subjective tests.

Here are some helpful DOs and DON’Ts if you ever find that you need to compose and administer a multiple choice test or quiz, which will probably be at least once in your teaching career.
DOs for creating multiple-choice tests
  • Test more than recognition
  • Put the majority of the words in the stem
  • Have only one clear answer
  • Use the same number of options throughout
  • Randomize correct answers
  • Make all distractors reasonable
DON’Ts for creating multiple-choice tests
  • Don’t use double negatives
  • Don’t have “all of the above” or “none of the above” options
  • Don’t use grammatically incorrect language—especially in distractors
  • Don’t try to trick students
Tips for administering multiple-choice tests
       Create different test forms
       Use different seating arrangements on test days
       Have students sign academic dishonesty pledge before tests
For more comprehensive lists and further information on multiple choice tests, please visit The Learning Coach and refer to the University of Florida’s teaching assistant handbook.
Antionette Rollins is a student in Mass Communication Teaching (MMC 6930).

1 thought on “Tips for developing and administering multiple-choice tests

  1. Pingback: Do’s and don’ts for creating multiple-choice tests | Strategies for Successful Teaching

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