14 tips for multiple-choice test construction

by Jing “Taylor” Wen
Ph.D. student, University of Florida

Jing "Taylor" Wen

Jing “Taylor” Wen

Multiple-choice test is widely used in many undergraduate courses to evaluate students learning. Instructors like multiple-choice tests because such tests offer flexibility for assessing a diversity of content, allow for reliable assessment of scores, and are efficient in terms of time involved in grading. The key to taking advantage of these strengths, however, is constructing good multiple-choice items

On the other hand, poorly constructed items encourage guessing and fail to measure the test taker’s learning. We have to admit that not every multiple-choice test question is well constructed and effective in measuring what students have learned in class. The following are tips for instructors to create better multiple-choice test items and avoid the mistakes frequently seen in the ill-constructed tests.

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Academic dishonesty: More than plagiarism and cheating on tests

by Jasper Fessmann
Ph.D. student, University of Florida

Jasper Fessmann

Jasper Fessmann

Academic dishonesty invokes in most teacher “copy and paste” plagiarism or attempts to cheat on tests. Unfortunately, these are things that will sooner or later be an issue encountered by any university teacher. While these are the most common types of problems, these are by far not the only issues.

The University of Florida Student Honor Code lists the following 12 offenses:

  1. Plagiarism
  2. Unauthorized Use of Materials or Resources (“Cheating”)
  3. Prohibited Collaboration or Consultation
  4. False or Misleading Statement Relating to a Student Honor Code Violation
  5. False or Misleading Statement for the Purpose of Procuring an Academic Advantage (“Lying”)
  6. Use of Fabricated or Falsified Information (“making things up”)
  7. Interference with or Sabotage of Academic Activity (of others in order to “get ahead”)
  8. Unauthorized Taking or Receipt of Materials or Resources to Gain an Academic Advantage (e.g. “stealing tests from the professor’s office”)
  9. Unauthorized Recordings
  10. Bribery
  11. Submission of Paper or Academic Work Purchased or Obtained from an Outside Source
  12. Conspiracy to Commit Academic Dishonesty

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Strategies for assisting students with disabilities — providing accommodations in college classes

by Kéran Billaud
Ph.D. student, University of Florida

Kéran Billaud

Kéran Billaud

Disabilities can affect physical movement, visual-spatial perception, sensitivity, concentration, and social interaction. Each one of these can make a lecture or lab more difficult than they need to be for a student who has disabilities.

Colleges and universities are required to provide accommodations for students with disabilities to create an equal learning environment for each student.

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Using Canvas tools to improve college classes

by Bobby Winsler
Ph.D student, University of Florida

Bobby WinslerCourse management systems (CMS) such as Canvas can be critical in elevating any college course, be it online or in person, to its optimal effectiveness. Canvas offers features such as quizzes, module creation, speedgrading, and grouping. Though the software includes many other options, those four features tend to be the most often used in the program.

Quizzes

The quiz tool is essential to studying student performance. Quizzes can be graded or used more as a survey tool for student feedback. The real beauty, however, is in the analytics. Not only can students see their grades and correct answers on completion, but the professor can also see which questions were missed and with what regularity. Professors can easily rewrite questions and resubmit the quiz. Questions can be varied by computer, and Canvas tracks how long a student stays on a question, which can help cut down on academic dishonesty of sharing or looking up answers.

For more information on Canvas’ quizzes, follow this link: http://guides.instructure.com/s/2204/m/4152/l/76769-what-do-quiz-results-look-like-in-canvas

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