Designing Multiple-Choice Questions
Imagine you wake up and get four options for dress selection, but wait, you like all of them. It happens with all of them we always have to choose between things and then we prefer the best one among them. We all are supposed to solve multiple-choice questions in both study and practical life. But have you ever imagined what the science behind them is
Well, we are here to tell you how the thought behind multiple-choice questions and their design. But first, we need to understand what they are?
Multiple-choice questions are statements composed of two parts. One of them is the stem part and, the other part consists of distracters. In the stem part, a question is added. It is usually what the examiner is asking you. It consists of both the problem and the solution. On the other hand, the second part of multiple-choice questions consists of distracters like something indirectly linked with the problem. But has some connection with it. And under that statement, different plausible and incorrect answers are written in the form of the option.
All the options stem and, distracters make up multiple questions. There is always one best answer for one particular question. Different people respond differently to Mcqs. Some students consider stem as the main part, and some get distracted by the plausible.
Different methods used to designs stems and alternatives and, some of them are
The stem usually consists of the entire problem and, people address the dilemma in it. It is kept easy so that when someone reads it, they can solve it without looking at the options. It is a clear statement, speaking on its own. If you are designing a stem, make it clear and readable.Add relevant information to it, and do not repeat alternative information in it. If you add related data into it, students would be able to connect the options with the main idea of multiple-choice questions.
When designing the question, do not add excessive words to it. When you put extra alphabets in the stem, it distracts the reader, and they feel difficulty understanding the question. It creates confusion, and students waste their time clearing the uncertainty. To make a perfect stem, eliminate all the unnecessary information and words present in the sentence.
Alternatives are added in multiple-choice questions to make the statement look big and to distract the reader. But when you are creating questions remember adding too many will create a mess. The idea of the questions will get lost in the chaos of alternatives. And the reader will not get the main idea. Adding distractors is good, but putting too many of them is unnecessary.
Three to five alternatives are enough in one statement and if you are thinking of toting up more then, put a stop right there.
According to research, three options are enough and, they make your multiple-choice question implicit. When you add four or five choices, it means you are adding more distracters for readers and students. And giving too many distracters decreases the worth of Mcqs. For Islamiyat Mcqs, you can four or five-date options, but for practical subjects, it is unnecessary to provide five choices.
You can add three or four options for a multiple-choice question, but remember best one should be one. While making the distracters avoid having two or more correct answers at one time. When you add more than one right answer, it means you are decreasing the question's importance. And it also gets messy when you have to choose between two or three right options. When there is only one correct answer, you know that you have to pick one of them. But when you have more options you waste time in selecting as there is no specific reason behind selecting one answer correct.
How to design distracters?
Distracters are supposed to create confusion. And if you will make them simple and straight it means you are making the Mcqs a piece of cake for students. And it is against the examination criteria. The examination department rejects Mcqs with clear distracters. So, it is essential to make them conceptual. When you add distracters of the same length and relevant information, it means you are making your Mcqs game strong. If you make distracters farfetched, you are making it too easy for students to solve the question.
Strategies to use while designing Mcqs:
There are some general tips you can use to make your multiple-choice questions worth reading and, they include
Use familiar language:
The question should utilize the same terminology used in books. It should contain the words that are part of the course so that students are familiar with them. Try not to use the new articulations or unknown terms, except if there is a need in the statement.
Avoid giving the verbal association
Using the same keywords in both the statement and options is like giving verbal association to students. Because students pick the similarity and get the answer very quickly when they use similar words in options as well.
Avoid bolding the negative words:
When you bold the negative words like 'Not', it means you are forcing the students to find the right option in the first go. Negative words are a kind of distraction and should not be highlighted if used in the statement. Keep them in the same font to give a normal look to your question.
Nisar Ahmad is a digital marketing expert from Media Hicon for many years. He considers bringing all the keywords to the top of his duty and constantly.