Article: “Five Tips for Using Multiple-Choice Tests to Bolster Learning”

Well, if this is correct, then I need to make the textbook questions easier. Here’s what doesn’t make sense to me. In my view, the purpose of multiple select questions is not to get students to use higher order thinking skills, but, rather to assure they are not getting an answer correct simply by process of elimination. Also, by making the questions difficult to answer by process of elimination, we are enabled to let them take multiple attempts at a quiz (for full credit) without putting too much pressure on them. If we let them take multiple attempts for full credit with easy quizzes, then they can pass easily without knowing anything. (Think, for example, of the student in an online section a few years ago who admitted he didn’t even read the Soomo Get the Gist questions; I suspected many students didn’t read the sections, but even I, cynical as I am, assumed they at least read the questions!) But if we give them only one or two attempts for full credit at an easy quiz, then we put more pressure on them. Personally, I like unlimited attempts at difficult-but-low-pressure quizzes. But I’m always open to following what the research says. I know students don’t like the difficult multiple select questions, and this research shows that students who make an earnest effort at answering correctly after reading a section will learn from missing the quizzes if they are relatively simple. Plus the easy quizzes are easier to write, so that’s another reason I wouldn’t mind following what this research seems to suggest. Any thoughts on this?

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