Developing and validating multiple choice exam items
When “none of the above” is used as an alternative, test-takers who can eliminate a single option can thereby eliminate a second option.
The cognitive load is increased when the stem is constructed with an initial or interior blank, so this construction should be avoided.There is little difference in difficulty, discrimination, and test score reliability among items containing two, three, and four distractors. , in which some or all of the alternatives consist of different combinations of options.As with “all of the above” answers, a sophisticated test-taker can use partial knowledge to achieve a correct answer. Savvy test-takers can use information in one question to answer another question, reducing the validity of the test.A question stem is preferable because it allows the student to focus on answering the question rather than holding the partial sentence in working memory and sequentially completing it with each alternative (Statman 1988). The function of the incorrect alternatives is to serve as distractors,which should be selected by students who did not achieve the learning outcome but ignored by students who did achieve the learning outcome.
The cognitive load is increased when the stem is constructed with an initial or interior blank, so this construction should be avoided. Alternatives that are implausible don’t serve as functional distractors and thus should not be used.A stem that presents a definite problem allows a focus on the learning outcome.