- Three-option questions are optimal for most examinees. Three-option questions provides the most information at the mid range of the score scale, two-option questions provides the most information for high-scoring examinees, and the four- and five-option questions provide the most information for low-scoring examinees.
- Use question format rather than sentence completion format.
- Use as many functional distractors as are feasible. Eliminate dysfunctional distractors.
- Type K questions (i.e. where each option includes combination of answers such as A) 1, 2, and 3, B) 2 or 3, etc.) are more inefficient to construct, more laborious to read, make a heavier cognitive demand on the students. They can be used to measure complex, higher level thinking skills.
- Place the keys to the questions equally in different positions throughout the exam.
- Avoid incorrect grammar that may clue the examinees to the correct option.
- Humor in the options lowers test anxiety.
- Word the question positively and avoid negative phrasing.
- Common student errors can be used to make up distractors.
- "All of the above" option makes the questions more difficult and less discriminating.
- Avoid, or use sparingly, the option "None of the above". Similar to "All of the above", the questions are more difficult, less discriminating, and test scores are less reliable.
Haladyn, T. and Downing S. (1989). Validity of a Taxonomy of Multiple-Choice Item-Writing Rules. Applied Measurement in Education. 2(1), pp 51- 78.
Haladyn T. and Downing S. (1989). A Taxonomy of Multiple-Choice Item-Writing Rules. Applied Measurement in Education. 2(1), pp 37 - 50.