Module Four - Part I
Objective Assessments
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There are several types of objective tests. The most common ones are: multiple choice, true-false (I call alternate choice), matching, and short answer. There are additional types, such as keyed response and interpretive exercise. I will focus on the most common ones and on interpretive exercise. We will not discuss keyed response, because it is really a matching type changed to the format of multiple choice. 

When you create your test for the project, you will need to follow the guidelines in your text for each of the types. 

Constructing Objective Test Items  

To construct objective test items, the teacher or the test maker need to have the following required skills:  

    1) Thorough grasp of the subject matter 

    2) Clear conception of the learning outcomes 

    3) Psychological understanding of students  

    4) Sound judgment, persistence, and creativity 

Types of Objective Tests 

Short Answer / Completion Items 
(See checklist in text on p. 157) 
  • Can be used to measure all levels of Bloom's taxonomy
  • Is typically used to measure the recall of factual information 
  • Reduces guessing 
  • Unsuitable for measuring complex learning outcomes difficulty of scoring dependent on student's level of writing (legibility, spelling, sentence construction)
True-False or Alternate Choice Items 
(See checklist in text on p. 165) 
  • Any item requiring only two possible options. This means when your choices are: true/false, fact/fiction, biography/autobiography, validity/reliability, or any time there are only two possible choices. This is why I prefer the term "alternate choice".
  • Students can respond to two or three times as many alternate choice items than multiple choice items. Alternate choice items are more efficient in terms of time.
  • Not especially useful past the knowledge level
  • Susceptible to guessing
  • Cannot be used as diagnostic 
Matching Items
(See checklist in text on p. 170) 
  • A set of words / terms that are to be matched with items from another set of  words / terms.
  • Can measure a lot of content in a short space. Matching items are more efficient in terms of space. 
  • Typically limited to measuring factual information
  • Susceptible to presence of irrelevant clues
  • Difficulty in finding homogeneous material
Multiple Choice Forms
(See checklist in text on p. 193) 
  • Maybe in the form of a question or a statement. This type of item has two parts: (1) the stem and (2) the options. The options are either distractors or the correct choice.
  • Can measure full range of Bloom's taxonomy
  • Easier to score and more objective (increases reliability); reduces opportunity for guessing
  • Does not require homogeneous material
  • Relatively free of response sets; results are amenable to diagnosis 
  • Limited to  problems
  • May not be appropriate for measuring problem-solving skills
  • Difficulty in finding a number of plausible distractors 

Plausible Distractor 

What are plausible distractors? They are distractors that appear correct to the student who has not studied the material. For example: 


    What is the capital of Florida? 

    a. Tallahassee 
    b. Miami 
    c. Orlando 
    d. Georgia 


The distractors for b and c are plausible, because they are cities in the state of Florida. D is not plausible, because it is not a city. Anyone looking at this question would automatically eliminate "d" as an option, and thereby, increase their chances of guessing the correct answer. 

Interpretive Exercise  

Complex achievement = those learning outcomes based on the higher mental processes (higher order thinking) such as, understanding, thinking skills, problem-solving  


    1. Consists of a series of items based on a common set of information (ex: a map, table, graph)  
    2. Possible to measure various levels of proficiency in any particular area  

    Forms and Uses 

    1. Ability to recognize inferences 
    2. Ability to recognize warranted and unwarranted generalizations 
    3. Ability to recognize assumptions 
    4. Ability to recognize the relevance of information  
    5. Ability to apply principles  
    6. Use of pictorial materials  


    1. Ability to measure interpretation of written materials  
    2. Ability to measure more complex learning outcomes  
    3. Greater depth and breadth can be obtained in the measurement  
    4. Minimizes the influence of irrelevant factual information  
    5. Forces students to use only the mental processes called for  
    6. Can measure separate aspects of the problem-solving process  
    7. Can be scored objectively  


    1. Difficulty in constructing items and finding appropriate introductory material  
    2. Introductory material may rely too heavily on reading ability  
    3. Measures separate aspects, not the whole problem-solving process  
    4. Limited to outcomes at the recognition level  

    Suggestions for Constructing  
    1. Select introductory material that is relevant to the objectives of the course  
    2. Select introductory material that is appropriate to the students' curricular experience and reading level  
    3. Select introductory material that is new to the students  
    4. Select introductory material that is brief but meaningful  
    5. Revise introductory material for clarity, conciseness and greater interpretive value  
    6. Construct test items that require analysis and interpretation of the introductory material  
    7. Make the length of test items roughly proportional to the length of the introductory material  
    8. In constructing test items for an interpretive exercise, observe all pertinent suggestions for constructing other objective test items  

Evaluating Test Items  

When evaluating test items, check to see that:  

    1. There are no spelling or grammatical errors 
    2. The formatting makes the test easier to take 
    3. There are no unnecessary clues in the stem 
    4. The reading / writing levels are appropriate 
    5. The items / questions have student appeal 
    6. The items / questions are free of superfluous material 
    7. There are no tricky phrases or clauses 

    Chapter 6, Constructing Objective Test Items: Simple Forms 
    Chapter 7, Constructing Objective Test Items: Multiple Choice Forms 
    Chapter 8, Measuring Complex Achievement: The Interpretive Exercise
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