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Deciding which exam question type to use

Fixed-Choice questions: Require students to select the correct response from several alternatives or supply a word or short phrase to answer a question. Include multiple-choice, true/false, matching, and completion questions.

Most appropriate when:

Open-Ended questions: Require students to write and present an original answer. Include short-answer essay, extended-response essay, problem solving, and performance tasks.

Most appropriate when:

Use either type of exam to:

The type of exam used should match the learning objectives of the course!

Additional information

Gronlund, N. E. (1998). Assessment of student achievement. Boston: Allyn and Bacon.

Hellyer, S. (n.d.). A teaching handbook for university faculty. Chapter 3: essay tests. Retrieved October 1, 1998 from Indiana University Purdue University at Indianapolis Web site: http://www.iupui.edu/~profdev/handbook/chap3.html (URL no longer correct).

Hellyer, S. (n.d.). A teaching handbook for university faculty. Chapter 9: Multiple-choice exams. Retrieved October 1, 1998 from Indiana University Purdue University at Indianapolis Web site: http://www.iupui.edu/~profdev/handbook/chap9.html (URL no longer correct).

Improving Your Test Questions. Retrieved July 21, 2006 from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Office of Instructional Resources, Division of Measurement and Evaluation Web site: http://www.oir.uiuc.edu/dme/exams/ITQ.html

Sevenair, J. P., & Burkett, A. R. (1997). Overview of the multiple-choice format. Retrieved July 21, 2006 from the Xaviar University of Louisiana Web site: http://webusers.xula.edu/jsevenai/objective/overview.html

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