Errors in the construction of multi-choice questions: An analysis

Zarrin Siddiqui

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This study investigated the frequency of errors in the construction of multiple- choice questions used for the assessment of para-clinical sciences in medical course at the University of Western Australia.
In all there were two hundred and ninety (290) questions reviewed to examine if they adhere to the uniformly accepted guidelines for writing multiple – choice questions. Of these, one hundred and fifty-one questions were already administered in examination so performance of distracters in those questions was also reviewed in addition to the guidelines for the construction of the questions.
38% of the reviewed questions did not adhere to general guidelines for their construction and 12% had more than one error. A placement bias was also observed in placing correct choices.
A number of flaws were identified in the review process which raises doubt about the use of objective test items as a true indicator of student learning. This review has led to changes in the assessment policy at Faculty level and Pre-examination reviews have been introduced to identify any flawed items before their administration in the examination. Regular series of workshops on item writing and item analysis have been arranged and a Faculty Teaching and Learning Grant was provided to create online resources on assessment.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)36 - 39
Number of pages4
JournalPakistan Journal of Medicine and Dentistry
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - May 2018


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