“Essay tests let students display their overall understanding of a topic and demonstrate their ability to think critically, organize their thoughts, and be creative and original.
While essay and short-answer questions are easier to design than multiple-choice tests, they are more difficult and time-consuming to score.
However, multiple choice test is unbiased, and it’s easy to check the test in that format.
Designing tests is an important part of assessing students understanding of course content and their level of competency in applying what they are learning.
There are two general categories of test items: (1) objective items which require students to select the correct response from several alternatives or to supply a word or short phrase to answer a question or complete a statement; and (2) subjective or essay items which permit the student to organize and present an original answer.
Objective items include multiple-choice, true-false, matching and completion, while subjective items include short-answer essay, extended-response essay, problem solving and performance test items.The following ideas may be helpful as you begin to plan for a multiple choice exam: This information can help you identify areas in which students need further work, and can also help you assess the test itself: Were the questions worded clearly? If scores are uniformly high, for example, you may be doing everything right, or have an unusually good class.On the other hand, your test may not have measured what you intended it to.They give you more room to express your personal viewpoints related to the topic.Also, there is always a chance to earn some points when you answer an open-ended question.Different readers can rate identical responses differently, the same reader can rate the same paper differently over time, the handwriting, neatness or punctuation can unintentionally affect a paper's grade and the lack of anonymity can affect the grading process.While impossible to eliminate, scoring influences or biases can be minimized through procedures discussed later in this booklet. Multiple-choice, true-false and matching items can be correctly answered through blind guessing, yet essay items can be responded to satisfactorily through well written bluffing.Whether you use low-stakes and frequent evaluations–quizzes–or high-stakes and infrequent evaluations–midterm and final–careful design will help provide more calibrated results.Multiple choice questions can be difficult to write, especially if you want students to go beyond recall of information, but the exams are easier to grade than essay or short-answer exams.Also, if the question weights 5 points and you get the answer wrong, you will lose all of that.As regards to essay or open-ended questions, they enable one to think, analyze, elaborate and come to a conclusion.