This is a follow on post from Hidden Gems in Moodle's quiz.
When we first start building Moodle quizzes, we're often so delighted by the idea of having all our grading automatically done for us that we don't focus too much on the actual design of the questions. And yet, poorly thought-out multiple choice questions can result in students gaining credit undeservedly (even with CBM!) I was inspired at the Edinburgh Moodle Moot by Dr Jane Holland's presentation on writing good quiz questions, and during Tim Hunt's Quiz workshop we also discussed the pitfalls of badly phrased MCQs.
If you search both on these forums and on the internet, you'll find a number of useful sites offering advice on how best to design unambiguous and challenging multiple choice questions. Here are just a few of the common design errors - and there is a test at the end to see what you have retained
- Don't give away the answer in the question or in a question that comes later in the test.
(I did this myself only yesterday!)
- Don't put obviously wrong answers in (even if for comic effect)
- Don't let your sentence structure give away the answers
(If "the answer is an..." make sure all your options start with vowels. If "the answers are..." make sure all your options are plural.
- Don't use a pattern for correct answers.
(If all your correct answers are B, students will soon work this out. Moodle can help by shuffling your options. Another idea is always to add your options in alphabetical order to avoid bias.)
- Don't be too detailed in the correct answer
(I've done this too; I want to get the correct answer as accurate as possible - and then it stands out amongst the other, shorter, less considered options.)
- Don't be negative or obscure.
As well as phrasing your questions as clearly as possible, it confuses your students's brains less if you phrase them in the affirmative:
(Which of these are NOT true? London is NOT the capital of England. No rivers flow through Birmingham.
This isn't testing your geography, but your grammatical understanding)
And now for the test! Here is a direct link to a quiz on our School demo site which you can take by logging in with the username teacher and password moodle. You won't understand a single word of it - but see if you can get 100%! It was published in the 1980s by Roger Lewis and is archived on Phil Race's website. If you'd like a copy for your own organisation, you can download the questions from Moodle.net.