Multiple… Choice?

23 Mar

We have all taken them, and probably given them, the dreaded multiple choice test.  Although they are convenient, how much do they actually assess?

Recently I have been in a class that had only multiple choice tests and I found myself wondering what the point was of even doing them?  If they are made good, they can show some things, but if they are made badly, then they seem to be completely useless.

I understand that in some cases a multiple choice test are the only option necessary (or so the teacher might believe), but if they can be avoided then why aren’t they done so?

The first type of assessment I have encountered in my pre-internship, not administrated by myself, has been multiple choice.  While going through the quiz I wondered how much I could actually understand of the students knowledge depending on which letter they circled.  The only beneficial aspect of this quiz was going over it question by question, and actually seeing if the students could do the questions when they were asked.

So if that is the purpose of the quiz then why do it at all?

The real purpose of the quiz is quite simple: a grade.  There needs to be a numerical number to attach to a students name in order to make up the grade for the course.

If we are teaching students to understand we should be teaching for understanding not teaching for a grade.


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