How to write better multiple choice quizzes: An evidence-informed approach
(From Teaching with Moodle)
A recent paper examined the effects of multiple choice quizzes (MCQs) on students' learning* and best practices for optimising learning from MCQs (Butler, 2018). Simply put, Moodle's quiz module can be leveraged to produce substantial learning gains, especially with frequent low/no-stakes quizzes to review previously studied material. I've summarised and elaborated on the paper's findings as follows:
1- Don’t use complex (multi-stage) MCQs. Too complex, too easy to get it wrong, less reliable than simple, don’t add anything to learning/test validity.
2- Target specific (and hopefully authentic) cognitive processes with MCQs, e.g. individual definitions (item specific) and compare & contrast (relational). What decisions/distinctions do learners have to make in practice?
3- Don’t use “None of the above” or “All of the above” (see #1 = complex MCQs).
4- Only 3 options = 1 correct + 2 high quality (plausible) distractors. More aren’t necessary and can have negative effects.
5- MCQs should be challenging to learners but not too difficult (or too easy), i.e. should test ILOs at the level taught.
6- Extra: Provide appropriate feedback on wrong answers. Feedback can be:
corrective (i.e. give the correct answer),
directive (i.e. tell the learner how to get to the correct answer; the process),
or epistemological (i.e. use further questions to elicit the learners’ relevant knowledge about the
depending on learners’ proficiency/knowledge in the subject matter.
*Also see the testing effect (e.g. Roediger & Karpicke, 2006), also known as retrieval practice (e.g. Agarwal, Roediger, McDaniel, & McDermott, 2018)
Being both a Moodle content developer and a classroom teacher can work if your school/education system embedded blended or some form of online learning and gets rid of outdated time consuming tasks that teachers find themselves doing. Just today I had an email from a DT member who's school has done just that.
Steve Rogerson wrote: we currently use Moodle as an online assessment tool as well and so we no longer write summative reports at the end of a Semester but give immediate feedback to students through Moodle.
Taking the focus and pressure off old fashioned report writing and assessing through Moodle is one way to change.
What do you think?