ERIC Number: ED307298
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1989
Reference Count: N/A
The Validity of Two Item-Writing Rules.
Crehan, Kevin; Haladyna, Thomas M.
The present study involved the testing of two common multiple-choice item writing rules. A recent review of research revealed that much of the advice given for writing multiple-choice test items is based on experience and wisdom rather than on empirical research. The rules assessed in this study include: (1) the phrasing of the stem in the form of a question versus a partial sentence; and (2) the use of the inclusive "none of the above" option instead of a specific content option. Limited empirical research suggests that using the partial sentence format and the inclusive "none of the above" option may lead to undesirable item and test characteristics, while textbook authors essentially are divided on their opinions about the validity of each rule. The items used in this study were from the instructor's manual for D. Myer's (1986) text entitled "Psychology." Items were randomly assigned to be rewritten to reflect the experimental conditions under investigation. Two instructors of an introductory psychology course selected 32 multiple-choice items for the study. The rewritten tests were administered to 228 students enrolled in two sections of an introductory psychology class. About half of the students in each section received Form A and the other half received Form B, resulting in 115 Form A and 113 Form B responses. The same manipulated items were combined with 18 different non-manipulated items in a third section of the class to comprise Forms C and D, whose administration resulted in 59 Form C and 59 Form D responses. Results offer no evidence to support the use of either type of stem and limited evidence to caution against use of the "none of the above" option. Two data tables and examples of the four item formats used are provided. (TJH)
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A