ERIC Number: ED400270
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1996-Apr
Reference Count: N/A
Must All Stems Be Green? A Study of Two Guidelines for Writing Multiple Choice Stems.
Rachor, Robert E.; Gray, George T.
Two frequently cited guidelines for writing multiple choice test item stems are: (1) the stem can be written in either a question or statement-to-be-completed format; and (2) only positively worded stems should be used. These guidelines were evaluated in a survey of the test item banks of 13 nationally administered examinations in the physician specialty and allied health professions prepared by the American College Testing program. These items had been written and reviewed by content specialists, and had been professionally edited. Mean item difficulty and discrimination were compared for each test using separate t-tests. Although a relatively strong case for the question format and for positively worded item stems may be made based on considerations related to grammar and reading comprehension, this study offered little research support for these item writing rules. It must be recognized that these examinations have been prepared for subjects at high educational levels; item stem characteristics may be more important for lower achievement levels and less carefully edited tests. (Contains four tables and five references.) (SLD)
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A