ERIC Number: ED428122
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1998-Oct-28
An Empirical Evaluation of Selected Multiple-Choice Item Writing Guidelines.
Sireci, Stephen G.; Wiley, Andrew; Keller, Lisa A.
Seven specific guidelines included in the taxonomy proposed by T. Haladyna and S. Downing (1998) for writing multiple-choice test items were evaluated. These specific guidelines are: (1) avoid the complex multiple-choice, K-type format; (2) state the stem in question format; (3) word the stem positively; (4) avoid the phrase "all of the above"; (5) avoid the phrase "none of the above"; (6) avoid specific determiners such as "always" or "never"; and (7) keep the length of options fairly consistent. These guidelines were evaluated by comparing statistical indices of item quality across items that do and do not violate one or more of these guidelines. The items and their statistics were taken from a recently administered, high-stakes, large-scale licensure examination, the Uniform Certified Public Accountant Examination. Only 1 of the 285 items evaluated violated the guidelines to avoid the phrases, "none of the above" and "all of the above"; and the determiners, "always" and "never." The only guideline supported by the data was avoiding the K-type item, since K-type items on this test tended to be more difficult and to have lower discrimination statistics. Results do not support the "state the stem in the question" guideline. Relatively few items violated more than one guideline. (Contains 8 tables and 10 references.) (SLD)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A