Friday, October 23, 2009

Multiple Choice Testing

Based on my experience with multiple-choice tests, I will generally prefer to take them to essay, short answer, or especially fill in the blank tests.  Even though multiple choice tests may not be a completely accurate assessment of our knowledge of the subject matter, it has several advantages but also some disadvantages.  Traditionally, multiple-choice tests are viewed as less stressful and easier to take than essay tests.  This may not necessarily be true, but I do not worry as much going into a multiple-choice test as I would when I know I have to take an essay test.  Multiple-choice tests are much easier to grade than essay tests.  In larger classes, this form of test is the more practical option and will save the professor from excessive grading.  It is also easier to test a larger amount of material with multiple-choice tests.  The questions can also be designed to assess both factual knowledge and critical thinking.

            I also find it easier to study for multiple-choice tests.  With essay tests, I feel like I need to memorize all of the material and know absolutely everything about the topics.  However, if I knew I was going to take a multiple choice test, I would be less worried about knowing everything about the material and be able to focus more on the main ideas of the content.  If I knew key words, I would be able to pick out the right answer from the choices provided.  I would still have to study for the test, but I would not have to worry about memorizing every little detail.

            There are some disadvantages to multiple-choice testing, however.  Because I do not have to know everything about a topic, I am less likely to remember in the long run.  I have found that I am more likely to forget what I am tested over right after the test.  With essay tests, I spend so much time learning the material that I will usually remember it for long periods of time.

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