There is some scepticism as to whether multiple-choice questions are useful. A while ago, I shared this scepticism. I assumed they weren’t very rigorous.
Now that I’ve been using multiple-choice questions for some time, inspired by Daisy Christodoulou, I’m beginning to realise why they are so useful. Daisy argues that they canrequire higher order thinking, if the distractors home in on important, frequent misconceptions. Daisy went through all of the literature and history multiple choice questions on British Columbia leaving exam, and says ‘all of them made me think hard about deep issues.’ This fits with Professor Rob Coe’s simple theory of learning: learning happens when you have to think hard about subject content. Phil Stock has also come on a similar journey to me in his thinking on multiple-choice questions.
Here are some of the reasons why I think they can benefit teaching:
1. They make assessment more reliable
2. They make marking far less labour-intensive
3. They make pupil understanding more visible to teachers