د/ايمان زغلول قاسم

استاذ تكنولوجيا التعليم المساعد بكلية التربية بالزلفي

multiple-choice testing

Multiple-choice testing

Although multiple-choice testing is widely used in higher education, there are

recognised limitations with this method. Firstly, many researchers discourage the use
of MCQs, arguing that they promote memorisation and factual recall and do not
encourage (or test for) high-level cognitive processes (Airasian, 1994; Scouller,
1998). Some researchers, however, maintain that this depends on how the tests are
constructed and that they can be used to evaluate learning at higher cognitive levels
(Cox, 1976; Johnstone & Arnbusaidi, 2000). Secondly, the feedback provided
through MCQs is usually quite limited as it is predetermined during test
construction. Hence there is little scope for personalisation of feedback based on
different student needs. Thirdly, the use of MCQs is usually driven by the need for
teacher efficiencies and the provision of rapid feedback rather than by robust
pedagogical principles aimed at encouraging effective learning. MCQs require the
selection of a correct answer from a set of alternatives, i.e. the recognition of the
answer rather than the construction of a response. In addition, students have no role
in setting the goals and standards for MCQ tests, nor are they usually in a position to
clarify the test question or its purposes while taking the test (i.e. clarify goals and
standards). It is difficult therefore to envisage how this method of testing addresses
current concerns in the assessment research that students should be given a more
active and participative role in assessment processes (Boud, 2000; Yorke, 2003) or
that assessment should develop in students the skills needed to self-regulate their
own learning (Nicol & Macfarlane-Dick, 2006; Nicol & Milligan, 2006).
This article addresses the above issues. It first provides a framework comprising a set
of principles for thinking about formative assessment and feedback that is grounded in
current research. It then maps the use of MCQs in different assessment contexts into
this framework and illustrates its value using case examples of practice drawn fromthe
literature. This analysis helps enrich our understanding of the ways in which MCQs
can be used to support the development of learner self-regulation. It is argued that a
pedagogical or assessment framework is necessary if teachers are to design effective
uses for MCQs in their courses or if they wish to evaluate their effectiveness. An
assessment framework not only helps teachers analyse the effective uses of MCQs but
it also helps them move beyond the narrow conception thatMCQs are either good or
bad. The case studies illustrate that what is important is not just the content and
format of MCQ tests but the wider context within which they are used.

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