Writing Objectives Test Items
Types of Objective Test
1. SELECTION TYPE
A. True-false Items
− it is written in a form of a declarative sentence. The student must judge
whether the sentence is a true or a false statement.
Suggestions for writing True-False Items
1. the desired method of marking true or false should be clearly explained before
students begin the test.
2. Construct statements that are definitely true of definitely false, without additional
3. Use relatively short statements and eliminate extraneous material.
4. Keep true or false statements at approximately the same length, and be sure that
there are approximately equal numbers of true or false.
5. Avoid using double-negative statements. They take extra time to translate and are
difficult to interpret.
6. Avoid the following:
a. verbal clues, absolutes and complex sentence
b. broad general statements
c. terms denoting indefinite degrees (e.g. Large, regularly) or absolutes (e.g. Never,
d. placing items in a systematic order (e.g. TTFF, TFTF and so on)
e. taking the statements directly from the text and presenting them out of the context.
B. Matching Items
− it is a modification of the multiple choice question. In a matching test
items, a list of words or phrases is presented in a column, generally on
the left side of the page. These words or phrases are called the premises
of the item. A second column, generally on the right side of the page,
contains words or phrases called responses that are to be matched with
Directions: Match A and B.
1. Lincoln a. president during the twentieth century
2. Nixon b. invented the telephone
3. Whitney c. delivered the Emancipation Proclamation
4. Ford d. recent president to resign from office
5. Bell e. civil rights leader
6. King f. invented the cotton gin
7. Washington g. our first president
8. Roosevelt h. only president elected for more than two terms
* Problems in using the matching test items above:
Order of list
Too Many correct responses
Suggestions for writing matching test items
1. keep both the list of options and descriptions fairly short and homogeneous.
2. Make sure that all the options are plausible distracters fir each description to ensure
homogeneity of lists.
3. The list of descriptions on the left side should contain the longer phrases or
4. Each description in the list should be numbered, and the list of options should be
identified by letter.
5. Include more options than descriptions.
6. In the directions, specify he basis for matching and whether options can be used more
C. Multiple Choice Item
− it is made up of items each of which presents two or more responses,
only one of which s correct or definitely better than the others.
− consists of the STEM, OPTIONS, KEY
* Approaches in measuring at higher than the knowledge level:
> use pictorial, graphical or tabular stimuli
> use analogies that demonstrates relationships among terms
> require the application of previously learned principles or procedures to
Suggestions for writing Multiple Choice Test Items
1. the stem of the item should clearly formulate a problem.
2. Be sure that there is one and only one correct or clearly best answer.
3. Be sure wrong answer are plausible.
4. Use negative questions or statements only if the knowledge being tested requires it.
5. Include from three to five options to optimize testing for knowledge rather than
6. To increase the difficulty, increase the similarity of content among the options.
7. Use the caption “none of the above” sparingly and only when the keyed answer can be
classified unequivocally as right or wrong.
8. Avoid using “all of the above”.
2. SUPPLY TYPES
A. Fill in the blank
− allow students to answer a question or finish an incomplete statement by
filling the blank with the correct word or phrase.
Suggestions for writing Fill in the blank items
1. Omit only significant words from the statement.
2. Do not omit so many words from the statement that the intended meaning is lost.
3. Avoid grammatical or other clues to the correct response.
4. Be sure there is only one correct response.
5. Make the blanks of equal length.
6. When possible, delete words at the end of the statement after the student has been
presented a clearly defined problem.
7. Avoid lifting statements directly from the text, lecture of other sources.
8. Limit the required response to a single word or phrase.
Advantages and disadvantages of different Objective Item formats
tend to be short
faster to construct
scoring is easier
tend to emphasize note memorization
they assume unequivocally true or false answer
encourage a high degree of guessing
B. Matching types
simple to construct
ideal for measuring association between facts
can be more efficient than multiple choice questions
reduce the effects of guessing
tend to ask trivial information
C. Multiple Choice Items
versatile in measuring objectives
scoring is highly objective
reduce effects of guessing
Amendable to statistical analysis
time consuming to write
if not carefully written, can have more than one distensible correct answer.
D. Supply Type Items
provide a wide sampling of content
efficiently measure lower levels of cognitive ability
minimize guessing as compared to multiple choice of true or false items.
Usually provide an objective measure of student achievement or ability.
are difficult to construct so that the desired response is clearly stated.
Have difficulty measuring learning objectives requiring more than simple recall of
Can often include more irrelevant clues than do other item types.
Are more time consuming to score when compared to multiple choice or true or false
Are more difficult to score since more than one answer may have to be considered
correct if the item was not properly written.
Guidelines for writing test items
1. begin writing items for enough in advance that you will have time to revise them.
2. Match items to intended outcomes at the proper difficulty level to provide a valid
measure of instructional objectives. Limit the question to the skill being assessed.
3. Be sure each item deals with an important aspect of the content area and not with
4. Be sure that the problem posed is clear and ambiguous.
5. Be sure that each item is independent of all other items. The answer to one item
should not be required as a condition for answering the next item. A hint to one
answer should not be embedded in another item.
6. Be sure that the item has one correct or best answer on which experts would agree.
7. Prevent unintended clues to the answer in the statement or question. Grammatical
inconsistencies such as a or an give clues to the correct answer and will help those
students who are not well prepared for the test.
8. Avoid replication of the textbook in writing test items; don't quote directly from textual
materials. You're usually not interested in how well the students memorized the text.
Besides, taken out of context, direct quotes from the text are often ambiguous.
9. Avoid trick or catch questions in an achievement test. Don't waste time testing how
well the students can interpret your intentions.
10.Try to write items that require higher level thinking.