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“There’s no Confidence in Multiple-Choice Testing, ……”

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conference contribution
posted on 24.05.2006, 14:14 by P. Davies
The purpose of this paper is to introduce a study concerning the inclusion of confidence testing within the use of computerised multiple-choice tests. The modification of the O.L.A.L. (On-Line Assessment and Learning) system (Davies, 1999), permits the rewarding of the ‘more knowledgeable’ students by including the selection of confidence prior to the showing of the answer and distracters. There has been a lack of acceptance to the use of traditional multiple-choice testing, due to the student being ‘fed’ rather than them actually ‘knowing’ the answer to a question. The inclusion of confidence testing prior to the student being provided with the answer and distracters has been included in this study, in an attempt to improve both lecturer and student acceptance of multiple-choice testing. This paper reports on the results of the study, and also provides student feedback concerning the use of this form of testing. It highlights the effect that it has had upon the student results compared with previous uses of the standard multiple-choice testing. The importance of choosing the correct weighting of positive and negative marking with respect to confidence is also highlighted. An additional point of note is that this form of questioning has changed the emphasis of where quality is judged with respect to the creation of a multiple-choice question. The quality of the distracters currently has a major bearing upon how ‘easy or hard’ a question is in a traditional system. With the use of this method of confidence testing, it is initially the question’s quality that decides whether a student will go for high or low marks without the need to see the possible solutions.



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DAVIES, P., 2002. “There’s no Confidence in Multiple-Choice Testing, ……” IN: Proceedings of 6th CAA Conference, Loughborough: Loughborough University


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