Saturday, March 7, 2015

Top Tips: Multiple Choice Question Quality

If you missed the chance to attend the “writing effective multiple choice questions” workshops, here are the top tips that were shared.

In this installment, we will take a look at some techniques to determine the quality of your questions.

For more information, check out the resources from the RED Group here:!resources/c1nv8

Sorting Your Scores - Determining High and Low Scorers

  • The first step is to list all of your exam scores from highest to lowest.
  • In a small group, divide the class in half to form a high and low group.
  • In a large group, take the top 27% and bottom 27% to form these groups.

Determining Question Difficulty 

High Scores Correct + Low Scores Correct
Total Responses
  • For each question, count how many students answered it correctly from the high group, and then from the low group.
  • Add the correct answers from the high and low groups together. 
  • Divide that number by the total number of students who answered the question. 
  • What does the result mean?
    • .25 or less: This was a hard question
    • .75 or more: This was an easy question

Determining the Discrimination Index

High Scores Correct - Low Scores Correct
Total Responses x 0.5

The discrimination index is a way to tell if your question is good or wonky.
Ideally, all of the high group gets questions right, and the low group gets them wrong.
If only your low group gets a question right, it indicates the question is not good.
  • Take the number of correct high scorers and subtract the number of correct low scorers.
  • Divide by half of the total number of answers.
  • What does the result mean?
    • A score of 0 to 1 is good - more high scorers than low got the question right
    • A score of -1 to 0 is bad - more low scores than high got the question right

Friday, March 6, 2015

Top Tips: Writing Multiple Choice Questions

If you missed the chance to attend the “writing effective multiple choice questions” workshops, here are some of the top tips that were shared.

For more information, check out the resources from the RED Group here:!resources/c1nv8

Prepare Students for the Final

  • Use the final exam's testing rules all year.
  • Mimic the format of the final exam on tests throughout year.
  • If your final exam uses a bubble sheet, use bubble sheets all year.

Make a Test Plan First

  • Determine the objectives you will be assessing on your exam
  • Outline the number of exam questions you will create per objective
  • Decide which questions will be easy, medium, and difficult.
  • Having a test plan makes it much easier to make alternate versions of assessments!

Goals of Multiple Choice Questions

  • Questions should be quick to read (for students in your class).
  • On your exam, equally distribute the correct answer choices.
    (Every correct answer should not be choice "a".)
  • Each question should be aligned to a learning outcome. 

Fast Question Writing Tips

  • Vertically stacked answer choices (a, b, c, d) are easier to read than horizontally stacked choices.
  • Answers should not contain parts (or a restatement) of the question. 
  • "A" and "an" go before the answers, not at the end of questions.
    (My type of pet is... a. a cat   b. an alpaca)
  • In questions, try to avoid: negatives (which of these is NOT), absolutes (which of these is ALWAYS), and qualifiers (which of these is ONLY). 

Monday, January 19, 2015

What is... Popplet

Popplet is an online graphic organizer creator. 

It is the simplest tool of this type that we have seen so far, making it suitable even for elementary-aged students.

Finished Popplets can be saved as image files or PDF documents, or you can create an account to edit Popplets at a later time.

Monday, January 12, 2015

What is... the Text Compactor

The Text Compactor is a free online tool to condense a piece of text. 

The tool examines the most commonly used words in the text to decide what is likely to be most important, and then keeps those "important" parts of the text. 

You can adjust the percentage of the text that you would like to keep with a slider. Teachers should choose the percentage they keep carefully, to make sure that the main ideas of the original text are preserved (the automatic way it picks out "important" parts of the piece aren't foolproof, so always double-check!)

It is recommended that the Text Compactor be used with non-fiction text. It will not work as well with fictional stories.

Monday, January 5, 2015

What is... Glean

Glean is a website for Science and Math videos (mostly high school).

These videos are collected from around the Internet and matched to specific skills. If you have selected a skill, different videos will appear.

 The idea behind Glean is that students all learn differently. To support this, users can switch to different “teachers” teaching the same topic on the right.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

What is... Rewordify

Rewordify is a free online website that can be used to rewordify text. 

What does rewordifying do?
Quite simply, it replaces the difficult words in the text with simpler ones. The difficult words are still there, though - just click on the yellow highlights to see and hear the original words.


Does Rewordify have any other features?
Yes - absolutely! 
  • Rewordify has many classic works of literature available in rewordified forms.
  • Rewordify can generate study materials for students to learn the difficult words in the text.
  • Rewordify can also help students learn new words through interactive training or online flashcards.

Monday, November 10, 2014

What are... Google Fonts

Google Fonts are free fonts from Google that you can use on your websites or download to use in your computer's programs, like Microsoft Word. There are hundreds of fonts available, so if you are looking for the perfect font for a project, this is a great place to start!

To download a font (or lots of fonts), click on the one you like and add it to your collection.

Press the download button in the top-right of the screen.

In the download options, select the zip file.

Open the zip file on your computer.

If you are using a Windows 7 computer, click on:
Start button
--> Control Panel
--> Appearance and Personalization
--> Fonts

Drag and drop the font that you downloaded in the zip folder into the fonts folder to install it. (You may have to give administrator access to complete this process.)

Now the next time you open Microsoft Word or other programs, this font will be available for you to use!

Please note, this font will not appear on other computers that open your Microsoft Word file unless you save the font in the file as well. In Word, this can be done in File --> Options --> Save --> Embed Fonts in the File