Crafting Questions

Designing Tests | Question Types

Designing Tests

  • Helpful Tips for Creating Reliable and Valid Classroom Tests, James A Wollack, UW-Madison Teaching Academy. Useful information on writing and grading tests, including how to make them more reliable overall.
  • Invent the Quiz, The K. Patricia Cross Academy, students write a limited number of test questions related to recent learning module and then create an answer sheet, or alternately a model answer and scoring sheet, to accompany the test questions.
  • Is This a Trick Question? A Short Guide to Writing Effective Test Questions, Ben Clay, Kansas Curriculum Center. Extremely detailed guide covering how to write proper test questions for a variety of test types.
  • Writing Test Items, Scoring Office, Michigan State University. Longer article with information on essential characteristics of test writers, general exam-writing tips, and specific tips for crafting different types of questions.

Question Types

  • 14 Rules For Writing Multiple-Choice Questions, Timothy W. Bothell, Faculty Center, Brigham Young University. Includes how to "hide" the correct answer and things to avoid.
  • Preparing Effective Essay Questions, Christian M. Reiner, et al., Brigham Young University. Booklet covering all parts of the essay question. Long source, but particularly useful pages 22-23.
  • Question-Type Selction Guide, Faculty Innovation Center, University of Texas at Austin, excellent overview of question types and when/how/why to use them.
  • Short Answer & Essay Tests, Learn Center, University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. Includes tips for writing effective test questions, and strategies to properly use short answer and essays on test.
  • Improving Your Test Questions, Center for Innovation in Teaching & Learning, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Explanation of matching questions, and tips for making them easy to understand and not leading.
  • Writing Good Multiple Choice Test Questions, Cynthia J. Brame, CFT Assistant Director, Vanderbilt University. Advantages of well-written multiple choice questions, how to write effective stems and alternatives, and how to include higher-order thinking.
  • Writing True-False Items, The Office of Measurement Services, University of Minnesota. Advantages and disadvantages of true-false questions on an exam and guidelines for creating and implementing them.

See also: Improving Tests