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Constructing Written Test Questions For the Basic and Clinical Sciences

Constructing Written Test Questions For the Basic and Clinical Sciences

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Published by Darren Kuropatwa

"This manual was written to help faculty members improve the quality of the multiple-choice questions written for their examinations. The manual provides an overview of item formats, concentrating on the traditional one-best-answer and matching formats. It reviews issues related to technical item flaws and issues related to item content.....The examples focus on undergraduate medical education, though the general approach to item writing may be useful for assessing examinees at other levels." 181 pages Good tips on constructing multiple choice (one-best-answer) questions.

"This manual was written to help faculty members improve the quality of the multiple-choice questions written for their examinations. The manual provides an overview of item formats, concentrating on the traditional one-best-answer and matching formats. It reviews issues related to technical item flaws and issues related to item content.....The examples focus on undergraduate medical education, though the general approach to item writing may be useful for assessing examinees at other levels." 181 pages Good tips on constructing multiple choice (one-best-answer) questions.

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Published by: Darren Kuropatwa on Feb 01, 2009
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Constructing Written Test QuestionsFor the Basic and Clinical Sciences
Susan M. Case David B. Swanson National Board of Medical Examiners3750 Market Street Philadelphia, PA 19104
Third Edition
 
Printed copies of the publication are not available from the National Board of Medical Examiners (NBME). Additionalcopies can be obtained by downloading the manual from the NBME’s Web site. Permission to copy and distribute this doc-ument is granted by the NBME provided that (1) the copyright and permission notices appear on all reproductions; (2) useof the document is for noncommercial, educational, and scientific purposes only; and (3) the document is not modified inany way. Any rights not expressly granted herein are reserved by the NBME.
Copyright © 1996, 1998 National Board of Medical Examiners
®
(NBME
®
).Copyright © 2001 National Board of Medical Examiners
®
(NBME
®
).All right reserved. Printed in the United States of America.
 
Table of Contents
v
Page
Section IIssues Regarding Format and Structure of Test Questions
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .7
Chapter 1. Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
9Assessment: An Important Component of Instruction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .9Issues of Sampling . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .10Importance of Psychometric Considerations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .11
Chapter 2. Multiple-Choice-Item Formats . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
13True/False vs One-Best
-
Answer Questions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .13The True/False Family . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .14The One-Best-Answer Family . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .16The Bottom Line on Item Formats . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .18
Chapter 3. Technical Item Flaws . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
19Issues Related to Testwiseness . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .19Issues Related to Irrelevant Difficulty . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .22Summary of Technical Item Flaws . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .26Use of Imprecise Terms in Examination Questions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .27
Section IIWriting One-Best-Answer Questions for the Basic and Clinical Sciences
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .31The Basic Rules for One-Best-Answer Items . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .33
Chapter 4. Item Content: Testing Application of Basic Science Knowledge
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .35Item Content for the Basic Sciences . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .35Item Templates . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .38Additional Templates . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .39Types of Questions and Sample Lead-ins and Option Lists . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .40Writing the Options: Altering Item Difficulty . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .41Item Shape . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .42Problem-Based Learning and Use of Case Clusters . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .43Sample Items for the Basic Sciences . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .47
Chapter 5. Item Content: Testing Application of Clinical Science Knowledge . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
51Methods for Assessment . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .51General Issues Regarding What to Test . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .52

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