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Conference Paper: An assessment of functioning and non-functioning distractors in multiple-choice questions: a descriptive analysis

TitleAn assessment of functioning and non-functioning distractors in multiple-choice questions: a descriptive analysis
Authors
Issue Date2010
PublisherAssociation for Medical Education in Europe.
Citation
Conference of the Association for Medical Education in Europe (AMEE 2010), Glasgow, UK., 4-8 September 2010. In Abstract Book of AMEE, 2010, p. 120 How to Cite?
AbstractBACKGROUND: Four- or five-option multiple choice questions (MCQs) are the standard in health-science disciplines, both on certification-level examinations and on in-house developed tests. Previous research has shown, however, that few MCQs have three or four functioning distractors. The purpose of this study was to investigate non-functioning distractors in teacher-developed tests in one nursing program in an English-language University in Hong Kong. SUMMARY OF WORK: Using item-analysis data, we assessed the proportion of non-functioning distractors on a sample of seven test papers administered to undergraduate nursing students. A total of 514 items were reviewed, including 2056 options 1542 distractors and 514 correct responses). Non-functioning options were defined as ones that were chosen by fewer than 5% of examinees and those with a positive option discrimination statistic. SUMMARY OF RESULTS: The proportion of items containing 0, 1, 2, and 3 functioning distractors was 12.3%, 34.8%, 39.1%, and 13.8% respectively. Overall, items contained an average of 1.54 (SD=0.88) functioning distractors. Only 52.2% (n=805) of all distractors were functioning effectively and 10.2% (n=158) had a choice frequency of 0. Items with more functioning distractors were more difficult and more discriminating. CONCLUSIONS: The low frequency of items with three functioning distractors in the four-option items in this study suggests that teachers have difficulty developing plausible distractors for most MCQs. TAKE-HOME MESSAGES: Test items should consist of as many options as is feasible given the item content and the number of plausible distractors, in most cases this would be three.
DescriptionSession 3W - Posters: Written Assessment and Portfolio Assessment: abstract no.3W5
Persistent Identifierhttp://hdl.handle.net/10722/130323

 

DC FieldValueLanguage
dc.contributor.authorTarrant, Men_US
dc.contributor.authorWare, Jen_US
dc.contributor.authorMohammed, Aen_US
dc.date.accessioned2010-12-23T08:49:26Z-
dc.date.available2010-12-23T08:49:26Z-
dc.date.issued2010en_US
dc.identifier.citationConference of the Association for Medical Education in Europe (AMEE 2010), Glasgow, UK., 4-8 September 2010. In Abstract Book of AMEE, 2010, p. 120en_US
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/10722/130323-
dc.descriptionSession 3W - Posters: Written Assessment and Portfolio Assessment: abstract no.3W5-
dc.description.abstractBACKGROUND: Four- or five-option multiple choice questions (MCQs) are the standard in health-science disciplines, both on certification-level examinations and on in-house developed tests. Previous research has shown, however, that few MCQs have three or four functioning distractors. The purpose of this study was to investigate non-functioning distractors in teacher-developed tests in one nursing program in an English-language University in Hong Kong. SUMMARY OF WORK: Using item-analysis data, we assessed the proportion of non-functioning distractors on a sample of seven test papers administered to undergraduate nursing students. A total of 514 items were reviewed, including 2056 options 1542 distractors and 514 correct responses). Non-functioning options were defined as ones that were chosen by fewer than 5% of examinees and those with a positive option discrimination statistic. SUMMARY OF RESULTS: The proportion of items containing 0, 1, 2, and 3 functioning distractors was 12.3%, 34.8%, 39.1%, and 13.8% respectively. Overall, items contained an average of 1.54 (SD=0.88) functioning distractors. Only 52.2% (n=805) of all distractors were functioning effectively and 10.2% (n=158) had a choice frequency of 0. Items with more functioning distractors were more difficult and more discriminating. CONCLUSIONS: The low frequency of items with three functioning distractors in the four-option items in this study suggests that teachers have difficulty developing plausible distractors for most MCQs. TAKE-HOME MESSAGES: Test items should consist of as many options as is feasible given the item content and the number of plausible distractors, in most cases this would be three.-
dc.languageengen_US
dc.publisherAssociation for Medical Education in Europe.-
dc.relation.ispartofAbstract Book of AMEE 2010-
dc.titleAn assessment of functioning and non-functioning distractors in multiple-choice questions: a descriptive analysisen_US
dc.typeConference_Paperen_US
dc.identifier.emailTarrant, M: tarrantm@hkucc.hku.hken_US
dc.identifier.emailWare, J: jamesw@hsc.edu.kw-
dc.identifier.emailMohammed, A: ahmedm@hsc.edu.kw-
dc.description.naturelink_to_OA_fulltext-
dc.identifier.hkuros178334en_US
dc.identifier.spage120-
dc.identifier.epage120-
dc.description.otherConference of the Association for Medical Education in Europe (AMEE 2010), Glasgow, UK., 4-8 September 2010. In Abstract Book of AMEE, 2010, p. 120-

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