Getting the Most Out of Multiple-choice Questions (2 ½ hour presentation)

Event Type: 
CE 265 (Sydney Credit Union Room)
Event Date: 
September 23, 2011
Event Time: 
9:00 AM - 11:30 PM

Presenter: Dr. David DiBattista (3M National Teaching Fellow)



Multiple-choice tests are the most widely used form of objective assessment in college and university settings, but using them effectively is not always a simple matter. Critics point out that multiple-choice questions are often poorly written, and moreover that they tend to focus on memorization at the expense of higher-level thinking. It is important to realize, however, that with proper training, these shortcomings can be avoided. Because writing structurally sound, high-quality items require some expertise, we will begin our session by considering guidelines that can make the task much easier. We will then go on to consider how to write multiple-choice items that assess students’ higher-level thinking rather than their ability to remember facts. This session is designed to provide instructors with very practical tips that they can start using immediately in their everyday teaching.


 David DiBattista received his doctorate from the University of Waterloo in 1980 and is now a Professor of Psychology at Brock University in St. Catharines, Ontario. After many years of doing research on eating and drinking behaviour, he now focuses his efforts on issues relating to teaching and learning. In recent years, David has published articles on various aspects of multiple-choice testing in journals such as The Journal of Experimental Education and Canadian Journal of Higher Education. David also enjoys helping instructors to develop the skills they need to make the best possible use of multiple-choice questions in their courses. Over the past several years, he has made dozens of presentations on multiple-choice testing to instructors at colleges and universities across Canada, and he has served as a consultant to federal and provincial government agencies. David has won numerous teaching awards, and in spring of 2007, he was named a 3M National Teaching Fellow.