Should Multiple-Choice Questions Be Eliminated?

It is often debated whether multiple-choice questions should be removed from the scoring system. The main reason is that it is feared that it could make students less critical and less able to apply knowledge in depth. The following is a deeper explanation regarding using multiple-choice questions as an assessment design.

Multiple-choice as an option to carry out practical assessments

In assessment design,  not only we must ensure validity, reliability, and beneficial consequences but we also must consider practicality. Practicality in this case includes efficiency, ease of administration, and time savings that can be achieved using multiple choice questions. Multiple choice questions allow for assessment in classes with large numbers of students to be faster and more efficient than other assessment methods, such as essays, projects, or reflections.

Encourages students’ analytical thinking

The idea that multiple-choice questions make students lazy and not think critically is wrong. In assessment design, the difficulty level in multiple-choice questions can be adjusted from an easy level to a difficult one. Especially in language education, the difficulty level can be adjusted from surface-level understanding to application, analysis, and evaluation (C1 to C5). Well-designed multiple-choice questions will encourage students to analyze answer options and encourage critical thinking to choose the most appropriate answer.

We need to change our mindset to not only see the bad side of a type of assessment but also its potential. Even though learning preferences in schools are now output/project/differentiated based, multiple choice will still be a useful tool for teachers. We need to find a balance between open and closed assessment because after all a good teacher is a teacher who can adapt their learning and assessment according to the conditions and needs of the students.

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