Research in Science Education

, Volume 29, Issue 3, pp 353–363 | Cite as

An alternative method of answering and scoring multiple choice tests

  • Charles Taylor
  • Paul L. Gardner


A simple modification to the method of answering and scoring multiple choice tests allows students to indicate their estimates of the probability of the correctness of the multiple choice options for each question, without affecting the validity of the assessment. A study was conducted using a test that investigated common misconceptions in mechanics. The study showed that for assessment purposes this method gives results that are very similar to results obtained by students who answer in the traditional manner. Year 12 Physics students (N=85) were randomly allocated to two treatment groups: one received a standard format multiple choice test, the other a test format allowing students to select more than one response in a multiple choice test, and to distribute their marks among their chosen optionsl An analysis of the students' uncertainties is used to argue that not only can students appeal to different conceptions in different contexts, but that they can also hold conflicting conceptions with respect to a single context.


Correct Answer Differential Item Functioning Multiple Choice Subjective Probability Probability Format 
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Copyright information

© Australian Science Research Association 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Taylors CollegeHuntingdaleAustralia
  2. 2.Monash UniversityAustralia

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