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« ABA Standard 314 – What is Formative Assessment? | Main | The Academic Summer »

February 23, 2016


James Edward Maule

I use, among other evaluation methods, multiple choice questions, during class (ungraded), during class (graded), and on the final exam. The wrong choices reflect common errors (easier to identify after teaching for several years). The in-class responses influence what then develops in class (using the same principles you describe of, for example, not investing time on issues students understand). On the graded questions, students receive feedback, with explanations of why a wrong answer is wrong, and why the correct answer is correct. The exercise I wrote for TaxJEM, Inc., now owned and administered by CALI, follow this pattern (along with a more advanced method of compelling students who answer with an incorrect response to cycle through a set of subsidiary questions designed to change their thinking so that when they return to the original question they can try again). Thus, I agree, simply tagging multiple-choice questions as formative or not is too simplistic. Instead, the character of the questions, how they are used, and the feedback that is provided all need to be taken into account. In any event, thank you for raising this issue and getting people to think about it.

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