Thursday, August 21, 2008

Designing Effective Assessment Questions

Have you seen the following message before an assessment module?

On completion of this module, you will be awarded a certificate.

To me, this seems like the carrot stick technique to ensure that the learner takes the assessment questions. Another 'force' mechanism is disabling Next. You can only move forward if you attempt this assessment. If the learner is not motivated to take the assessment, he/she is not going to take it. He/she will just select an option randomly and move ahead.

Have you ever been told that we are designing a template for the assessment questions and therefore we can have only traditional MCQs? Or maybe you have been told that you must have 5 MCQs, 2 true or false and 3 fill in the blanks. Sheesh. Each testing point should be tested using the most effective assessment type. We have nothing against MCQs but we do have something against templates and standards that add to the project constraints. It is hard enough to create a assessments that challenge our learner without having this to contend with.

Assessment questions should be designed based on the learners and their motivation. If the motivation is high, please go ahead and use MCQs. (Though, we still believe that each testing point corresponds to an effective assessment type.) In cases where learner motivation is low, avoid traditional MCQs. According to me, fill in the blanks and true or false do not qualify as challenging questions and therefore, I will not classify them under assessment types. Let me show you some interesting examples of non-traditional assessment questions.

(Click on the images to view them clearly.)

I had a lot of fun looking for these examples. Hope you had fun reading this!

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