Multiple-Choice Items

The proliferation of multiple-choice assessments in educational measurement is likely due to the relative ease, objectivity, and cost-efficiency of scoring, particularly when assessment is conducted on a large scale, with a short timeline for reporting scores, or on a tight budget. Although assessment has been occurring for millennia, the multiple-choice question is a relative newcomer; its first large-scale use is generally regarded as the Army Alpha, an aptitude test used to screen military recruits in World War I and assign them to military jobs. Multiple-choice items are common in educational assessments used to meet the requirements of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, originally passed in 1965, which requires assessment every year in multiple subjects for students from Grade 3 to high school. Multiple-choice ...

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