The focus of last month’s post was to introduce sound principles that should be followed when providing learners with feedback about their performance, and using informal assessments to evaluate training outcomes.
Providing learners with feedback is a powerful way to facilitate learning. When positive feedback is provided, learning is reinforced. When corrective feedback is provided, learners can adjust and improve their performance on the next try.
As a brief review, three of the 20 general principles from last month’s post are provided below. They are:
- The assessment accurately reflects the content that was covered in the program
- The assessments work together to create a complete picture of learner comprehension and progress toward the learning goal
- Feedback is provided in a timely and constructive way, as close as possible to the response or practice opportunity
This month’s post shares principles that should be followed for four commonly used types of questions: True/False, Multiple Choice, Short Answer, and Essay. It’s important to note that True/False and Multiple Choice questions are often used in eLearning programs to assess learner comprehension.
Specific Question Types – Rules to Follow
- The statement is either definitely true or false without further clarification required
- The length of statements that are true are about the same length as those that are false
- The use of double negatives and confusing wording is avoided
- Statements are not listed in a repetitive or easily learned pattern (e.g., TTFFTT or TFTFTF)
- The stem of the item asks a direct question or states a specific problem
- Sentence structure is not confusing
- Each incorrect choice is plausible enough so that it cannot be viewed as absurd by a learner who lacks knowledge of the correct answer
- Clues as to which choice is correct are not provided through grammatical inconsistencies between the stem and the choices
- There is only one correct or best answer for each question, which is identifiable by learners who have achieved the learning goal
- The use of “all of the above” and “none of the above” is avoided to the extent possible
- The blank or answer space is near the end of the sentence
- The use of grammar does not provide clues of the item to be completed
- The item is worded clearly so that the answer is a brief phrase, single word, or a single number
- Whenever possible, the item is written in a question form
- Directions provide the learner with an indication as to the degree of detail desired in the answer
- The essay question requires learners to apply what they’ve learned to a new or novel situation
- Learners are provided with clear directions as to what is expected of them
- The criteria against which learners’ responses will be evaluated are clearly stated
- Learners are required to use higher order thinking skills to craft a response
- Pre-defined criteria as to what constitutes an acceptable response are used to reduce bias and increase objectivity in scoring
In review, informal assessments and feedback are important components of a learning program. Positive feedback reinforces learning, and corrective feedback provides learners with information they can use to adjust and improve their performance. Informal assessments also highlight the need for additional instruction, as well as opportunities to improve the program.
This blog post shared principles that should be followed for four types of questions that are commonly used: True/False, Multiple Choice, Short Answer and Essay.