constant use of essay tests may encourage the knowledgeable but poor writing student to improve his/her writing ability in order to improve performance.
Essays are more subjective in nature due to their susceptibility to scoring influences.
Also presented is a set of general suggestions for the construction of each item variation.
The multiple-choice item consists of two parts: (a) the stem, which identifies the question or problem and (b) the response alternatives.
Both item types can measure similar content or learning objectives.
Research has shown that students respond almost identically to essay and objective test items covering the same content.
For example, a professional item writer produces only 9-10 good multiple-choice items in a day's time.
Writing skills do affect a student's ability to communicate the correct "factual" information through an essay response.
Different readers can rate identical responses differently, the same reader can rate the same paper differently over time, the handwriting, neatness or punctuation can unintentionally affect a paper's grade and the lack of anonymity can affect the grading process.
While impossible to eliminate, scoring influences or biases can be minimized through procedures discussed later in this booklet. Multiple-choice, true-false and matching items can be correctly answered through blind guessing, yet essay items can be responded to satisfactorily through well written bluffing.