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  • Eliminate high stakes exams -- consider using multiple, short assessments

  • Implement more project-based deliverables to replace high stakes exams

  • Replace multiple choice questions with short answer or essay

  • Randomize the order of the questions and the order of the answers within a question, and if appropriate, generate different values for variables

  • Use multiple types of assessments, e.g. short quizzes, forums, polling, papers, group activities

  • Utilize the services of plagiarism checker software like Turnitin for short answer or essay questions, or perhaps even forum postings

  • Utilize the services of either an online, like ProctorU, or face-to-face proctoring service

  • Have a clear Code of Conduct or academic integrity statement in the syllabus
  • Consider a brief evaluation of student knowledge to be used as a baseline prior to introducing a specific topic




Questions must focus on should be directly related to learning objectives

Focus questions on what you most want people to know at the end of course.

Avoid testing trivial topics.

Questions should assess knowledge or skill

Focus on content.

Write questions clearly with correct grammar and spelling. 

Consider the reading level.

Incorrect choices must be plausible

Good multiple choice questions have realistic incorrect answer choices. Avoid giveaway choices

Use Question Words

Begin question stems or phrases with a question word.


Correct: How often does a student need to attend to get a good grade?

Correct: If a student has a concern, what is the first step in addressing his/ her concern?

Incorrect: Select two (2) features of…

Objectives Drive Questions

A question should reflect the objective.

If an objective involves problem-solving, then test question should involve problem-solving.

For example, a problem-solving question might provide a scenario.

Avoid Negatives in Stem

Phrase the question stem in the positive.


Correct: A student has not been given correct information.  What  could you do to address the problem?

Incorrect: When writing good questions, which of the following is NOT important?

Use Scenarios to assess higher-order thinking

Ex- Correct:  Given the scenario shown, which solution represents the best method for preventing patient falls?

Limit number of answer choices

Use consistent number of answer choices.

Limit to 3 or 4.

Do not create questions in which all answers  are correct

Use plausible distracters

Distracters should not include give away answer

Distracters should be plausible

Identify common misconceptions or errors

Design Evaluation

Create test questions that align with your stated objectives and test the level of comprehension desired.

Multiple choice questions: test knowledge, comprehension, application, and analysis. They are limited because they can be less valid due to guessing and poor distracters

True/False questions: are easy to score and quick to complete for the learner. Because there is a 50% chance of selecting the correct answer, they are not as valid as other forms of assessment.

Short answer and matching questions: Save space and test information similar to multiple-choice, but may take longer to score.

Essays: Test higher level skills and give insight into learner’s understanding. Essays test only focus on a few concepts, and take longer to complete and score.