Multiple-Choice Item Flaws
M-C Item Flaws Which best describes what happens when work is done? A. A force operates through a distance. B. A force is exerted. C. Energy is destroyed. D. Potential energy is changed to kinetic energy. [A]Flaw: Using stereotyped phrases. Item can be answered correctly based on recall of verbal information as well as through understanding of the principal involved.
M-C Item Flaws Which of the following has helped most to increase the length of human life? A. B. C. D. Fast driving. Avoidance of overeating. Wider use of vitamins. Wider use of inoculation. [D]Flaw: highly implausible distracter. Choice “A” is unreasonable, reducing the item to a three-choice item.
M-C Item Flaws Horace Greeley is known for his A. B. C. D. advice to young men not to go west. discovery of anesthetics. editorship of the New York Times. humorous anecdotes. [C]Flaw: Verbal trick in distracter: choice “A” inserts the word not into a phrase otherwise attributable to Horace Greeley.
M-C Item Flaws Slavery was first started A. B. C. D. at Jamestown settlement. at Plymouth settlement. at a settlement in Massachusetts. a decade before the Civil War. [A]Flaw: Non-parallel distracters. Choices “A” and “B” give specific places, “C” designates a more general area, “D” specifies a time. This ambiguity makes more than one choice correct.
M-C Item Flaws In purifying water for a city water supply, one process is to have the impure water seep through layers of sand fine and course gravel. Here many impurities are left behind. Below are four terms, one of which will describe this process better than the others. Select the correct one. A. Sedimentation C. Chlorination B. Filtration D. Aeration [B]Flaw: Stem includes an “instructional aside. ”
M-C Item Flaws While ironing her formal, Jane burned her hand accidentally on the hot iron. This was due to a transfer of heat by A. conduction. B. radiation. C. conversion. D. absorption. [A]Flaw: Stem includes “window dressing. ” The introduction implies a practical problem when the item only involves knowledge of technical terms.
M-C Item Flaws In the definition of a mineral, which of the following is incorrect? A. B. C. D. It was produced by geologic processes. It has distinctive physical properties. It contains one or more elements. It has a variable chemical composition. [D]Flaw: Uses a negative in the stem; tends to be confusing. These types of items are rarely found outside the classroom.
M-C Item Flaws Which event is more important in American history? A. B. C. D. Braddock’s defeat. Burr’s conspiracy. Hayes-Tilden contest. Webster-Hayne debate. Flaw: No best answer. Who’s to say which is more important. Even experts would not agree.
M-C Item Flaws The population of Denmark is about A. 2 million. B. 15 million. C. 4 million. D. 7 million. Flaw: Unnatural sequence of responses. It would be better to order from 2 million to 15 million.
M-C Item Flaws The balance sheet report for the Ajax Canning Company would reveal (A) the company’s profit for the previous fiscal year, (B) the amount of money owed to its creditors, (C) the amount of income tax paid, or (D) the amount of sales for the previous fiscal period. [A]Flaw: Placing distracters in tandem with the item stem.
M-C Item Flaws Which is the best definition of a vein? A. A blood vessel carrying blood going to the heart. B. A blood vessel carrying blue blood. C. A blood vessel carrying impure blood. D A blood vessel carrying blood away from the heart. [A]Flaw: Needless repetition in the distracters.