Symposium: Writing the Test Question Isn’t Enough! Presented at Experimental Biology, New Orleans LA Monday, April 20, 2009, 8:00-10:00 AM Chairs: Vikki McCleary and Kathy sukalski, Univ. of North Dakota Well constructed multiple choice items can provide a valid, reliable, and unbiased means to assess student learning. Machine scoring and analysis allows for a rapid turnaround of results and provides information about the patterns of responses to individual items. This symposium focused on the construction of valid, reliable multiple choice questions with an emphasis on those that evaluate the students’ critical thinking ability in the context of specific learning objectives. The session was introduced by Ellis Bell who considered the process of evaluating student achievement in both content knowledge and critical thinking. Decisions must be made about the types of questions to use (essay, short answer, multiple choice) and timing of the examinations, (midterm and final, block exams). Vikki McCleary focused on multiple choice examinations and reviewed the optimization of stems, answers, and distracters and the evaluation of items according to Bloom’s taxonomy. Charles Hosford outlined the use of standard item analyses to improve test questions. The assessment of student understanding during class lectures using multiple choice questions was addressed by Jeannine Matz. Kenneth Ruit presented lessons learned from constructing and administering multiple choice examinations in an integrated medical curriculum. Effective testing of knowledge and critical thinking skills. Ellis Bell, U Richmond. Anatomy of a multiple choice question. Vikki McCleary, UND Using item analysis to improve test questions. Charles Hosford, UND Use of multiple choice questions during lecture. Jeannine Matz, Health Care Mercy Col. of Hlth. Sci., Des Moines. Applying principles and lessons learned in medical education. Kenneth Ruit, UND


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