Content Strategy

Anatomy of a Bad Assessment Item

Posted by Brandon Carson on Apr 23, 2014 12:00:00 AM

One of the traditional tasks in instructional design is the creation of “knowledge checks”—standard quiz items, usually placed in-context with content. The idea behind these types of assessment items is to provide the learner an opportunity to self-assess in sequence, immediately after information acquisition. A common type of item is the multiple-choice item. Multiple-choice items can work if you have a great deal of time and understanding of the material, so that you’re able to construct items that probe higher levels of reasoning. Too often, however, the reality is that instructional designers without domain expertise write multiple-choice items that are irrelevant to real learning and, in many situations, cause more harm than good. Let’s dissect a multiple-choice item, probing a bit deeper into why these kinds of assessment items can be dangerous and discussing how to make them better.

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Topics: learning and development, training, instructional design, online training, content creation, learning professionals, multiple choice quiz