Writing Multiple Choice Questions to Assess Comprehension

Here are some tips to consider when writing Multiple Choice Test Questions to assess Bloom’s learning objective, Comprehension (Bloom and Krathwohl, 1956.) 

When testing comprehension, the questions you write will need to be tailored to allow the candidate to demonstrate they are able to take meaning from the material they have studied rather than simply recalling information without having any further understanding of its meaning.  To assess this, you may ask the candidate to compare, translate, differentiate or paraphrase some information.



Note the use of the verb ‘explains’, this  demonstrates you are now testing the candidate's comprehension of the subject,  as they are required to explain the meaning behind a scientific process rather than simply identifying the process itself.

When testing comprehension you may also wish to assess the candidates' ability to take the information they have learnt and use it to estimate other answers or to derive answers from it which can only be answered with comprehension of the subject matter presented.

Note: The purpose of these articles is to provide you with general advice in the fields of assessment and testing. These articles are not intended to replace any regulations or instructions provided by your organisation, but may be used in conjunction with these materials to support the assessment process.


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