Writing Multiple Choice Questions to Assess Knowledge

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

 When testing a candidate's knowledge of a subject, you are effectively asking them to demonstrate that they have learnt the content of the subject the question is based on.  In other words, you are not asking the candidate to do anything other than convey they are aware of facts, basic ideas and terms in your subject.

For example, in a question written to assess knowledge, you may ask the candidate  to recall, define, describe or identify information.

During the process of writing a multiple choice question to assess a candidates' knowledge, make sure to include the relevant verb in the stem of the question.  In the case of the above example the verb is identify. This should reflect what action the candidate needs to perform in the question.

It is often the case the action you wish the candidate to take cannot be asked directly in a multiple choice question. For example, you will not be able to ask the candidate to describe something directly; instead it would need to be incorporated into the question and answers.


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. >

Next Article>

Feedback and Knowledge Base